Ms. Flournoy’s résumé had appeared probably proper for the second. She served within the Pentagon first underneath President Invoice Clinton, and from 2009 to 2012 she was the underneath secretary of protection for coverage within the Obama administration — the highest-ranking function for a lady within the Pentagon on the time. She removed her title from rivalry for the highest job in 2014, when Mr. Obama initially was contemplating her to succeed Protection Secretary Chuck Hagel.
She as a substitute turned a senior adviser on the Boston Consulting Group, then went on to co-found WestExec Advisors, a consulting agency. Her second shot on the job was scuttled when Hillary Clinton — who was extensively anticipated to call her — misplaced the presidential election in 2016.
Ms. Flournoy was recognized for seamlessly shifting between the civilian and active-duty sides of the Pentagon, bridging the usually impenetrable hole between these in uniform and people in fits — a talent that some worry could also be misplaced with a retired normal within the function. She did so, her followers mentioned, by translating the political imperatives of civilians to the active-duty army world and thoroughly serving to the civilian aspect perceive the army’s sensible wants and limitations in seeing by the coverage objectives of elected officers.
“She is enormously proficient, and the very last thing I take into consideration is that she is a girl,” mentioned Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Workers on the time of the Afghanistan surge, which she helped advocate to the Obama White Home. “From my perspective that could be a good thing.”
The Presidential Transition
But amongst girls who toil within the nationwide safety trenches, an space the place males — and what Ms. Flournoy typically refers to as their “mini-mes” who succeed them — have traditionally dominated, Ms. Flournoy is extensively thought to be a necessary mentor.
“A complete technology of nationwide safety girls used her as their function mannequin in easy methods to navigate a male-dominated job,” mentioned Consultant Elissa Slotkin, Democrat of Michigan, who additionally labored for Ms. Flournoy. “The lesson she offered for ladies is that you need to at all times be one of the best ready within the room. I actually realized that from her, and I now cross that all the way down to the younger girls who work for me.”
Celeste Wallander, the president of the U.S.-Russia Basis, is amongst scores of girls who take into account Ms. Flournoy central to their profitable careers. Ms. Wallander recalled a time in 1989 when the 2 had been each teachers at Harvard, the place Ms. Wallander, very junior, was normally left off the invitation listing for dinners and different occasions with main gamers in her discipline. Ms. Flournoy quietly had her added to the lists. “I bought to satisfy individuals as a result of I used to be on the desk now,” Ms. Wallander mentioned.