Michèle Flournoy

Michèle Flournoy is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of WestExec Advisors, and former Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), where she currently serves on the board.

Michèle served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from February 2009 to February 2012. She was the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense in the formulation of national security and defense policy, oversight of military plans and operations, and in National Security Council deliberations. She led the development of the Department of Defense’s 2012 Strategic Guidance and represented the Department in dozens of foreign engagements, in the media and before Congress.

Prior to confirmation, Michèle co-led President Obama’s transition team at the Defense Department.

In January 2007, Michèle co-founded CNAS, a bipartisan think tank dedicated to developing strong, pragmatic and principled national security policies. She served as CNAS’ President until 2009, and returned as CEO in 2014. In 2017, she co-founded WestExec Advisors, a strategic advisory firm.

Previously, she was senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies for several years and, prior to that, a distinguished research professor at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University (NDU).

In the mid-1990s, she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Threat Reduction and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy.

Michèle is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including: the American Red Cross Exceptional Service Award in 2016; the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service in 1998, 2011, and 2012; the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award in 2000 and 2012; the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service in 1996; and CARE’s Global Peace, Development and Security Award in 2019. She has edited several books and authored dozens of reports and articles on a broad range of defense and national security issues. Michèle appears frequently in national and international media, including CNN’s State of the Union, ABC’s This Week, NBC’s Meet the Press, BBC News, NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered and PBS’ News Hour, and is frequently quoted in top tier newspapers.

Michèle serves on the boards of

  • Booz Allen Hamilton,
  • Amida Technology Solutions,
  • The Mission Continues,
  • Spirit of America,
  • The U.S. Naval Academy Foundation,
  • CARE, and sits on the Honorary Advisory Committee of
  • The Leadership Council for Women in National Security. Michèle is also a former member of the
  • President’s Intelligence Advisory Board,
  • the CIA Director’s External Advisory Board, and the
  • Defense Policy Board, and is currently a member of the
  • Council on Foreign Relations and the
  • Aspen Strategy Group, and is a
  • Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Michèle earned a bachelor’s degree in social studies from Harvard University and a master’s degree in international relations from Balliol College, Oxford University, where she was a Newton-Tatum scholar.

U.S. Nears Deal on Arms Coveted by Saudis

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia are working on a package of arms deals and financial investments aimed at elevating economic and security cooperation between Washington and Riyadh after several years of strained relations over the U.S. diplomatic outreach to Iran.

Mr. Trump’s scheduled arrival in Saudi Arabia this week or his first stop outside the U.S. since taking office, include a missile-defense system and heavy arms the Obama administration either refused to sell Saudi Arabia or pulled back from amid concerns about Riyadh’s role in the conflict in Yemen

.. Trump’s goal is to get the Gulf states, principally Saudi Arabia, to help him achieve a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians.

.. “every system that we’re talking about” with the Saudis maintains Israel’s military advantage over its neighbors, known formally as its Qualitative Military Edge.

.. Israel isn’t objecting to the U.S. selling an advanced antimissile system, known as Thaad, to Saudi Arabia

.. Discussions over arms sales have been assigned higher priority over economic initiatives

.. Saudi officials promising Mr. Trump they would invest $200 billion in the U.S., and the White House committing to green-light the new arms sales to Riyadh.

.. Driving the outreach between the two countries are the Saudi king’s 31-year old son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, and the president’s 36-year-old son-in-law and senior White House adviser, Jared Kushner

.. “The Saudis know that the person who is trying to get Trump on our side is Kushner,” said Ahmed al-Ibrahim, a Saudi businessman and political commentator. “He is the guy who has the Middle East portfolio.”

.. The monarchy felt betrayed by the Obama administration’s conciliatory approach toward Riyadh’s No. 1 foe, Iran,

.. “The narrative of the Obama administration was that Saudi Arabia and Iran must share the region,”

.. Riyadh’s plans to open up new business opportunities for American companies in the Kingdom, stepped-up counterterrorism operations, and support for the Trump administration’s renewed campaign to forge a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

.. The presentation was created for Saudi Arabia by the U.S. consulting firm Booz Alan Hamilton, according to these officials. It was designed “to have the maximum” impact on Mr. Trump

.. Mr. Trump responded to the crown prince’s offer of $200 billion by saying he wanted much of the money to be funneled into Rust Belt states, such as Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin