Executive Profiles

Michele Flournoy, Chair of the Center for a New American Security Board of Directors

Michele Flournoy


CNAS Board of Directors

Michele Flournoy, Chair of the Center for a New American Security Board of Directors

Michele Flournoy is the co-founder and former chief executive officer of the Center for a New American Security, a Washington, D.C.-based bipartisan nonprofit that focuses on developing policies concerning national security and defense.

Currently, Flournoy serves as chair of the CNAS Board of Directors. She co-founded CNAS in 2007 and served as president until 2009, when she was tapped to serve at the Department of Defense. In 2014, she returned to CNAS as CEO, a role she held until 2017, when she co-founded WestExec Advisors.

WestExec is a strategic advisory firm, where she serves as a managing partner, according to Flournoy’s biography posted on CNAS’ website.

During the Obama administration, from February 2009 to February 2012, Flournoy was the undersecretary of defense for policy. She worked as the principal adviser to the defense secretary in the development of national security and defense policies, oversight of military plans and operations, as well as in deliberations at the National Security Council.

As defense undersecretary, Flournoy also led the development of the DOD’s 2012 strategic guidance and represented the Pentagon in various foreign engagements in the media and before Congress.

Earlier in her career, the national security expert served as senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Before that, she was a research professor at the National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies.

Flournoy, who won the Wash100 award in 2015, is a graduate of Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in social studies. She also holds a master’s degree in international relations from Oxford University’s Balliol College. 

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Category: Executive Profiles

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