The Blog

The Case for Flournoy

9:15 AM, Dec 27, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Rosa Brooks on why Michèle Flournoy should be the next secretary of defense:

1. She's smart. Really, really smart. She reads -- not just the page of bullet points on top of the decision package, but the memos and correspondence underneath. She stays on top of new books on defense and security issues, emerging debates, new technologies, and new theories. She's got good judgment, too: She's seen trends come and go, and she doesn't just jump on the latest fad (yes, there are fads in defense policy just as there are fads in junior high school). ...

6. She has a vision of where the department needs to go. Unlike Secretary Panetta, a generalist who was brought in as a transitional secretary to help the department through an election year and a tough budget season, Flournoy would come to the job as someone who has spent her whole career in defense policy. She has a deep understanding of how the security environment has changed over the past decades and the ways in which the United States will need to adapt. We'll be facing high-end asymmetric threats at the same time we'll be dealing with the consequences of state weakness and instability. We'll need to invest in increasing our agility: We'll need to be able to respond to advanced anti-access and area denial technologies, and we'll need to help partner states counter terrorist insurgencies. We'll also need to respond to the challenges that will be produced by climate change and similar dispersed, inchoate phenomena, and this will require us to build the capacity of allies, partners, and the international system.

Flournoy also understands that change will need to occur during a period of extreme fiscal constraint. She knows where the department's lean and where there's fat. She knows what can safely be cut and where we need to invest. Under Flournoy, strategy would drive budget, not the other way around.

Whole thing here.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 15 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers