Former Undersecretary of Defense Michèle Flournoy shares insights from her experience running the Agency Review team for the Obama transition and serving as Undersecretary of Defense. Flournoy also discusses the challenges associated with transitioning during an ongoing conflict, and the underrepresentation of women in national security.
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Dave: “So when you started your career, did you think you were going to be a trailblazer for women in the national security space?”
Michele: “I didn’t set out to be that, but I did find myself from the beginning in rooms where I was the only woman. I started my work working on nuclear issues, nuclear weapons, nuclear arms control and nuclear proliferation. And it was sort of the, the gray bearded priesthood and me in a lot of my early jobs. When I did have a chance to hire a team, I really tried to bring in a team that looks more like America and that had a greater diversity of background and perspective and experience to help us all make better decisions in the national security space. You’ve had female secretaries of state, but never a female director of a head of the defense department. It’s gotten better, but it’s still one of the least progressive areas in terms of gender opportunities.”