President-elect Joe Biden is expected to take a historic step at the start of his presidency and select a woman at the helm of the Pentagon for the first time in US history, shattering one of the few remaining obstacles to women assuming cabinet and presidential duties.
US officials and political experts recommend that Michel Flournoy, the veteran and politically moderate chief of the Pentagon, be appointed as the best option. In the event that Flournoy is appointed to this position, her selection comes on the heels of a tumultuous period in the US Pentagon that saw five men pass to this top position under President Donald Trump.
The last defense secretary in the US administration, Mark Esper, was dismissed by Trump on Monday after he backed down on issues that were preoccupying Trump, including the withdrawal of forces from Iraq and Afghanistan and the use of the army to quell the civil unrest that the country became famous for the killing of the African-American citizen George Floyd.
If this appointment is confirmed, Flournoy will face a difficult task, which includes cutting Pentagon budgets and potential military participation in distributing the Coronavirus vaccine.
Who is she?
Democrats have long sought to appoint a woman to the highest position in an interest in which all combat jobs had not opened to serving women until about five years ago. Flournoy was the expected candidate for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. Her name emerged early on as an active member of Biden’s presidential office, officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The 59-year-old Flournoy is known for her firm stances and her tendencies for strong military cooperation abroad. She took her first steps in the Pentagon in the 1990s, where she held several positions, the last of which was Under Secretary of Defense for policy between 2009 and 2012.