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Frontrunners emerge for top Pentagon position

Frontrunners emerge for top Pentagon position
If former under-secretary Michele Flournoy gets the nod, she would be the first woman to hold the role, and neither she nor former deputy secretary Ashton Carter have served in uniform.

Now working as policy academics, Flournoy and Carter have been mentioned for years as possible Pentagon leaders. Both have served under Democratic presidents going back to the 1990s, and both received support from both sides of Congress after Obama announced Hagel's resignation.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee which would vet the nominees, said in a tweet that both Flournoy and Ashton are 'solid choices.'

Flournoy, 53, has been a face in and around the Department of Defense for decades, a civilian woman make headway in an agency filled with men and military veterans. 'She has really had a fine career and is an excellent candidate for this job,' said Kathy Crandall Robinson, a senior director at nonprofit Women's Action for New Directions in Washington. Robinson said women have led in foreign policy for years, but breaking the gender divide in defense has been difficult. 'There have been a number of women coming up, but in the actual Defense Department it's breaking new ground so that would be really exciting,' she said on Flournoy's potential nomination.

First serving in defense in Democrat Bill Clinton's administration, Flournoy has made a name for herself in bipartisan defense circles as a policy wonk and strategist in Washington's think tank world.

She worked at the government's National Defense University, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Agencies

Agencies

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