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Pentagon’s Top Policy Chief to Step Down

Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr., American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2011 The Defense Department’s third most senior official and top female leader has resigned, but will remain in position until February to ensure a smooth transition, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced today.

Michèle Flournoy, undersecretary of defense for policy, today announced her intention to step down and return to private life, Panetta said.

“In her discussions with me, Michèle made clear that her decision to leave is motivated by personal and family considerations,” he said. “I am very pleased that she has agreed to stay on until early next year to enable a smooth transition.”

Confirmed by the Senate on Feb. 9, 2009, Flournoy is responsible for all matters on formulating national security and defense policy, the integration and oversight of DOD policy, and plans to achieve national security objectives.

Panetta praised Flournoy for her dedicated service to the department, and her impact on national security interests.

“Michèle has been an invaluable advisor to me during my six months as secretary of defense, and has been an outstanding departmental leader for nearly three years at a time of great consequence for our nation’s defense,” he said.

“From guiding our strategy in Afghanistan and Iraq, to helping set the department’s priorities and global posture through the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review as well as the strategy review that has been underway this year, Michèle has made a strong and lasting positive imprint on this department and on our nation’s security,” he said.

Flournoy is married to W. Scott Gould, deputy secretary of the Department of Veteran Affairs, and they have three children. P

anetta lauded Flourney for her work within the department and expressed regret for her departure.

“Michèle is a treasured colleague, and the entire Department of Defense will be sad to see her go, but she has built an incredible team that is a testament to her leadership,” he said. “I will personally miss her valued counsel, but I understand the stresses and strains that holding senior administration positions can have on families,” Panetta noted.

“I look forward to having the opportunity to paying full tribute to Michèle and wish her and her family all the best in the next stage of their lives,” he said. “I’m confident that she will have many years of service in her future.”

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