Could there be a big think tank head swap in the cards?
With the announcement that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down from his post, word on the street is that Michele Flournoy, the co-founder and CEO of Center for a New American Security (CNAS), is among those that could be tapped by President Obama for the SecDef position.
Hagel is the former Chairman of Atlantic Council, a think tank that is now chaired by Jon Hunstman. With that post already taken, it may be a perfect swap if Flournoy moves to head DoD and Hagel becomes CEO of CNAS.
After all, Hagel is not devoted to just one think tank. For example, during the June 27, 2007 official launch of CNAS, then-Senator Hagel delivered a keynote address for the think tank.
Hagel also has close ties to the defense-oriented think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where Flournoy used to work. Hagel delivered the keynote address last year at CSIS's Global Security Forum. [And CSIS head John Hamre's name has been floated as a possible Hagel replacement.]
In May, Hagel spoke about NATO expansion and European Security at the Wilson Center, and he has previously spoken at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) a number of times.
Robert Work, the current Deputy Secretary of Defense, and a former CEO of CNAS, is another name being floated as a potential Hagel replacement. So is CNAS co-founder Kurt Campbell and CNAS board member Richard Danzig (who is also Vice Chair of the Board of Rand Corp.).
Ashton Carter, another name being floated for the top DoD spot, is a member of CFR and has spoken a variety of times at CNAS.