WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Michele Flournoy, the
Pentagon's first female policy chief, is stepping down for
personal reasons early next year, officials said Monday.
Flournoy, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, made the
decision to resign to spend more time with her family, they
said. She plans to help President Barack Obama informally in
his 2012 re-election campaign, a spokeswoman said.
Flournoy, 50, had been touted by analysts early this year
as a long-shot candidate to succeed to former Defense Secretary
Robert Gates, who stepped down at the end of June. That would
have made her the first female secretary of defense.
Gates was instead replaced by former CIA director Leon
Panetta. Panetta praised Flournoy's work, calling her an
"invaluable adviser" during his first months on the job.
"I will personally miss her valued counsel but I understand
the stresses and strains that holding senior administration
positions can have on families," Panetta said in a statement.
Flournoy is the co-founder and former president of the
Center for New American Security, a Washington think-tank.
(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Doina Chiacu)
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