Pressure mounts on Obama to appoint first woman Secretary of Defense

“All the research we have right now shows that if you want to get a better decision, you want a diverse group,” said Wilson, who said she has worked with Flournoy on several projects designed to help women take on national security leadership roles.

Flournoy, the highest-ranking woman at the Pentagon until she stepped down from the post in January, is the co-founder of the Center for a New American Security, a DC think tank that has produced a host of Obama administration appointees. During the Clinton administration, Flournoy served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Threat Reduction and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy.

Flournoy’s foreign policy has been characterized as “liberal realist” and she’s been a champion of Obama’s rebalancing of forces with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region. She’s also a strong support of forward-deploying U.S. troops to potential conflict regions to ensure rapid response in the event of a flare-up and to promote stability the rest of the time.