It's official: Michele Flournoy, President of the Center for a New American Security, will be the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy. She has been outspoken about dialogue with Iran, but also the possible use of force. She
said in December 2006, "Iran was actually quite helpful to us in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11. But rather than building on that dialogue, we characterized them as part of the axis of evil."
In September 2006 she wrote, "The military-readiness crisis extends beyond Iraq. With North Korea testing long-range missiles...and Iran working on uranium enrichment for a nuclear bomb, this is a moment to have some muscle to flex. Although most scenarios involving military action against Iran's nuclear capabilities emphasize air and missile power, most North Korean scenarios envision substantial commitments of U.S. ground forces in support of our South Korean ally. And right now, the United States does not have the troops to deploy."
In August 2007, she was asked, "You also want the next US to reject the doctrine of preventative war. Presumably that also means pre-emptive strikes? She answered, "It doesn't mean pre-emptive strikes. I think every US president has the option of the preventive, pre-emptive use of force if our own interests or homeland are under imminent and direct threat. Certainly if we have the rare case of actual intelligence of known terrorists, we need to go after those people whether it's using covert operations or military forces. So it does not rule out prevention on a case-by-case limited basis. What I'm saying is the kind of preventative war that was launched against Iraq in the absence of an imminent threat to the United States, that doctrine should be firmly set aside by the next president as a signal to the rest of the world that we don't plan on running around the world conducting additional Iraq-type invasions."
She laid out her views on Iraq at length in the Washington Times in March 2008.
The Undersecretary for Policy, formerly Doug Feith and then Eric Edelman, oversees Pentagon policy in the Middle East and other regions. Watch now for two deputies to be appointed: the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (was the late and admired Peter Rodman), and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs (was Bill Luti until he moved to the Bush White House).