Flournoy: Flexibility, Agility Key to Countering Complex Challenges

Today’s policy makers worry about a wide range of threats, said Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy on Monday in her final public speech in office. These include China and its rapidly growing military capacity, the possibility of cyber warfare, proliferation of nuclear weapons, effects from the Arab Awakening, and an economy that continues to falter, she said in her address at the Reserve Officers Association symposium in Washington, D.C. “The underlying theme that runs through all this is an emphasis on flexibility, agility, readiness—on retaining capability across the full spectrum of missions,” she said. “This is the key to sustaining our leadership in an era of complex challenges and hard fiscal choices.” That also means being open to possibly changing course “in response to strategic, economic, or technological change,” said Flournoy, who will leave office on Feb. 3, after having led the defense policy shop for the last three years. “When circumstances are difficult, we as a country, as a people, do find a way to come together for the broader national interest,” she said. (AFPS report by Karen Parrish)