Three candidates are in final contention to lead the department, people familiar with the matter tell CNN, with veteran Pentagon official Michèle Flournoy, former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and retired Army general Lloyd Austin all still being considered. Johnson and Austin, who are African-American, would be history-making nominees as the first Black Secretary of Defense. So, too, would Flournoy, as the first woman to run the Pentagon.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat and decorated combat veteran, is no longer getting a serious look, people familiar with the matter say, given Biden’s reluctance to create any vacancies in the Senate.
Flournoy was once widely considered a lock for the position and is still very much in the mix, people familiar with the matter say, but her exclusion from a flurry of barrier-breaking selections in the first wave of Cabinet picks underscored the uncertainty surrounding her.
Johnson served as general counsel at the Pentagon as…
— to www.cnn.com