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Michèle Flournoy/Kurt Campbell

51 - Michèle Flournoy/Kurt Campbell
2012 Rank: 70/23

Co-founders, Center for a New American Security
Together, they founded what rapidly has grown into one of Washington’s foremost think tanks. And while they have gone their separate ways, they distinguished themselves during their latest stint in government and are both expected to assume even bigger future jobs. After a tour in the Pentagon as the undersecretary for policy, Flournoy spent the last year back at the think tank she co-founded in 2007 after helping the Obama campaign. Respected for her insight, pragmatism and ability to build consensus, Flournoy is expected to sit out the rest of the Obama administration given both she and her husband held top jobs and have decided to spend more time with their three children. Her husband, Scott Gould, was the deputy secretary of veterans affairs. Most expect her to wait for Hillary Clinton to get to the White House, after which she is a frontrunner to become the nation’s first female defense secretary — unless Christine Fox (No. 23) beats her to it. Campbell, who also is close to Clinton, is now at The Asia Group after a successful tenure as the State Department’s Asia chief, credited with forging the administration’s emphasis on the Pacific. Tough, fair and well-connected, the former Navy intelligence officer is well-known for his persuasive powers as well as his ability to twist arms to get the job done, then take you out for a beer. A brilliant problem solver and policy mind, Campbell is a strategist with skills that will ensure he remains a player.

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