Tuesday, 25 Nov 2014 05:20 PM

AP - A top contender to replace Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon is taking herself out of consideration for the job.

People familiar with the process say Michelle Flournoy has told President Barack Obama she is not interested in the post. Flournoy would have been the first woman to run the Pentagon.

Flournoy served as a top Pentagon official during Obama's first term, and then returned to the Center for a New American Security, the think tank she co-founded. She sent a letter to the think tank's board Tuesday saying she had taken herself out of consideration for the Pentagon job.

The people familiar with the process insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter by name. Flournoy's decision was first reported by Foreign Policy magazine.