Military Wiki

Michael Vickers
Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence
Assumed office
March 16, 2011
President Barack Obama
Preceded by James Clapper
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict and Interdependent Capabilities

In office
July 23, 2007 – March 16, 2011
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded by Thomas O'Connell
Succeeded by Michael Lumpkin (Acting)
Personal details
Born Michael George Vickers
April 27, 1953(1953-04-27) (age 69)
Burbank, California, U.S.
Alma mater University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
University of Pennsylvania
Johns Hopkins University

Michael George Vickers (born April 27, 1953) is an American defense official who is serving as the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (USD-I) within the United States Department of Defense. He was born in Burbank, California.[1] As USD-I, Vickers, who was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2010, is the Defense Department's top civilian military intelligence official. Before becoming USD-I, Vickers served as United States Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict.[2][3]

Before joining the Defense Department, Vickers served in the army special forces as both a non-commissioned and commissioned officer, as well as a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) paramilitary operations officer from their elite Special Activities Division.[4] While in the CIA, he played a key role in the arming of the resistance to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.[5]


From 1973 to 1986, Vickers served as an army special forces sergeant, later as a commissioned officer, and CIA paramilitary operations officer. In the mid-1980s, Vickers became involved with Operation Cyclone, the CIA program to arm Islamist Mujahideen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. He was the head military strategist for the US, coordinating an effort that involved ten countries and providing direction to forces made up of over 500,000 Afghan fighters.[6] Later he was Senior Vice President, Strategic Studies, at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), during which he provided advice on Iraq strategy to US President George H.W. Bush and his war cabinet.[6] In July 2007 he was confirmed by the United States Senate as Assistant Secretary of Defense, where he is the senior civilian advisor to the US Secretary of Defense on such matters as "counter-terrorism" strategy and operational employment of special operations forces, strategic forces, and conventional forces.[7] In 2004, he wrote an op-ed piece for USA Today in which he stated that the United States can be successful in Iraq by using a much smaller force modeled on its deployment in Afghanistan.[8]


Vickers attended the University of Alabama, where he graduated with honors, and went on to attend the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania from which he received an MBA. He earned a Ph.D. in 2011 in International Relations/Strategic Studies from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University under Professor Eliot A. Cohen. He is married with five daughters.[6]

In popular culture

Vickers' role at the Central Intelligence Agency during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was featured in George Crile's 2003 book Charlie Wilson's War, and in the 2007 movie adaptation in which he is played by actor Christopher Denham.

See also


  1. [1]
  2. "Political Scene". The Washington Times. January 12, 2011. Retrieved March 24, 2011. "A brief written exchange between Senate questioners and the Pentagon’s assistant secretary for special operations, Michael G. Vickers" 
  3. " Biography: Michael G. Vickers". U.S. Department of Defense. Retrieved March 24, 2011. 
  4. Crile, George (2003). Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History. Atlantic Monthly Press. ISBN 0-87113-854-9. 
  5. "Sorry Charlie this is Michael Vickers's War", Washington Post, 27 December 2007
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Bio page at the United States Department of Defense[dead link]
  7. Nomination page at[not in citation given]
  8. For guidance on Iraq, look to Afghanistan: Use fewer U.S. troops, not more

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas O'Connell
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict and Interdependent Capabilities
Succeeded by
Michael Lumpkin
Preceded by
James Clapper
Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence

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