Michael G. (“Mike”) Vickers was nominated by President Barack Obama as the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (USDI) on September 29, 2010, and was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on March 17, 2011. Secretary Vickers served as Acting USDI from January 28, 2011, to March 17, 2011, and as first and only Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity & Interdependent Capabilities (ASD SO/LIC&IC) from July 23, 2007 to March 17, 2011. His service has spanned the administrations of both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.
As the USDI, Secretary Vickers is the principal intelligence advisor to the Secretary of Defense. He exercises authority, direction, and control on behalf of the Secretary of Defense over all intelligence organizations within the Department of Defense, including the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the intelligence components of the combatant commands and military services. Secretary Vickers is the Program Executive for the Military Intelligence Program. He is also dual-hatted as Director of Defense Intelligence in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and reports to the DNI in this capacity. He is the Department’s principal interface with the Central Intelligence Agency and other elements of the Intelligence Community, and represents the Department on intelligence and sensitive operations at Deputies and Principals Committee meetings of the National Security Council.
As ASD (SO/LIC&IC) from July 23, 2007, to March 17, 2011, Secretary Vickers had oversight of global operations, and served as the senior civilian adviser to the Secretary of Defense on counterterrorism, irregular warfare and special activities. He played a central role in shaping U.S. strategy for the war with al Qa’ida, and the war in Afghanistan. He had oversight of the core operational capabilities (strategic forces, conventional forces, and special operations forces) of the Department of Defense, as well as the functional combatant commands (United States Strategic Command, Special Operations Command, Joint Forces Command and Transportation Command). With the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he had oversight of the force application (maneuver and fires) joint capability area.
From 1973 to 1986, Secretary Vickers served as an Army Special Forces Non-Commissioned Officer, Special Forces Officer, and CIA Operations Officer. He had operational and combat experience in Central America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Central and South Asia. His operational experience spans covert action and espionage, unconventional warfare, counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, and foreign internal defense. During the mid-1980s, Secretary Vickers was the principal strategist for the largest covert action program in the CIA’s history: the paramilitary operation that drove the Soviet army out of Afghanistan. From 1996-2007, Secretary Vickers was Senior Vice President, Strategic Studies, at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
Secretary Vickers holds a Bachelor of Arts, with honors, from the University of Alabama, a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a Doctor of Philosophy in International Relations/Strategic Studies from the Johns Hopkins University.