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Michael G. Vickers

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Michael G. Vickers

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
(1953-04-27) April 27, 1953
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 [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.

In popular culture

Vickers' role at the 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.  
  5. ^ "Sorry Charlie this is Michael Vickers's War", Washington Post, 27 December 2007
  6. ^ a b Bio page at the United States Department of Defense
  7. ^ Nomination page at
  8. ^ For guidance on Iraq, look to Afghanistan: Use fewer U.S. troops, not more

External links

  • SOF Advisor - Michael G. Vickers November 14, 2007
  • U.S. adapts Cold-War Idea to Fight Terrorists NYTimes March 18, 2008
  • Michael G. Vickers Biography collected news and commentary at The Washington Post
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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