SPECIAL OPS/INTELLIGENCE: Michael Vickers Retiring from Pentagon Intel Post
Ex-Green Beret, Ex-CIA, Now Ex-Pentagon Official.
Michael Vickers, undersecretary of defense for intelligence for the past four years, announced Thursday (April 30) that he was stepping down.
A former U.S. Army Green Beret, CIA operations officer, and top Pentagon official since 2007, Vickers was the first person to hold the position of assistant secretary of defense for special operations/low-intensity conflict and interdependent capabilities from July 23, 2007 to March 17, 2011. President Obama asked Vickers to stay on in that post when his administration took office in 2009.
Vickers is probably best known as 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 — popularly known from a non-fiction book and movie as “Charlie Wilson’s War.”
But success doesn’t come easy or all the time, Vickers told DoD News. He noted the United States and the West were caught by surprise by Russia’s aggressive behavior in Ukraine, slipping in Russian special ops soldiers pretending to be Ukrainians. But Vickers said “the intelligence community quickly adapted to the situation and was able to track things very well since then.”
He noted that the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS or simply the Islamic State) and their rapid advance through Iraq were also surprises.
Obama nominated Vickers to be the third Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence on September 29, 2010, and he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on March 17, 2011. Vickers served as Acting USDI for about two months in early 20111. As USDI, he played a critical policy and planning role in the operation that hunted down and killed Osama bin Laden.
As the SO/LIC&IC assistant secretary, he was, in effect, the civilian chief of all U.S. Special Operations Forces, and 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 in the war with al Qaeda and the war in Afghanistan, and led the largest expansion of SOF capabilities and capacity in history.
From 1973 to 1986, Vickers served as an Army Special Forces enlisted man and 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, according to his Pentagon bio.
Entry filed under: Afghanistan, Counter Insurgency, Counter Terrorism, National Security and Defense, Special Operations, Unconventional Warfare, Washington. Tags: Afghanistan, Army, Counter Insurgency, counter terrorism, Green Berets, intelligence, Michael Vickers, Pentagon, Special Operations, Topics, U.S. Army Special Forces.