Michael George Vickers (born April 27, 1953) is an American defence official who is serving as the Under Secretary of Defence for Intelligence (USD-I) within the United States Department of Defence. As USD-I, Vickers, who was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2010, is the Defence Department's top civilian military intelligence official. Before becoming USD-I, Vickers served as United States Assistant Secretary of Defence for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict. Before joining the Defence 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. While in the CIA, he played a key role in the arming of the resistance to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
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. 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. In July 2007 he was confirmed by the United States Senate as Assistant Secretary of Defence, where he is the senior civilian advisor to the US Secretary of Defence on such matters as "counter-terrorism" strategy and operational employment of special operations forces, strategic forces, and conventional forces. 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. [http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2004-06-27-opcom_x.htm]