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Michael Vickers

Former Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
  • Former Green Beret turned CIA operative turned Pentagon intelligence leader
  • Led global counterterrorism operations globally, resulting in the elimination of terrorist leaders
  • Created the first cyber mission forces to defend the US against cyber attacks
  • Discusses geopolitics and security threats plus their impact on businesses
Topics & Types
ChinaNational SecurityMiddle EastGeopolitics

In May 2015, Michael Vickers retired as the under secretary of defense for intelligence, or USD(I) – the “CEO” of our nation’s $80 billion, 180,000-person, defense intelligence enterprise that includes the National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, and several other organizations. He led the most comprehensive, mission-focused transformation of defense intelligence in our nation’s history, including creating the first cyber mission forces to defend the United States against cyber attacks. One of the most accomplished senior intelligence officials of the last four decades, he understands the current geopolitical environment like no one else. Called a “national security star” by the Washington Post, his career is one of legend in the intelligence community. As a young Special Forces soldier, he practiced parachuting behind Soviet lines with a small nuclear weapon strapped to his body. He served as the key strategist of the two greatest wars of our time and played a major policy and planning role in the raid against Osama bin Laden.

Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities, Inc. speakers bureau, this Green Beret-turned-CIA operative-turned top Pentagon intelligence official is known for developing winning strategies when few think winning is possible. Since 2007, he served continuously under two presidents and two Parties, a rare political appointee whose expertise demanded unprecedented tenure across Republican and Democratic administrations. In presentations, Vickers shares insights and eye-opening stories on challenges to the current world order (including what’s at stake for American business), what has succeeded in keeping America safe, and where we still have work to do. With experience ranging from the individual operator level to the leader of large, complex global organizations, he shares hard-hitting insights on strategic and operational leadership.

Key to the Two Great Wars of Our Time. Vickers led counterterrorism operations around the world that resulted in the elimination of terrorist leaders, the disruption of plots against the U.S., and the dismantlement of terrorist organizations. He played a pivotal role in the ongoing war with al-Qaeda and driving the Soviets out of Afghanistan in order to end the Cold War – the CIA’s largest, most successful covert action ever. Chronicling these efforts, actor Christopher Denham portrayed Vickers in the blockbuster movie Charlie Wilson’s War.

During his tenure as USD(I), Vickers oversaw a several order-of-magnitude increase in the speed and capacity of our intelligence systems, and his efforts significantly improved our ability to protect ourselves. Before becoming under secretary, he served as the first and only assistant secretary of defense for special operations/low-intensity conflict and interdependent capabilities, where he had responsibility for all of our military’s operational capabilities, from nuclear weapons to special operations forces. In that role, Vickers oversaw the largest expansion of Special Operations forces in our nation’s history.

Vickers holds a doctorate in strategic studies from Johns Hopkins and an MBA from the Wharton School.

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Location/Travels from: DC
$10,001 - $20,000*
US East
$20,001 - $35,000*
US West
$20,001 - $35,000*
$35,001 - $55,000*
$35,001 - $55,000*

* This specific fee falls within this range. Ranges are presented as a guideline only. Speaker fees are subject to change without notice.
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