Michael Vickers Discusses Terrorism and Osama bin Laden Raid


April 24, 2017

Former U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence in New GLG Video

New York, New York; April 24, 2017 — GLG (Gerson Lehrman Group, Inc.) today released a new video with former U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers as part of its Anatomy of a Decision video series. Interviewed by GLG Head of Research for NAFS Eric Jaffe, Vickers discusses his role in the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden and why the particular type of operation was chosen, saying: “Unless you had definitive intelligence after, you might have uncertainty, and you would suffer the foreign policy consequences of why did you do this strike on this area, and did you get him, and could you prove it.”

From 2011 to 2015, Vickers served as U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, the Chief Executive Officer of the Defense Intelligence Enterprise, an $80 billion, 180,000-person, global operation that includes the National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, Defense Security Service, and the intelligence components of the Military Services and Combatant Commands. During the 1980’s, he was a key strategist for the operation to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan and the ongoing war with al-Qaeda.

Vickers also discusses how to evaluate risk versus strategic certainty and how to create paths to success in the decision-making process, saying: “You examine all options…you have to just work it through every step of the way to see that you have a good chance of succeeding and then work out the problems, so your confidence builds as you refine an option—but it’s never one hundred percent.”

Other videos in GLG’s Anatomy of a Decision series feature interviews with: Jill Abramson, former Executive Editor of The New York Times; Jeffrey Brenzel, former Dean of Admissions at Yale University; Jeff Kindler, former CEO of Pfizer and Chair of the GLG InstituteKen Mehlman, Head of Public Affairs at KKR, former Republican National Committee Chairman, and Campaign Manager for President George W. Bush; Robby Mook, former Campaign Manager for Hillary Clinton and former Executive Director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; Jake Sullivan, former Director of Policy Planning at the United States Department of State; and Pamela Thomas-Graham, former CMO of Credit Suisse.

About GLG / Gerson Lehrman Group

GLG is the world’s leading membership for professional learning. Business leaders, investors, consultants, social entrepreneurs, and other top professionals rely on GLG to learn in short- and long-term engagements from more than 500,000 members and other experts. Clients partner with GLG to address their most complex strategic challenges, make better business decisions, and advance their careers through conversations, mentorships, small group meetings, surveys, and other interactions—all within a rigorous compliance framework. Headquartered in New York City, GLG’s 1,300+ employees work from offices in 12 countries. For more information visit