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Michael G. Mullen
Born October 4, 1946 (1946-10-04) (age 63)
Michael Mullen
Admiral Michael Mullen, USN
17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Nickname Mike
Place of birth Los Angeles, California
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Department of the Navy Seal.svg United States Navy
Years of service 1968-present
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg Admiral
Commands held Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Chief of Naval Operations
U.S. Naval Forces Europe
Allied Joint Force Command Naples
Vice Chief of Naval Operations
U.S. Second Fleet
NATO Striking Fleet Atlantic
Cruiser-Destroyer Group Two
George Washington Battle Group
USS Yorktown (CG-48)
USS Goldsborough (DDG-20)
USS Noxubee (AOG-56)
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Navy Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit (6)

Admiral Michael Glenn "Mike" Mullen, USN (born October 4, 1946) is the 17th and current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS). Mullen previously served as the Navy's 28th Chief of Naval Operations from July 22, 2005 to September 29, 2007. His other four-star assignments include being the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples from October 2004 to May 2005, and as the 32nd Vice Chief of Naval Operations from August 2003 to August 2004. As the CJCS, Mullen is the highest ranking officer in the United States armed forces.[1] Mullen assumed his current assignment on October 1, 2007.


Early life

Admiral Mullen awarding Army Captain Gregory Ambrosia the Silver Star

The son of a Hollywood press agent and his wife, who worked as an assistant to Jimmy Durante, Mullen was born in Los Angeles, California, and attended Blessed Sacrament Catholic School.[2] He graduated from Notre Dame High School (Sherman Oaks) in 1964, and from the United States Naval Academy in 1968. Mullen has served in a wide range of assignments at sea and ashore, in Allied, Joint and Navy positions, overseas and in both the Atlantic and the Pacific Fleets.


As a junior officer, he served in various leadership positions aboard USS Collett (DD-730), USS Blandy (DD-943), USS Fox (CG-33) and USS Sterrett (CG-31). He has commanded three ships: the gasoline tanker USS Noxubee (AOG-56), the guided missile destroyer USS Goldsborough (DDG-20), and the guided missile cruiser USS Yorktown (CG-48); and has also commanded Cruiser-Destroyer Group Two and the George Washington Battle Group. Mullen’s last command at sea was as Commander, U.S. Second Fleet/Commander, NATO Striking Fleet Atlantic (COMSTRIKFLTLANT).

In 1985, Mullen graduated from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., with a Master of Science degree in Operations Research, and in 1991, he completed the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program.

Mullen served as Company Officer and Executive Assistant to the Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy. He also served in the Bureau of Naval Personnel as Director, Chief of Planning and Provisions, Surface Officer Distribution and in the Office of the Secretary of Defense on the staff of the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation. On the Chief of Naval Operations' staff, Mullen served as Deputy Director and Director of Surface Warfare and as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Resources, Requirements, and Assessments (N8). He was the 32nd Vice Chief of Naval Operations from August 2003 to October 2004.

He was recognized by his peers in 1987 with the Vice Admiral Stockdale leadership award for leadership skill. He is one of 53 naval officers to be recognized by this award since its inception in 1980.

As Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Mullen had operational responsibility for NATO missions in the Balkans, Iraq, and the Mediterranean. As Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, he was responsible for providing overall command, operational control, and coordination of U.S. naval forces in the European Command area of responsibility. He assumed these duties on 8 October 2004 and was relieved of them upon his becoming Chief of Naval Operations.

On 29 October 2006, the Honolulu Advertiser published an editorial by Mullen that defined the concept of the 1,000-ship navy.[3]

Then-Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Mullen with former Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter and former MCPON Terry D. Scott

Joint Chiefs of Staff

Former U.S. President George W. Bush (at lectern) announces the nominations of Mullen (second from left) and James Cartwright (far left) to be Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, respectively, on June 28, 2007, at the Roosevelt Room of the White House.

On June 8, 2007, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced that he would advise President George W. Bush to nominate Mullen to succeed General Peter Pace as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff;[4] Bush announced the nomination formally on June 28, 2007.[5]

On August 3, 2007, the U.S. Senate confirmed Mullen as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[6] Upon taking office, Mullen became the first Navy Admiral to hold the Chairman's position since Admiral William Crowe, who served as Chairman prior to the enactment of the Goldwater-Nichols Act in 1986, and was the immediate predecessor to Army General and later Secretary of State Colin Powell.

On July 15, 2008, Mullen inaugurated an eight-room school for girls in the village of Pushkar, in the heart of Afghanistan.[7]

On March 18, 2009, Gates recommended to President Barack Obama that Mullen be re-nominated for a second term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs.[8] He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on September 25, 2009[9] and began his second term on October 1, 2009.

On February 2, 2010, Mullen and Gates said that they fully support President Obama’s decision to end the "Don't ask, don't tell" law, which prevents openly gay people from serving in the military. “It is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do,” Mullen said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. “No matter how I look at the issue…I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens…For me, it comes down to integrity — theirs as individuals and ours as an institution.”

2007 Senate testimony regarding the Iraq war

During Mullen's Senate confirmation hearings for his first term nomination as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mullen identified political progress in Iraq as a critical component of Iraq policy.[10] He noted that, "there does not appear to be much political progress" in Iraq.[10] He also said, "If [the Iraqis] aren't making progress in [the political] realm, the prospects for movement in a positive direction are not very good. Failure to achieve tangible progress toward [political] reconciliation requires a strategic reassessment."[10] Mullen further told the Senate that the United States needs to "bring as much pressure on [Iraq's political leaders] as [the U.S.] possibly can."[10]

Regarding the length and scope of the U.S. involvement in Iraq, Mullen told the Senate that while he does not envision permanent U.S. bases in Iraq, "vital interests in the region and in Iraq require a pragmatic, long-term commitment that will be measured in years, not months."[10]

Speech to the JINSA on the 2008 Mumbai Attacks

On December 8, 2008, Mullen spoke to the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) where he accepted JINSA's "Henry M. Jackson Distinguished Service Award." During his speech, Mullen stated that the November 2008 Mumbai attacks "crossed a new threshold" and that "Their level of tactical sophistication with GPS and Blackberrys and satellite phones matches only the indiscriminate nature of death and destruction they caused - and yet they intended far worse." He stated that "We are working to prevent November 26 from becoming a tipping point toward chaos in the region by confronting once again a common enemy." He also stated that "the images of two-year-old Moshe Holtzberg soon after his parents were mercilessly struck down in Chabad house should not ever leave us."[11]

Views on Use of Military Force

In a speech at Kansas State University[12], Mullen outlined his views about the best application of military force in present times. He characterized most wars, such as WWII, as wars of attrition, where the reduction or elimination of enemy forces signaled victory. He characterized the Cold War as an issue of containment. In characterizing the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he described them as "a fight against a syndicate of Islamic extremists led by al-Qaida and supported by a host of both state and non-state actors", citing the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan as their 'epicenter'.

Mullen outlined three principles about the 'proper use of modern military forces':

  • Military power should not be the last resort of the state: Mullen pointed to the readiness and capacity of military forces to respond to crises as reason to deploy them sooner, rather than later, in response. "We can, merely by our presence, help alter certain behavior."
  • Force should be applied in a precise and principled way: Mullen cites the sacrifice involved in deployment as requiring extreme care. Secondly, Mullen argues that "the battlefield isn’t necessarily a field anymore. It’s in the minds of the people." He cites General McChrystal's restriction of night raids as an example of this 2nd principle in action.
  • Policy and strategy should constantly struggle with one another: Given that current engagements are open-ended, Mullen posits that military strategy must be more constantly engaged with policy. "...war has never been a set-piece affair. The enemy adapts to your strategy and you adapt to his." He cites the review process which lead to the current Afghanistan escalation as a model of engagement between military leaders and policy makers.

Military awards

Admiral Mullen's medals as of May 17, 2007.
U.S. Military decorations
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Gold star
Navy Distinguished Service Medal (2)
US Defense Superior Service Medal ribbon.svg Defense Superior Service Medal
Silver star
Legion of Merit (6)
Meritorious Service ribbon.svg Meritorious Service Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation ribbon.svg Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement ribbon.svg Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
Navy Unit Commendation ribbon.svg Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon.svg Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon
Navy "E" Ribbon w/ Wreathed Battle E device
Navy Expeditionary ribbon.svg Navy Expeditionary Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal (3)
AFEMRib.svg Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Bronze star
Vietnam Service Medal (1 campaign star)
Global War on Terrorism Service ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Bronze star
Humanitarian Service Medal (2)
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (4)
Bronze star
Navy Overseas Service Ribbon (2)
Non-U.S. decorations
Vietnam gallantry cross unit award-3d.svg Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation Ribbon
VNCivilActionsRibbon-2.svg Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation Ribbon
NATO ribbon for Yugoslavia..JPG NATO Medal for Former Yugoslavia
Italian Defense General Staff Joint Forces Medal of Honor[13]
Chilean Naval Order of Merit (Commander)[14]

In 1987, he was awarded the Vice Admiral Stockdale Award.

See also


External links

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Vern Clark
United States Chief of Naval Operations
Succeeded by
Gary Roughead
Preceded by
Peter Pace
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Succeeded by

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