Michael A. Sheehan

For other people named Michael Sheehan, see Michael Sheehan (disambiguation).
Michael A. Sheehan
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict & Interdependent Capabilities
In office
Preceded by Michael Vickers
Deputy Commissioner for Counter Terrorism
In office
Assistant Secretary General of Mission Support
United Nations
In office
President George W. Bush
U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Counter Terrorism
In office
President Bill Clinton
Personal details
Born (1955-02-10) February 10, 1955
Red Bank, New Jersey
Profession Soldier
Counter Terrorism Expert
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Rank Colonel

Michael A. Sheehan (born February 10, 1955) is a United States author and former government official and military officer. He is currently Distinguished Chair at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York and a terrorist analyst for NBC News. He was born in Red Bank, New Jersey. [1]


Sheehan graduated from Christian Brothers Academy in New Jersey in 1973 and the United States Military Academy (West Point) in 1977. Sheehan has a Master of Science in Foreign Service from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service as well as one from the United States Army Command and General Staff College.

Military career

He served as an officer in the infantry and Special Forces. He had several overseas assignments, as a commander of a "counter-terrorism" unit in Panama, a counterinsurgency advisor in El Salvador, an infantry company commander in Korea, and on peacekeeping duty in Somalia and Haiti. Also while on active duty, he served in the White House on the National Security Council staff for Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Department of State

In 1998, he was appointed Coordinator for Counterterrorism with the rank and status of Ambassador-at-Large at the United States Department of State and was confirmed by the United States Senate for this position in 1999.[2] Following an assignment as Assistant-Secretary-General at the United Nations in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (2001 to 2003),[3] Sheehan served as Deputy Commissioner of Counter Terrorism for the New York City Police Department until May 2006.[4]

According to General Daniel P. Bolger's book "Why We Lost", at an acrimonious meeting in the Clinton White House, Mr. Sheehan asked the members of the Armed Forces present: "Does Al Quaeda have to hit the Pentagon to get your attention?"

Life after diplomatic service

Sheehan then served as President and co-founder of Lexington Security Group, an international consulting firm that specializes in providing international law enforcement, internal security, and national defense organizations with strategic guidance, unit training, and individual mentoring to manage emerging security challenges.[5] He was a partner in Torch Hill Investment Partners, a private equity group in New York City that specializes in the defense, intelligence and security sectors.[6] He was also a terrorism analyst for NBC News and a fellow at New York University's Center on Law and Security.[7]

Return to federal service

The White House nominated Sheehan to become Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict on Nov. 1, 2011.[8] The U.S. Senate Senate Armed Services Committee held his confirmation hearing on Nov. 17, 2011,[9] and he was confirmed by a voice vote on Dec. 17, 2011.


Sheehan is the author of the book Crush the Cell: How to Defeat Terrorism Without Terrorizing Ourselves ISBN 978-0-307-38217-7 [10][11] After the attempted bombing in Times Square, Mr. Sheehan concluded the terrorist was a 'lone wolf' and wrote so in the New York Times. However, experts in the field have concluded that he was part of a terrorist group based in Pakistan.[12]


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