Mick Kicklighter

Mick Kicklighter, Director and Principal Investigator


Claude M. “Mick” Kicklighter became the Director and Principal Investigator of the Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Program in July 2008. The CIP Program, an established research organization within George Mason University School of Law, integrates law, policy, and technology to conduct comprehensive, nationally significant critical infrastructure research. The Program features both core research conducted under a multi-million dollar grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and focused research performed under grants and contracts for numerous homeland security stakeholders.

Mick Kicklighter has served his country for more than 50 years, first as an Army officer for over 35 years, retiring as a lieutenant general, then for over 15 years as a distinguished public servant. Since his retirement from the military in 1991, he has held a number of senior positions in the Departments of Defense, State, and Veterans Affairs. Most recently, Kicklighter was the Inspector General of the Department of Defense. He was the sixth Senate-confirmed Department of Defense Inspector General, sworn in on April 30, 2007. In October 2005, he was selected by the Secretaries of State and Defense to establish and direct the Iraq/Afghanistan Joint Transition Planning Group, a joint Department of State and Department of Defense team that has provided analysis and recommendations for coordinating efforts to address transition challenges in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prior to this, he was the Chief of Staff, Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2004, he was designated as Special Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of State for Stabilization and Security Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2003, he was Director of the Department of Defense’s Iraq Transition Team that, together with the Department of State’s Iraq Transition Team, planned the inactivation of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and the establishment of the new U.S. Mission Baghdad.

In 2001, Mick Kicklighter was nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate as Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning, Department of Veterans Affairs; this office later became the Office of Policy, Planning, and Preparedness after the attacks on September 11, 2001. In this role, he was senior advisor to the Secretary on strategic planning, policy research and analysis, program evaluation, emergency operations, preparedness, and security and law enforcement.

Previously, Mick Kicklighter served as Deputy Under Secretary of the Army for International Affairs. He also was the director of our Nation’s commemorative activities, both in the United States and around the globe, which thanked and honored our World War II veterans and their families during the 50th Anniversary of World War II. During his more than 35-year career as a military officer, Kicklighter commanded units at every level from platoon thru Army Division, and then commanded a theater army. His senior-level commands included serving as Commander, U.S. Army, Pacific, 25th Infantry Division (Light), and as Director for Security Assistance for the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command. He also held senior-level staff assignments with the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and Department of the Army, including being the Director of the Army Staff and Chief of Staff of the Army Materiel Command.

During his military service, LTG(R) Kicklighter received the Distinguished Service Medal (3 awards), Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (4 awards), Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards), Army Commendation Medal (5 awards), as well as various foreign decorations: Argentina Order of May, French Order National Du Merite, Korean Order of National Security Gugseon Medal, and Silver Honorary Order of Freedom of the Republic of Slovenia. His civilian awards include the Presidential Citizens Medal, Eisenhower Liberation Medal, Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service, and Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service (twice).

Born and raised in Glennville, Georgia, Mick Kicklighter graduated from Mercer University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in Field Artillery. He earned a Master of Arts degree in Management of National Resources from the School of Business Administration, The George Washington University, and is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. His overseas tours include France, Germany, the Netherlands, Iran, and two tours in Vietnam. While a public servant, Kicklighter also served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity International and as its Chairman for three years.