Michael Mullen (born October 4, 1946) is a retired United States Navy admiral, who served as the 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from October 1, 2007 to September 30, 2011. In this position he served as the principal military advisor to the president, the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council. As Chairman, Mullen was the highest-ranking officer in the United States Armed Forces.
He was only the third naval officer in Navy history to be appointed to four different four-star assignments; the others 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.
A native of Los Angeles, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968.
He 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).
As a flag officer, Mullen commanded Cruiser-Destroyer Group 2, the George Washington Battle Group and the U.S. 2nd Fleet/NATO Striking Fleet Atlantic.
His last operational assignment was as commander, NATO Joint Force Command Naples/Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe. Mullen is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School and earned a Master of Science degree in Operations Research from the Naval Postgraduate School.
Prior to becoming chairman, Mullen served as the 28th Chief of Naval Operations.
He retired from the Navy after over 43 years of service.