Speaker's Profile


Michael Hayden

Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and Former Director of the National Security Agency

General Michael Hayden is a retired four-star general who served as director of the CIA and the NSA when the course of world events was changing at an accelerating rate. As head of the country’s keystone intelligence-gathering agencies, he was on the frontline of geopolitical strife and the war on terrorism. He understands the dangers, risks, and potential rewards of the political, economic, and security situations facing the planet. General Hayden dissects political situations in hot spots around the world, analyzing the tumultuous global environment and what it all means for the American people and America’s interests. He speaks on the delicate balance between liberty and security in intelligence work, as well the potential benefits and dangers associated with the cyber domain. As the former head of two multi-billion dollar enterprises, he can also address the challenges of managing complex organizations in times of stress and the need to develop effective internal and external communications.

At the Center of Central Intelligence.

General Hayden became director of CIA in May of 2006, capping a career in service to the United States that included nearly 40 years in the Air Force. He served until 2009. From 2005–2006, General Hayden was the country’s first principal deputy director of national intelligence and the highest-ranking military intelligence officer in the country.

From 1999–2005, Hayden had served as the director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and chief of the Central Security Service (CSS) after being appointed by President Bill Clinton. He worked to put a human face on the famously secretive agency, explaining to the American people the role of the NSA and making it more visible on the national scene.

Strategic Command in Dangerous Times.

In his nearly 40-year military career, Hayden served as commander of the Air Intelligence Agency and director of the Joint Command and Control Warfare Center. He has also served in senior staff positions at the Pentagon, at the headquarters of the U.S. European Command, at the National Security Council, and the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria. He also served as deputy chief of staff for the United Nations Command and U.S. Forces in South Korea.

Hayden served as a foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and has been a frequent expert and commentator on major news outlets and in top publications, valued for his expertise on intelligence matters like cyber security, government surveillance, geopolitics, and more. He was also featured in the HBO documentary Manhunt, which looked at espionage through the eyes of the insiders who led the secret war against Osama bin Laden.

Hayden is currently a principal at the Chertoff Group and a distinguished visiting professor at the George Mason University School of Public Policy. He was also elected to the board of directors of Motorola Solutions in January 2011 and serves on a variety of other boards and consultancies. In 2013, the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) awarded Hayden the 29th annual William Oliver Baker Award. In 2014 he was the inaugural Humanitas visiting professor in intelligence studies at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.


Hot Spots at Home and Around the World.

In this dangerous and unpredictable world, the geopolitical situation is constantly changing. As a career soldier and the nation’s top military intelligence officer, General Hayden understands the politics and key players who drive policy internationally and at home. He delivers a compelling presentation about the state of the world today. Which nations are on the rise and which are in decline? Which areas are trouble spots for America and American interests? With humor and insight, General Hayden breaks down the state of the planet, giving audiences the ultimate insider’s glimpse into the forces shaping the world.

Leading during a Crisis.

With his vast intelligence experience from his time in the CIA, the NSA, the military, and the Pentagon, Michael Hayden benefits from nearly a lifetime’s worth of crisis management and leadership experience. In this special presentation, he addresses leading complex and sensitive organizations during crises, and how managers and leaders of all backgrounds can apply the lessons he learned over the years to their own organizations. This includes discussing how to recognize when to shake things up and innovate (in terms of structure and personnel) at an organization, when to focus on stabilization, the unique challenges associated with leading during a crisis, developing the effective qualities of a leader, and how to gauge leadership styles to the situation and the organization.

Crisis Management in Complex Organizations.

Perhaps no one has more experience managing in crisis situations at the highest level than Michael Hayden. As a director and day-to-day manager of the CIA, he ran the agency at one of the most momentous times in its history. As the deputy director of National Intelligence, he was the highest ranking military intelligence officer, directing the entire intelligence community at a time when various organizations in the community were realigned to work together. His speeches call on his years of experience, his personal stories, and the management qualities that allowed him to become the longest-tenured director of the NSA.


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■General Michael Hayden | Beyond Snowden: An NSA Reality Check | Oxford Union