Claude M. “Mick” Kicklighter was sworn in as the Inspector General of the Department of Defense on April 30, 2007. He was the sixth-confirmed DoD Inspector General.
Kicklighter was born and raised in Glennville, Georgia, and graduated from Mercer University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in Field Artillery. He achieved his Masters of Arts Degree in Management of National Resources from the School of Business Administration at George Washington University. He also is a graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. His overseas tours included France, Germany, the Netherlands, Iran, and two tours in Vietnam.
Kicklighter served 35 years in the U.S Army and retired in 1991 as a lieutenant general. Kicklighter commanded units at every level. Senior level commands included servings as Commander, US Army Pacific, 25th Infantry Division and the U.S Army Security Assistance Command. He also held senior level staff assignments with the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff the Office of Secretary of Defense, and the Department of the Army. In February 1997, Kicklighter was elected to the board of Habitat for Humanity and became its Chair in 1998. Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit Christian organization that builds houses for families in need in seventy-nine countries.
In 1999 Kicklighter left the Department of the Army and became Chief of Staff at Value America, Inc., an e-commerce company where he worked until March of 2000. Kicklighter was then nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate, in 2001, as Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning, which 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. 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. Kicklighter was also the Chief of Staff in the Department of Veterans Affairs and in 2004 he was designated as Special Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of State for Stabilization and Security Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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.
Kicklighter resigned his position as Inspector General effective July 13, 2008, and joined George Mason University as director of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Program.
The Fall of a Dot-Com: Blinded by Net fever, big-name investors poured millions into Craig Winn's chaotic Value America
(by John A. Byrne, Business Week)
After more than three years as Inspector General, Joseph Schmitz resigned in September 2005 to become chief operation officer and general counsel for the Prince Group, which owns the security contractor Blackwater Worldwide.