Born in Novato, CA, Michael B. Donley served in the U.S. Army from 1972 to 1975 with the XVIIIth Airborne Corps and the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne). At the University of Southern California, he earned a BA (1977) and an MA (1978) in international relations. After graduation, he worked as an editor for the National Security Review, a publication of the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation. Between 1979 and 1984 Donley worked for the U.S. Senate, in particular as a staff member of the Senate Armed Service Committee. During President Ronald Reagan’s second term, Donley worked at the National Security Council, first as Director of Defense Programs and then as Deputy Executive Secretary. He also wrote Reagan’s second term National Security Strategy. During the presidency of George H.W. Bush, Donley was Assistant Secretary of the Air Force in charge of financial management. In 1993, he also served briefly as Acting Secretary of the Air Force. From 1993 to 1996, Donley was a senior fellow at the Institute for Defense Analyses. Between 1996 and 2005, Donley was a Senior Vice President of Hicks and Associates, a subsidiary of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), one of the largest government contractors (more than $5 billion in 2007 alone). Switching from the world of contracting back to the work of the government, Donley served, from 2005 to 2008, as the Director of Administration and Management on the Department of Defense. Following the forced resignation of Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne, Donley was appointed Acting Secretary of the Air Force effective June 21, 2008, and was confirmed as Secretary October 17, 2008.