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PR- 134-03
May 20, 2003


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today announced the appointment of Michael Sheehan as the New York City Police Department’s new Deputy Commissioner for Counter Terrorism.  Sheehan currently serves as an Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, where he is responsible for mission support of the UN’s worldwide peacekeeping operations.   A West Point graduate, a career officer in the United States Army Special Forces, and a former United States Ambassador-at-Large for Counter Terrorism, Sheehan will succeed General Frank Libutti, who was nominated by President Bush to serve as Under Secretary for Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection at the Department of Homeland Security.  The Mayor and Commissioner announced the appointment in the Blue Room at City Hall.

“Michael Sheehan has dedicated his life to protecting the United States and the world from terrorists and others who use violence and chaos to threaten the lives of others,” Mayor Bloomberg said.  “His vast and first-hand experience in many of the most important national security and international affairs of the last 25 years will prove very useful as our Administration continues to protect New Yorkers against potential terrorist threats.” 

“The era of fighting conventional crime alone has ended for the Police Department,” Commissioner Kelly said.  “No one understands that better than Mike Sheehan and no one is better qualified to lead the Department’s efforts to help defeat terrorist threats against New York.”

“I am looking forward to working with Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly and the rest of the Mayor's team,” Sheehan said.  “The City of New York has been at the forefront of homeland security, and I am eager to contribute further to the outstanding work that has already been accomplished. I am honored to serve with the men and women of the New York City Police Department in this critical endeavor.”

Michael Sheehan was born and raised in New Jersey and was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1973.  Graduating in 1977, Sheehan was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Infantry.  He completed training in Airborne, Ranger, Jungle Warfare, Jump Master, and Special Forces training within the first three years of his service.  In addition to his field training, he also completed two master’s degrees with distinction from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in 1988 and the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1992.

In 1979, Sheehan served as a Special Forces Detachment Commander for the assault team of a counter terrorism unit in Panama.  This unit’s primary responsibility was hostage rescue operations, but it also provided training for national counter terrorism units in Latin America.  During his assignment in Panama, Sheehan was deployed on various missions in the region, training and advising Latin American countries in counter terrorism and counter-insurgency operations.  He was also selected to represent the US Army in an international commando course (Lancero) in Colombia.  Sheehan speaks Spanish as a result of his extensive duty in Latin America. 

Following his service in Panama, from 1983 to 1985, Sheehan volunteered in Korea, where he served for over 30 months in command assignments, including as a mechanized rifle company commander on the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) with North Korea.  From the DMZ in Korea, Sheehan volunteered for a third consecutive international assignment.  He was sent directly to El Salvador, serving as a counter-insurgency advisor in one of the most active zones of the embattled country.  In El Salvador, Sheehan served as the lone American advisor in an isolated base for over seven months during his twelve-month tour.  Guerrilla forces overran the base three times in eight years, before and after, but not during Sheehan’s tenure.  Among other decorations, Sheehan was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge for his service in El Salvador in 1985 and 1986.   

During the second phase of his career in the Army, Sheehan had the distinction of serving at the White House for three different National Security Advisors and two Presidents.  From 1989 to 1991, he served on President George H.W. Bush’s National Security Council (NSC) as an intelligence analyst for international counter-narcotics policy, focusing on the Andean Cocaine Strategy.  From 1992 to1993, Sheehan served as an NSC advisor for peacekeeping operations.  While at the White House, Sheehan was assigned to the field, working as an advisor to Admiral Jonathan Howe in Somalia.  He served for over nine months in Somalia during some of the country’s most difficult periods in 1993 and 1994.  Following his service in Somalia, Sheehan served as a peacekeeping advisor to Madeline Albright at the US Mission to the UN.  He was also deployed to Haiti during the US and UN interventions in 1994-1995 during the same period that Commissioner Kelly directed the American-led monitoring of the Haitian police.  From 1995 to 1997, Sheehan again served on the NSC staff, working primarily on peacekeeping issues, particularly the US and UN police operations in the Balkans.

In 1997, Sheehan retired from the Army and was appointed a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of International Organizations, where he developed extensive experience in international policing issues.  In Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo, Sheehan worked extensively on issues regarding the vetting, training, and monitoring of newly formed police units in countries torn apart by civil war. 

In 1998, after American embassies were attacked in East Africa, Sheehan was selected as the Department of State’s Coordinator for Counter Terrorism.  The US Senate confirmed him in August of 1999 as Ambassador-at-Large and he remained in the post throughout the remainder of the Clinton Administration.  His office was responsible for developing, coordinating, and implementing US counter terrorism policy abroad.  Sheehan also served as the Department of State’s representative on the White House interagency Counter Terrorism Sub-Group, and had direct responsibility over the Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST), an interagency global response team with representatives from the Departments of State and Defense, CIA, FBI, and other agencies.  During his tenure as Ambassador-at-Large for Counter Terrorism, Sheehan was a strong advocate for public counter terrorism awareness and for strengthened counter terrorism policy and programs.  He dramatically expanded the size and scope of his office and extended new counter terrorism relationships with countries around the world, primarily focused on the Al Qaeda threat.

In January of 2001, Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Sheehan an Assistant Secretary-General in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.  His office manages support to 15 missions with over 35,000 military and police deployed around the world including Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, and Afghanistan.

During the announcement, Mayor Bloomberg also thanked General Frank Libutti for his service at the NYPD, saying, “I thank Deputy Commissioner Frank Libutti for his outstanding service in guiding the Police Department’s Counter Terrorism Bureau - his leadership was instrumental in establishing the NYPD as the nation’s pre-eminent police force in counter terrorism.”

The NYPD’s Counter Terrorism Bureau was created in January 2002 and is responsible for training in counter terrorism, preventing attacks, and responding to threats.  Approximately 1,000 New York City police officers are assigned to counter terrorism duties.  Sheehan, who resides in Manhattan with his wife and has two children, will assume the duties of Deputy Commissioner for Counter Terrorism on June 16th.


Edward Skyler / Jerry Russo   (212) 788-2958

Michael O’Looney   (NYPD)
(646) 610-6700

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