Michael E. Ryan is a retired United States Air Force general Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. He served as the senior uniformed Air Force officer responsible for the organization, training and equipage of 700,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces serving in the United States and overseas. As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he and the other service chiefs functioned as military advisers to the Secretary of Defense, National Security Council and the president.
Ryan entered the U.S. Air Force after graduating from the United States Air Force Academy in 1965. He has commanded at the squadron, wing, numbered air force and major command levels. He flew combat in Southeast Asia, including 100 missions over North Vietnam. He also served in staff assignments at the major command level, Headquarters U.S. Air Force and the Joint Staff. As Commander of Sixteenth Air Force and Allied Air Forces Southern Europe in Italy, he directed the NATO air combat operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina which directly contributed to the Dayton Peace Accords.
Before assuming the Chief of Staff position, Ryan was Commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Commander, Allied Air Forces Central Europe, with headquarters at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Ryan retired from the U.S. Air Force on October 1, 2001.