Wynne graduated with the United States Military Academy class of 1966 and served in the Air Force for seven years, ending his career as a captain and assistant professor of astronautics at the United States Air Force Academy.
In 1999 Mr. Wynne had retired as Senior Vice President from General Dynamics, where his role was in International Development and Strategy. He had rejoined the company at the invitation of the Chairman to strengthen international activities. In between working with General Dynamics, he spent three years with Lockheed Martin, having sold the General Dynamics' Space Systems Division to then Martin Marietta. He successfully integrated the division into the Astronautics Company and became the General Manager of the Space Launch Systems segment, combining the Titan with the Atlas Launch vehicles. Mr. Wynne spent a total of 23 years with General Dynamics in various senior positions with the Aircraft (F-16s) and Main Battle Tanks (M1A2) Divisions, and served on the corporate staff prior to becoming the President of Space Systems, including Launch Vehicles (Atlas and Centaur), and a Corporate Vice President.
Prior to joining the Bush Administration, Wynne was involved in venture capital. He nurtured small technology companies through their startup phase as a member of the NextGenFund Executive Committee, and served in executive positions of two of those companies.
In July 2001, Wynne was confirmed as Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, and in May 2003 he was appointed as acting Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
In this role, Wynne was the Principal Staff Assistant and adviser to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense for all matters relating to the Department of Defense Acquisition System, research and development, advanced technology, developmental test and evaluation, production, logistics, installation management, military construction, procurement, environmental security, and nuclear, chemical and biological matters.
As Secretary of the Air Force he was responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including the organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of its nearly 370,000 men and women on active duty, 180,000 members of the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve, 160,000 civilians, and their families.
The reliance on imported oil continues to threaten the economic, financial and physical security of the nation while the use of domestic fossil fuels contributes to nationwide pollution problems. The Air Force believes that development of renewable energy sources for facility energy is one important element of our comprehensive strategy.
The USAF is the nation's 3rd leading user of electricity from renewables.
Wynne advocated testing nonlethal weapons, such as high-power microwave devices, against American citizens before being used on the battlefield, saying "If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation.
On June 5, 2008, Robert Gates announced that he had accepted the resignation of Michael Wynne as Secretary of the Air Force because of "a decline in the Air Force's nuclear mission focus and performance" and "lack of a critical self-assessment culture". Gates specifically cited two incidents in which the Air Force had lost track of nuclear weapons or parts; in one incident, nuclear weapons fuses had been mistakenly sent to Taiwan when helicopter batteries had been ordered, and in the other, the 2007 United States Air Force nuclear weapons incident, a B-52 bomber had been flown across the country armed with six nuclear missiles that no one realized were on board.
Wynne has published numerous professional journal articles relating to engineering, cost estimating and contracting.