Mike Basla was born on July 12, 1952, in Syracuse, New York. After graduating from the University of New York with a bachelor of science degree in mathematics, he entered Officer Training School in December 1978, and was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Air Force at Lackland AFB, Texas, on March 20, 1979. Lt Basla next attended the Basic Communications-Electronics Course and Communications Computer Programming Course at Keesler AFB, Mississippi, from March 1979 to March 1980, followed by service as an Automatic Digital Network (AUTODIN) systems analyst and later as Chief of the AUTODIN Switching Center with the 2049th Communications Group at McClellan AFB, California, from March 1980 to November 1982. Capt Basla's next assignment was as Commander of Detachment 2 of the 2186th Communications Squadron at Menorca Radio Relay Location, Spain, from November 1982 to February 1984, followed by the Telecommunications Staff Officer Course at Keesler AFB from May 1984 to March 1985. He received an Air Force Institute of Technology assignment to the University of Southern Mississippi from March to August 1985, and then served as a command and control systems integrator and later as aide-de-camp to the Commander of Air Force Communications Command at Scott AFB, Illinois, from August 1985 to June 1988. Maj Basla served as Commander of the 2143rd Communications Squadron and Deputy Commander for Communications-Computer Systems with the 26th Training Wing at Zweibrucken AB, Germany, from July 1988 to July 1991, and then attended Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island, from August 1991 to June 1992. Col Basla next served as an action officer with the Directorate of C4 Systems on the Joint Staff in the Pentagon from July 1992 to June 1995. He attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington, D.C., from June 1995 to June 1996, and then served on the staff at Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Pentagon from July 1996 to July 1998. His next assignment was as Commander of the 96th Communications Group at Eglin AFB, Florida, from July 1998 to April 2000, followed by service as Director of C4 Systems with Joint Task Force Southwest Asia in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from April 2000 to May 2001. He next served another tour at Headquarters U.S. Air Force from June 2001 to April 2002, and then served as Director of Communications and Information with Headquarters Air Mobility Command at Scott AFB, Illinois, from May 2002 to June 2004. Gen Basla's next assignment was as Deputy Director for the Operational Support Modernization Program with the Deputy Chief of Staff for Warfighting Integration at Headquarters U.S. Air Force from June 2004 to December 2005. From December 2005 to June 2007, he served as Director of Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems with U.S. Transportation Command at Scott AFB, and then served as Vice Commander of Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon from June 2007 to August 2009. Gen Basla served as Vice Commander of Air Force Space Command at Peterson AFB, Colorado, from August 2009 to May 2012, and then as Chief, Information Dominance and Chief Information Officer in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force in the Pentagon from June 2012 until his retirement from the Air Force on November 1, 2014.
His Air Force Distinguished Service Medal Citation reads:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, awards the Distinguished Service Medal to Lieutenant General Michael J. Basla for exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility. General Basla distinguished himself as the Vice Commander, Headquarters Air Force Space Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, from 31 August 2009 to 18 May 2012. His visionary leadership was instrumental in organizing, training and equipping the Air Force for cross domain space and cyberspace operations. He pioneered the delivery of unprecedented space and cyberspace capabilities for Joint operations, while setting the trajectory for the Air Force's space and cyberspace mission areas. He led the Command's cyberspace operationalization and normalization efforts, resulting in unparalleled milestone achievements. General Basla's foresight and advocacy were the accelerants for the success of the newest Numbered Air Force and warfigting Cyberspace Operations Center-24th Air FOrce and 624th Operations Center. These forces were the first of the Armed Services' cyber components to be declared Fully Operationally Capable; the first to be presented to the Commander, United States Strategic Command and the first to be delegated operational control of ongoing cyberspace missions. As a forward-thinking operator, General Basla's leadership was essential in making synchronized, full spectrum cyberspace capabilities available to Joint Force Commanders. Further, he led efforts directly affecting the development of Cyber Safari, shaping Department of Defense acquisition practices. Under his direction, Air Force Space Command increased the resiliency and effectiveness of our space capabilities for Joint operations and the Nation through missile warning; positioning, navigation and timing; space situational awareness; satellite communications and space launch. General Basla's leadership and operational focus in this period of monumental change imparted a lasting impact on the Command, the Air Force and our Nation. The singularly distinctive accomplishments of General Basla reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.