George Lee Butler (1939-) is a retired general, United States Air Force, whose final assignment was commanding United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), the Unified Combatant Command with responsibility for strategic strike and nuclear war planning with the Single Integrated Operational Plan. He was a member of the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States. Since retirement in 2004, he has spoken and written on nuclear disarmament.
What I have come to believe is that much of what I took on faith was either wrong, enormously simplistic, extraordinarily fragile, or simply morally intolerable. What I have come to believe is that the amassing of nuclear capability to the level of such grotesque excess as we witnessed between the United States and the Soviet Union over the period of the 50 years of the Cold War, was as much a product of fear, and ignorance and greed, and ego and power, and turf and dollars, as it was about the seemingly elegant theories of deterrence.
In July 1984 the general was assigned to Headquarters Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, as inspector general. General Butler returned to Air Force headquarters in August 1986 as deputy director of operations and became director in January 1987. 
In May 1987 he became vice director for strategic plans and policy, J-5, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; in July 1989 he then became the director
In January 1991 he became the last commander in chief, Strategic Air Command, and director, Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff, responsible for the Single Integrated Operational Plan, with the rank of General. He became commander of USSTRATCOM in June 1992, when Strategic Air Command was disestablished and took command of USSTRATCOM in 1992.
In July 1971 General Butler was assigned as special assistant to the director, Office of Emergency Preparedness, Executive Office of the President, Washington, D.C. He again returned to the academy in January 1972, as an assistant professor in the political science department. After completing combat crew training in October 1972, he was assigned as chief pilot of the 53rd Military Airlift Squadron, 63rd Military Airlift Wing, Norton Air Force Base, Calif.
He entered the Armed Forces Staff College in July 1973 and, after graduating in February 1974, was assigned as air operations officer, International Relations Branch, Directorate of Plans, Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. Remaining at the Pentagon, he served from October 1974 to September 1975 as executive officer for the special assistant for strategic initiatives, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, Air Force headquarters.
Other Pentagon assignments in the following years included plans and programs officer, Strategy Development and Analysis, Directorate of Plans; executive director, Air Force Budget Issues Team; executive director, Airborne Warning and Control System task force; and chief, Congressional and Joint Matters Division, Directorate of Concepts.
After B-52 combat crew training in May 1977, General Butler was assigned to the 416th Bombardment Wing (Heavy), Griffiss Air Force Base, N.Y., first as assistant deputy commander for operations and, later, as the wing's deputy commander for operations. In June 1979 he returned to Air Force headquarters as chief of a policy analysis group serving the Air Force chief of staff.
From March 1981 to June 1983 General Butler was assigned as vice commander of the 320th Bombardment Wing (Heavy), Mather Air Force Base, Calif., and then as wing commander. He subsequently took command of the 96th Bombardment Wing, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, in June 1983.
He graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1961 and received undergraduate pilot training at Williams Air Force Base, Ariz., followed by basic instructor school at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. He then flew as an instructor pilot in T-33s and also served as an academic instructor at Craig Air Force Base, Ala., from March 1963 to December 1964.
He was selected for study in France as an Olmsted scholar. He received French language training at the State Department's Foreign Services Institute, Arlington, Va., prior to attending the University of Paris. Subsequently, he earned a master's degree in international affairs from the University of Paris in 1967. He completed Squadron Officer School in 1964, Air Command and Staff College in 1970, and Armed Forces Staff College in 1974.
After instructor duty, he became a F-4 Phantom II pilot from March 1968 to the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing, Cam Ranh Bay Air Base, South Vietnam to August 1968, and then became aide to the commander of Seventh Air Force until 1969. On his return to the U.S., he taught political science at the Air Force Academy.