|Chancellor of the University of Texas|
January 5, 2015 –May 31, 2018
|Preceded by||Francisco G. Cigarroa|
|Succeeded by||Larry Faulkner|
William Harry McRaven
November 6, 1955
Pinehurst, North Carolina, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Georgeann Brady McRaven|
|Awards|| Defense Distinguished Service Medal (3)|
Defense Superior Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star Medal (2)
|Branch/service||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1977–2014|
|Unit||Naval Special Warfare Development Group|
|Commands|| U.S. Special Operations Command |
Joint Special Operations Command
Special Operations Command Europe
Naval Special Warfare Group 1
SEAL Team 3
|Battles/wars|| Persian Gulf War |
• Operation Desert Shield
• Operation Desert Storm
Operation Enduring Freedom
• War in Afghanistan
Operation Neptune Spear
William Harry McRaven (born November 6, 1955) is a retired United States Navy four-star admiral who served as the ninth commander of the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) from August 8, 2011 to August 28, 2014. From 2015 to 2018, he was the chancellor of The University of Texas System.
McRaven previously served from June 13, 2008, to August 2011 as commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC)and from June 2006 to March 2008 as commander of Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR). In addition to his duties as COMSOCEUR, he was designated as the first director of the NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Centre (NSCC), where he was charged with enhancing the capabilities and inter-operability of all NATO Special Operations Forces. McRaven retired from the U.S. Navy on August 28, 2014, after more than 37 years of service.
McRaven was named as a possible choice to be nominated as U.S. Secretary of Defense by President-elect Joe Biden.However, Biden nominated retired general Lloyd Austin.
McRaven was born in Pinehurst, North Carolina. His father, a career Air Force officer, was stationed at Pope Air Force Base, now known as Pope Field, part of Fort Bragg. He has two older sisters. His family moved to Texas while he was in elementary school and settled in San Antonio. McRaven attended Theodore Roosevelt High School where he took part in track.He is the son of Anna Elizabeth (Long) and Col. Claude C. McRaven, a Spitfire fighter pilot in World War II who played briefly in the NFL.
McRaven attended the University of Texas at Austin where he was a walk-on member of the track team, and was a member of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps. He graduated in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in journalism,and was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 2012. McRaven holds a master's degree from the Naval Postgraduate School, where he helped establish and was the first graduate from the Special operations/Low intensity conflict curriculum.
After graduating from The University of Texas at Austin, McRaven was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy and volunteered for Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training (BUD/S). After six months of training, McRaven graduated BUD/S class 95 in January 1978. Following completion of a six-month probationary period, he received the 1130 designator as a Naval Special Warfare Officer, entitled to wear the Special Warfare insignia. As a Navy SEAL officer, McRaven was deployed to the Philippines.In 1982, as a junior officer, McRaven was assigned to SEAL Team Six under the command of CDR Richard Marcinko but was removed one year later due to McRaven's concerns about military discipline, and difficulties in keeping his sailors in line. Richard Marcinko fired the 27-year-old McRaven in 1983. "He was a bright guy, but he didn't like my rude and crude way," Marcinko said. "If I was a loose cannon, he was too rigid. He took the special out of special warfare." McRaven later returned to his position as a squadron commander at Naval Special Warfare Development Group after Marcinko was forced to give up his command of the unit later that same year.
McRaven served numerous staff and command assignments within the special operations community, including platoon commander at Underwater Demolition Team 21/SEAL Team Four, squadron commander at Naval Special Warfare Development Group, Executive Officer of SEAL Team ONE, task unit commander during the Persian Gulf War, task group commander in the CENTCOM area of responsibility, commanding officer of SEAL Team THREE, deputy commander for operations at JSOC, commanding officer of Naval Special Warfare Group ONE from 1999 to 2001. McRaven earned his Master of Arts degree at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, in 1993. McRaven's thesis was titled "The Theory of Special Operations" (republished in 1995 as Spec Ops: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare: Theory and Practice).
McRaven later served as a staff officer with an interagency coordination focus, including as the director for Strategic Planning in the Office of Combating Terrorism on the National Security Council Staff, assessment director at U.S. Special Operations Command, on the Staff of the Chief of Naval Operations and the chief of staff at Naval Special Warfare Group 1.
McRaven was the deputy to General Stanley A. McChrystal, and later leader, of a battle group targeting Al Qaeda in Iraq called 'Task Force 714' which proved to be innovative and highly successful.
On April 6, 2011, McRaven was nominated by President Barack Obama for promotion from the rank of vice admiral to admiral and appointed as the ninth commander of USSOCOM,of which JSOC is a component.
In his confirmation hearings, McRaven "endorsed a steady manpower growth rate of 3% to 5% a year" and favored more resources for USSOCOM. After the Armed Services committee hearings, in late June, McRaven was confirmed unanimously by the Senate for his promotion to full Admiral and assignment as commander of USSOCOMand took command August 8. The transfer ceremony was led by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in Tampa, with ADM Eric T. Olson also in attendance, two days after the Wardak Province helicopter crash which cost 30 Americans, including 22 SEALs, their lives. With several hundred in attendance, Panetta spoke of sending "a strong message of American resolve [and] ... carry[ing] on the fight".
McRaven is credited for organizing and overseeing the execution of Operation Neptune Spear,the special ops raid that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011. CIA Director Leon Panetta delegated operational & execution decisions on the raid to McRaven, who had worked almost exclusively on counter-terrorism operations and strategy since 2001.
According to The New York Times, "In February, Mr. Panetta called then-Vice Adm. William H. McRaven, commander of the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command, to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, to give him details about the compound and to begin planning a military strike. Admiral McRaven, a veteran of the covert world who had written a book on American Special Operations, spent weeks working with the CIA on the operation, and came up with three options: a helicopter assault using U.S. Navy SEALs, a strike with B-2 bombers that would obliterate the compound, or a joint raid with Pakistani intelligence operatives who would be told about the mission hours before the launch."The day before the assault, President Obama "took a break from rehearsing for the White House Correspondents Dinner that night to call Admiral McRaven, to wish him luck".
A June 2013 Freedom of Information request revealed that on May 13, 2011, McRaven sent email titled "OPSEC Guidance / Neptune Spear" that instructed redacted recipients that "all photos [of UBL's remains] should have been turned over to the CIA; if you still have them destroy them immediately" or "get them to" a recipient whose identity was redacted.
In December 2011, McRaven was runner-up for Time Person of the Year for his role in the operation.
In June 2014, it was announced that Admiral McRaven had his request for retirement approved after a 37-year career.Admiral McRaven retired from the U.S. Navy on September 1, 2014. During the last few years of his career he was also Bull Frog, the longest serving Navy SEAL still on duty, having succeeded his SOCOM predecessor Eric T. Olson in the title.
Admiral McRaven was selected as the next chancellor of the University of Texas System in July 2014. He was appointed on January 5, 2015.
The Trump campaign transition team considered McRaven as a potential candidate for National Security Adviser.
On May 31, 2018, McRaven stepped down from his position as chancellor of the university,due to chronic health issues and a desire to spend more time with his family.
"Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency."
In August 2018, McRaven expressed support for former CIA Director John O. Brennan, whose security clearance had recently been revoked by the Trump Administration. He authored an open letter to President Donald Trump in The Washington Post entitled "Revoke my security clearance, too, Mr. President", in which he affirmed his regard for Brennan, his former colleague, and offered criticism of the decisions and personal behavior of President Trump.McRaven said of Brennan, "He is a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty and character have never been in question ... except by those who don't know him." Of Trump, McRaven wrote, "Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation."
In a November 18, 2018, interview on Fox News, Chris Wallace mentioned McRaven's name. Trump called McRaven a "Hillary Clinton fan" and accused McRaven of being a fan of former President Barack Obama. McRaven later told CNN, "I did not back Hillary Clinton or anyone else. I am a fan of President Obama and President George W. Bush, both of whom I worked for. I admire all presidents, regardless of their political party, who uphold the dignity of the office and who use that office to bring the nation together in challenging times."One media source noted that Trump's ire seemed to be rooted in "McRaven’s criticism that the president’s rhetoric toward the press is the 'greatest threat to democracy' in his lifetime".
On October 17, 2019, McRaven published an op-ed in The New York Times with the headline "Our Republic Is Under Attack From the President", arguing that if Trump did not demonstrate leadership, he was to be replaced. He elaborated his position in a CNN interview the same day, saying that Trump was undermining domestic institutions and damaging America's international standing, especially with respect to the treatment of the Kurds during the 2019 Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria.
Upon the February 2020 dismissal by the president of Joseph Maguire for having briefed congressional intelligence committee members about emerging evidence of foreign efforts to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, McRaven authored a guest editorial in The Washington Post in which he declared that, "As Americans, we should be frightened — deeply afraid for the future of the nation. When good men and women can’t speak the truth, when facts are inconvenient, when integrity and character no longer matter, when presidential ego and self-preservation are more important than national security — then there is nothing left to stop the triumph of evil."
McRaven is the son of a career Air Force officer.McRaven married Georgeann Brady McRaven, then a fellow undergraduate at the University of Texas, in 1978. They have three children. McRaven attended the 2012 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner as the guest of his fifth grade classmate, Karen Tumulty.
|Naval Special Warfare insignia|
| Defense Distinguished Service Medal |
w/ two bronze oak leaf clusters
|Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster|
|Legion of Merit with one gold award star||Bronze Star Medal with gold award star||Defense Meritorious Service Medal|
|Meritorious Service Medal with three gold award stars||Joint Service Commendation Medal||Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal|
|Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal||Combat Action Ribbon||Navy Unit Commendation with two bronze service stars|
|National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Medal||Navy "E" Ribbon||National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star|
|Southwest Asia Service Medal with three bronze service stars||Afghanistan Campaign Medal||Iraq Campaign Medal|
|Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal||Global War on Terrorism Service Medal||Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon|
|Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon||Legion of Honor||Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)|
|Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)||Navy Expert Rifleman Medal||Navy Expert Pistol Shot Medal|
|Navy and Marine Corps Parachutist Insignia|
|Presidential Service Badge|| United States Special Operations |
The United States Navy Sea, Air, and Land (SEAL) Teams, commonly known as Navy SEALs, are the U.S. Navy's primary special operations force and a component of the Naval Special Warfare Command. Among the SEALs' main functions are conducting small-unit special operation missions in maritime, jungle, urban, arctic, mountainous, and desert environments. SEALs are typically ordered to capture or to eliminate high level targets, or to gather intelligence behind enemy lines.
The Naval War College is the staff college and "Home of Thought" for the United States Navy at Naval Station Newport in Newport, Rhode Island. The NWC educates and develops leaders, supports defining the future Navy and associated roles and missions, supports combat readiness, and strengthens global maritime partnerships.
Joseph Maguire is an American officer who served as Director of the National Counterterrorism Center and Acting Director of National Intelligence under President Donald Trump. He retired from the United States Navy as a Vice Admiral in 2010 after 36 years of military service. Prior to retiring from active duty, he was the Deputy Director for Strategic Operational Planning at National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).
Osama bin Laden, the founder and first leader of the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda, was killed in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, shortly after 1:00 a.m. PKT by United States Navy SEALs of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group. The operation, code-named Operation Neptune Spear, was carried out in a CIA-led operation with Joint Special Operations Command, commonly known as JSOC, coordinating the Special Mission Units involved in the raid. In addition to SEAL Team Six, participating units under JSOC included the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne)—also known as "Night Stalkers"—and operators from the CIA's Special Activities Division, which recruits heavily from former JSOC Special Mission Units. The operation ended a nearly 10-year search for bin Laden, following his role in the September 11 attacks on the United States.
Joseph Devereux Kernan is a retired United States Navy vice admiral and the former under secretary of defense for intelligence. United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), Miami, Florida from May 23, 2011 to September 2013. He was the second-in-command of one of nine unified commands under the Department of Defense.
Eric Thor Olson is a retired United States Navy admiral who last served as the eighth Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) from July 2, 2007 to August 8, 2011. He previously served as Deputy Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command from 2003 to July 2007. Olson was the first Navy SEAL ever to be appointed to three-star and four-star flag rank, as well as the first naval officer to be USSOCOM's combatant commander. He took command from Army General Bryan D. Brown in 2007. Brown and Olson had served together at the SOCOM headquarters in Tampa for four years. He retired from active duty on August 22, 2011 after over 38 years of service. He relinquished command of SOCOM to Admiral William H. McRaven the same day.
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Philip Gardner Howe III is a United States Navy vice admiral and Navy SEAL. His assignment prior to retirement in 2019 was associate director for military affairs at the Central Intelligence Agency. He previously served as the 55th President of the Naval War College, and was the first SEAL officer to hold this assignment. Prior to that, Howe was the Commander, Special Operations Command Pacific.
Robert J. O'Neill is a Fox News contributor and former United States Navy SEAL (1996–2012). After participating in May 2011's Operation Neptune Spear with SEAL Team Six, O'Neill was the subject of controversy for claiming to be the sole individual to kill Osama bin Laden.
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Collin Patrick Green is a rear admiral in the United States Navy and former commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command, who currently serves as Chief of Staff of the United States Special Operations Command. He graduated and was commissioned from the United States Naval Academy in 1986. Green also holds degrees from the Catholic University of America and United States Naval War College. He is a naval special warfare officer and previously served as commander of United States Special Operations Command South from 2016 to June 2018.
Keith Bently Davids is an American United States Navy special warfare officer with the rank of Rear Admiral. He has been the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command South, United States Southern Command, since 2020. Previously, he served as director of the White House Military Office during the Presidency of Donald Trump. Earlier in his career, he was commanding officer of the Naval Special Warfare Center and SEAL Team One.
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This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Navy document: "Admiral William H. McRaven".
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Admiral William McRaven discuss the ongoing wars in Syria and Iraq.
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