William Harry McRaven (born November 6, 1955) is a retired United States Navy admiral who last served as the ninth commander of the United States Special Operations Command 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.
|Birth name||William Harry McRaven|
|Born||November 6, 1955|
Pinehurst, North Carolina, U.S.
|Service/||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1977–2014|
|Commands held||U.S. Special Operations Command|
Joint Special Operations Command
Special Operations Command Europe
Naval Special Warfare Group 1
SEAL Team 3
SEAL Team 6
|Battles/wars||Persian Gulf War|
• Operation Desert Shield
• Operation Desert Storm
Operation Enduring Freedom
• War in Afghanistan
Operation Neptune Spear
|Awards|| Defense Distinguished Service Medal (3)|
Defense Superior Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star Medal (2)
|Spouse(s)||Georgeann Brady McRaven|
McRaven was born on November 6, 1955, 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. He attended Theodore Roosevelt High School where he took part in track. He is the son of Anna Elizabeth (Long) and Col. Claude C. "Mac" McRaven, a Spitfire fighter pilot in World War II who played briefly in the NFL. McRaven attended the University of Texas at Austin on a track scholarship, and was a member of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps. He graduated in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. Additionally, 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) graduating with Class 95 in 1978. 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 pushed out in 1983 due to McRaven's concerns about a culture of recklessness, military discipline, and difficulties in keeping his sailors in line. Richard Marcinko fired the 27-year-old McRaven after a year. "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." (Time magazine 12/04/2011)  McRaven later returned as a squadron commander at Naval Special Warfare Development Group, and has commanded at every level within the special operations community, including assignments as platoon commander at Underwater Demolition Team 21/SEAL Team Four, Executive Officer of SEAL Team One, task unit commander during the Persian Gulf War, task group commander in the CENTCOM area of responsibility, deputy commander for operations at JSOC, Commodore of Naval Special Warfare Group 1 from 1999 to 2001 and commanding officer of SEAL Team Three at Coronado, CA.
McRaven earned his master's 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 has also 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.
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, including "additional drones and the construction of new special operations facilities". After the Armed Services committee hearings, in late June, McRaven was confirmed unanimously by the Senate for his promotion to full Admiral and as commander of USSOCOM and 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 death of Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011. CIA Director Leon Panetta delegated 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 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 1 September 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 the lone finalist for the chancellor of the University of Texas System on July 29, 2014. McRaven began this role in January 2015. On December 15, 2017, McRaven announced that he is stepping down from the role of Chancellor in 2018.
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 retorted twice, "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".
McRaven is the son of a career Air Force officer. McRaven is married to Georgeann Brady McRaven. 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|
|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 Command Badge|
| Commander of Joint Special Operations Command
| Commander of United States Special Operations Command|
Francisco G. Cigarroa
| Chancellor of the University of Texas System
The Defense Distinguished Service Medal is a United States military award which is presented for exceptionally distinguished performance of duty contributing to the national security or defense of the United States. The medal was created on July 9, 1970, by President Richard Nixon in Executive Order 11545.Defense Innovation Advisory Board
The Defense Innovation Board is an organization set up in 2016 to bring the technological innovation and best practice of Silicon Valley to the U.S. Military. The board will have up to a dozen members selected by the chair (Eric Schmidt) in consultation with the US Secretary of Defense.Ash Carter, US Secretary of Defense, announced that the board, modeled on the Defense Business Board would facilitate the Pentagon becoming more innovative and adaptive.Joshua Marcuse is the inaugural and current Executive Director of the Defense Innovation Board.
The board traveled throughout the world during 2016 seeking innovative ideas from the servicemen involved in military operations to improve processes in use in all theaters of operation.Eric T. Olson
Eric Thor Olson (born January 24, 1952) 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.Harry Ransom
Harry Huntt Ransom (November 22, 1908 – April 19, 1976) was a faculty member and administrator at the University of Texas, becoming the university's president in 1960, and ultimately served as the Chancellor of the University of Texas System from 1961 to 1971.Hærens Jegerkommando
Forsvarets Spesialkommando is a special forces unit of the Norwegian military. It is the armed forces competence centre for commando, airborne and counter terrorist duty in the Norwegian Army. Its headquarters are located 30 kilometres north of Elverum in the southeast of Norway, at Rena leir military base.Jerome Starkey
Jerome Starkey (born 1981, London) is a British war correspondent and investigative journalist. He has been a vocal critic of military efforts to censor coverage of the War in Afghanistan and claimed he was blacklisted by the military.His work on civilian casualties in The Times was decried by Nato's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) but praised by other journalists and activists.His exposé of a Special Forces night raid, in eastern Afghanistan led the commander of the United States' Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), Vice Admiral William H. McRaven, to visit the victims' family and apologize. McRaven offered to sacrifice a sheep at their door in an enactment of the ancient Pashtun ritual of Nanawatai. Jerome also worked on a successful campaign by The Independent newspaper to free student journalist Sayed Pervez Kambaksh after he was sentenced to death for blasphemy.
In 2010, Jerome was nearly killed during an embed with British troops in Helmand Province when an Improvised explosive device (IED) exploded fewer than 10 metres in front of him. The explosion killed Corporal David Barnsdale and injured two others.
He won the Frontline Club award for excellence in 2010, and the Kurt Schork memorial prize in 2011.Joseph Votel
Joseph Leonard Votel (born February 14, 1958) is a four-star general in the United States Army who has been commander of United States Central Command since March 2016. Before that, he served as commander of the United States Special Operations Command.Karen Tumulty
Karen Tumulty (born December 1, 1955) is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post. Before joining the Post, Tumulty wrote for Time from October 1994 to April 2010. She was a Congressional correspondent, as well as the National Political Correspondent based in Washington D.C. for the magazine.Larry Faulkner
Dr. Larry Ray Faulkner (born November 26, 1944) is an American academic and businessman. He served as the twenty-seventh president of The University of Texas at Austin from 1998 to 2006, and as the president of the Houston Endowment Inc. from 2006 to 2012.Mark A. Clark (general)
Major General Mark A. "Droopy" Clark was the fourth commander of Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC). He retired from the Marine Corps in 2014 upon relinquishing command of MARSOC.McRaven
McRaven is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:
William H. McRaven (born 1955), United States Navy four-star admiral (retired), former Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command.
Dale McRaven (born 1939), American screenwriter and producer, creator of sitcoms Angie (TV series) and Perfect Strangers (U.S. TV series)Larinda Lea Gifford McRaven (born 1971), North American Professional Smooth Ballroom Champion and World Smooth Ballroom Finalist.National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Medal
The National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Medal is the highest award that can be granted to noncareer Federal employees, private citizens or others who have performed distinguished service of exceptional significance for the United States Intelligence Community. The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) established the award on October 1, 2008 to acknowledge individuals who rendered extraordinary service at considerable personal sacrifice and who were motivated by patriotism, good citizenship or a sense of public responsibility.Raymond A. Thomas
General Raymond Anthony Thomas III, also known as Tony Thomas, (born October 6, 1958) is a senior officer in the United States Army and commander of United States Special Operations Command.
He has participated in numerous combat operations, such as Operation Urgent Fury 1983, Operation Just Cause in 1989, Gulf War in 1991, and since 2001 the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Every year between 2001 and 2013 (minus his time in Iraq with the 1st Armored Division in 2007) Thomas deployed to Afghanistan as part of various special operations units.Special Operations Command Europe
Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR, pronounced “Sock-Yer”) is a subordinate unified command of United States European Command (EUCOM, pronounced You-Comm).Special forces
Special forces and special operations forces (SOF) are military units trained to conduct special operations. NATO has defined special operations as "military activities conducted by specially designated, organized, trained, and equipped forces, manned with selected personnel, using unconventional tactics, techniques, and modes of employment".Special forces emerged in the early 20th century, with a significant growth in the field during the Second World War, when "every major army involved in the fighting" created formations devoted to special operations behind enemy lines. Depending on the country, special forces may perform functions including airborne operations, counter-insurgency, counter-terrorism, foreign internal defense, covert ops, direct action, hostage rescue, high-value targets/manhunting, intelligence operations, mobility operations, and unconventional warfare.
In Russian-speaking countries special forces of any country are typically called spetsnaz, an acronym for "special purpose". In the United States the term special forces often refers specifically to the US Army's Special Forces, while the term special operations forces (SOF) is used more broadly for these types of unit.Special operations
Special operations (S.O.) are military, law enforcement or intelligence operations that are "special" or unconventional and carried out by dedicated special forces and other special operations forces units using unconventional methods and resources. Special operations may be performed independently, or in conjunction with conventional military operations. The primary goal is to achieve a political or military objective where a conventional force requirement does not exist or might adversely affect the overall strategic outcome. Special operations are usually conducted in a low-profile manner that aims to achieve the advantages of speed, surprise, and violence of action against an unsuspecting target. Special ops are typically carried out with limited numbers of highly trained personnel that are adaptable, self-reliant and able to operate in all environments, and able to use unconventional combat skills and equipment. Special operations are usually implemented through specific, tailored intelligence.Stuart Diamond
Stuart Diamond is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, professor, attorney, entrepreneur, and author who has taught negotiation for more than 20 years at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business. Diamond's widely acclaimed book on negotiation, Getting More, was a 2011 New York Times best-seller and has been used by Google to train 12,000 employees worldwide. The book has sold 1.5 million copies and has been translated into 26 languages.
Diamond's Getting More negotiation model has been adopted by U.S. Special Operations for the training of U.S. Special Forces, Green Berets, Navy SEALs, U.S. Marines and other units. Admiral William H. McRaven, Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), named Getting More to his recommended reading list for military science for 2014.Diamond's course has been the most sought-after at Wharton for the twenty years ending in 2016, according to the school's course auction records, and he is now an emeritus professor. He currently teaches the course at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Engineering Schools, online at www.gettingmore.com or by arrangement with Getting More, Inc.Theodore Roosevelt High School (San Antonio)
Theodore Roosevelt High School is a public high school in San Antonio, Texas (United States). The school is part of the North East Independent School District, which serves portions of San Antonio and the City of Windcrest. It first opened for classes in 1966, funded by a 1960 school district bond that also established Churchill High School and the Blossom Athletic Center.Roosevelt is host to two magnet programs:
Design and Technology Academy
Engineering & Technologies AcademyRoosevelt was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 1999-2000.William H. Cunningham
William H. Cunningham is an American academic administrator and businessman. He served as the 24th president of the University of Texas at Austin from 1985 to 1992. He holds the James L. Bayless Chair for Free Enterprise at UT Austin's McCombs School of Business, and he is a director of Southwest Airlines.
Chancellors of the University of Texas System
# denotes interim president · † denotes served as interim before assuming permanent position