Votel tabbed to lead Socom at MacDill, replacing McRaven


running up that hill
Jan 3, 2007
in Wonderland, with my Alice


Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, left, greets Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Votel on April 23 at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Votel was serving as commander of Joint Special Operations Command. Votel was selected to lead U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

U.S. Special Operations Command, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, will be getting a new commander.

Army Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Votel, commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, has been nominated by President Barack Obama to be promoted to general and replace Adm. William McRaven, who has served as Socom commander since Aug. 8. 2011.

If his nomination is approved by the Senate, he will become Socom’s 10th commander since its creation in 1987.

It would mark the second time Votel has followed in McRaven’s footsteps as well as a return to Tampa.

The former Socom chief of staff, Votel took over as head of JSOC after McRaven took over Socom.

Votel, a 1980 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, served in Panama and Sarajevo before being deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, according to his official biography.

After attending the Army War College, Votel commanded the 75th Ranger Regiment and participated in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to his biography.

As a general officer he served in the Pentagon as director of the Army and Joint IED Defeat Task Force and subsequently as the deputy director of the Joint IED Defeat Organization established under the Deputy Secretary of Defense. He served as the deputy commanding general (Operations) of the 82nd Airborne Division/Combined Joint Task Force-82 in Afghanistan and was later named deputy commanding general of JSOC before going to Tampa.

McRaven served from June 2008 to June 2011 as the 11th commander of JSOC, charged with “studying special operations requirements and techniques, ensure interoperability and equipment standardization, plan and conduct special operations exercises and training, and develop joint special operations tactics,” according to his official biography.

It was here that McRaven developed the plan that resulted in the May 2011 death of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden during a raid by Navy SEALs in Pakistan.

Before JSOC, McRaven served from June 2006 to March 2008 as commander of Special Operations Command Europe. In addition to his duties there, McRaven was named as the first director of the NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Center, where he was charged with enhancing the capabilities and interoperability of all NATO Special Operations Forces.

McRaven, according to his biography, has commanded at every level within the special operations community, including assignments as deputy commanding general for Operations at JSOC; commodore of Naval Special Warfare Group One; commander of SEAL Team Three; task group commander in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility; task unit commander during Desert Storm and Desert Shield; squadron commander at Naval Special Warfare Development Group; and, SEAL platoon commander at Underwater Demolition Team 21/SEAL Team Four.

McRaven’s diverse staff and interagency experience includes assignments as the director for Strategic Planning in the Office of Combating Terrorism on the National Security Council Staff; assessment director at Socom, on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations, and the chief of staff at Naval Special Warfare Group One.

McRaven’s professional education includes assignment to the Naval Postgraduate School, where he helped establish, and was the first graduate from, the Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict curriculum.

The nomination of Votel is the second recent high-profile Socom nomination.

This year, Obama nominated Vice Adm. Sean Pybus, head of NATO’s Special Operations headquarters in Brussels, as the Socom deputy commander, eventually replacing Army Lt. Gen. John F, Mulholland.

Mulholland has not made his future plans known, according to Socom spokesman Ken McGraw, who said Mulholland could either retire or get a new assignment.