TAMPA, Fla. – Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel assumed command of U.S. Special Operations Command from Navy Adm. William H. McRaven at a ceremony officiated by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in the Tampa Convention Center today.
Votel is the tenth commander of USSOCOM and is now responsible for ensuring the readiness of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps Special Operations Forces.
Votel, a native of Saint Paul, Minn., started his military career when he graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1980. Since then, he has served in a variety of infantry and special operations assignments, to include commanding the 75th Ranger Regiment, serving as the Deputy Commanding General for Operations of the 82nd Airborne Division and most recently, commanding Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C. He is a veteran of Operations Just Cause, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. This will be the general’s second tour in Tampa, having served as the Chief of Staff at USSOCOM from July 2010 until June 2011.
Votel is married to the former Michele Belair of Saint Paul, Minn.
McRaven has commanded USSOCOM since Aug. 2011 and retired after 37 years of active duty today in a ceremony hosted by Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Admiral McRaven has been selected to be the next chancellor of the University of Texas System.
McRaven, who grew up in San Antonio, Texas, was commissioned an ensign in the Navy through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps after graduating from the University of Texas in 1977. He completed Basic Underwater Demolition School/SEAL training in 1978 and has commanded at every level in special operations. The admiral served in Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, amongst others. He also served as the Director for Strategic Planning on the National Security Council Staff.
McRaven is married to the former Georgeann Brady of Dallas, Texas.