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National Executive Search
The University of Texas System
Admiral William H. McRaven
Presented by Mike “JR” Wheless
President of Texas Operations
Admiral William H. McRaven
Commander, United States Special Operations Command
United States Navy
Adm. McRaven is the ninth commander of
United States Special Operations Command
(USSOCOM), headquartered at MacDill Air
Force Base, Fla. USSOCOM ensures the
readiness of joint special operations forces
and, as directed, conducts operations
McRaven served from June 2008 to June
2011 as the 11th commander of Joint Special
Operations Command (JSOC) headquartered
at Fort Bragg, N.C. JSOC is charged to study
special operations requirements and
techniques, ensure interoperability and
equipment standardization, plan and conduct
special operations exercises and training, and
develop joint special operations tactics.
McRaven served from June 2006 to March 2008 as commander, Special Operations
Command Europe (SOCEUR). In addition to his duties as commander, SOCEUR, he
was designated as the first director of the NATO Special Operations Forces
Coordination Centre where he was charged with enhancing the capabilities and
interoperability of all NATO Special Operations Forces.
McRaven 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 USSOCOM, 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 I ntensity Conflict curriculum.
Admiral William H. McRaven
Current Title: Commander, United States Special Operations Command
Organization: United States Navy
1. PROJECTED FIT INTO THE ROLE OF CHANCELLOR:
In narrative form, please discuss what you feel has prepared you professionally
for the role as Chancellor of The University of Texas System. What do you feel
are your major selling points and for what reasons should the selection
committee consider you for this position?
As a senior Naval Officer for the past ten years I have been in command
of numerous military organizations. Each of these organizations required
me to develop a vision, communicate the vision to both my subordinates
and my superiors, identify the resources necessary, work with outside
stakeholders to gain their support and then develop a detailed plan to
implement the vision. In my current assignment I outlined a vision for the
future of special operations. To gain support I was required to brief
Cabinet level officials, members of Congress, civic leaders and the White
House. From my understanding of the role of the Chancellor all of these
past experiences will serve me well if given the opportunity to help the UT
a) Characterize the condition, state, internal and external perceptions, etc. of
your current and/or previous organization or agency when you began to serve
in your current role and then contrast this with how, specifically, the
organization has been transformed and advanced as a result of your presence,
skills, abilities, activities, and overall leadership.
Candidate Executive Summary Questionnaire
b) In today’s increasingly complicated higher education environment the U. T.
System Chancellor must constructively engage and instill confidence in the
Board of Regents, the U. T. Presidents, faculty, staff, students, alumni, the
community at large, government leaders, and many other stakeholders. These
groups are important to a common vision and plan for enhancing excellence in
higher education. How have you worked with and through others (including a
wide variety of key stakeholders) to transform your current and/or previous
organizations? Please provide examples and outcomes.
c) What leadership traits and philosophies have you developed through your
experiences that you feel would benefit The University of Texas System and
support your effectiveness as Chancellor?
Since my time at the University of Texas I have been in continuous
leadership positions. Throughout my 37 years in the military I have
commanded special operations forces at every level. I understand how
leadership must be exercised both at the tactical level and at the strategic
level. Contrary to popular belief, the soldiers in the military are not
robots. Leadership takes constant engagement and interaction. You
must motivate your men and women. They must want to follow you, not
feel obliged to follow you. At the strategic level, a leader must
understand that the larger an organization, the more communications and
interaction is required. However, at the strategic level there are also
outside pressures from Congress, the media, the administration, retired
military and civic leaders—all who have a vested interest in how my
organizations are run. My responsibility is to keep all of them informed
and engaged, but keep the organization moving forward toward the
vision. Today I command a force of 67k men and women. Many are in
combat. For the past 13 years I have led soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Nothing is more humbling nor more inspiring than to be around today’s
young men and women. I believe all of these traits will serve me well as I
interact with the students, faculty, Texas legislature, Regents, and the
3. RELATIONSHIP BUILDING:
The ability to serve as an effective “ambassador” on behalf of an organization
and its constituencies is a key skill set. How specifically have you created,
nurtured, expanded, and advanced positive relationships and the mission of
your organization or institution locally, regionally, statewide, nationally, and
For the past eight years I have been in command of joint and international
special operations forces. In 2006, I was fortunate to be asked to
establish the NATO Special Operations Headquarters. This initiative
required me to meet with 22 different nations, many heads of state,
Ministers of Defense and Chiefs of Defense. In my next job as the
Commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, I traveled the
world meeting with Kings, Presidents, Prime Ministers, dictators, and
terrorists. Each engagement required a different level of relationship
building. In my current job, I frequently meet with the President,
members of the Cabinet, Chairman of the Armed Forces Committees,
Governors, foreign leaders, and the media. Every situation is different,
but my experience has allowed me to navigate these various relationships
4. POLITICAL SAAVY:
The U. T. System Chancellor’s ability to work with the Texas Legislature and
federal policy makers, and The University of Texas System’s synergy with
these bodies are important to success in the role. Describe your experiences
and successes in interacting with elected officials. Please provide examples
and outcomes that will show your ability to constructively engage leaders within
As the Commander of US Special Operations Command I have a statutory
requirement to testify before both the House and Senate Armed Services
Committees. I do this several times a year as well as meet with members
during Congressional delegation visits. Most of those testimonies are
available on CSPAN. I have a very good relationship with the Hill in spite
of the budget drawdown in the military.
a) The U. T. System deeply and meaningfully impacts hundreds of thousands
of lives and greatly influences education in the State of Texas and beyond.
What is your overall view of public higher education and your vision for public
higher education in a growing state?
What is your philosophy concerning public higher education?
b) Executive leadership today requires the ability to identify significant
challenges and opportunities that may determine whether an organization
thrives or simply survives. Within this context, please provide several examples
of insights you have gleaned and subsequently translated into strategies that
resulted in your institution, agency, or enterprise being well positioned to be
The role of the UT system should be to ensure all qualified students in the
state of Texas receive a world class education. Having received a degree
in journalism, I value a liberal education while understanding completely
the need for a highly technical and business oriented work force. The
balance of these two disciplines and understanding how they interact to
create a graduate that can excel in today’s global market place is the key
to higher education. At the US Special Operations Command I have made
education and the health of my force my two top, non-combat, priorities.
Consequently, we drafted and implemented a plan to increase the non-
commissioned officer education, master’s degrees for officers and more
doctorates for mid-grade officers. This was not a simple initiative. The
four services, the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps are charged
with educating their service members. My initiative had to be coordinated
with service academic institutions, the office of the Secretary (OSD),
Capitol Hill and a host of others. I directed my staff to ensure special
operations had the “most educated force in the department of defense in
the next ten years.” We are already ahead of that timeline. Additionally, I
have been working with congress, OSD and many other organizations to
develop a comprehensive program to improve the physical, mental, and
spiritual health of my force and their families. This initiative, called the
Preservation of the Force and Families (POTFF) has been the most
important undertaking during my time in command. I have said
repeatedly, that if my soldiers and their families do not have the strength
and the resiliency to keep going, then no amount of high-tech equipment
or training is going to keep us as a world class special operations force.
6. WHAT OTHERS WOULD SAY:
From your perspective, what would the following key individuals or groups
relate about you if asked?
a. The person to whom you report. President Obama and
Secretary Hagel would hopefully give me high marks for my
leadership, vision, and care for my troops.
b. Colleagues: I believe that it is better to serve than be
served. My colleagues would hopefully tell you that I go out
of my way to help them and thereby making all of us better.
c. Local, regional, state, national and international leaders: I
believe you would get the same sentiment from the Nation
and international leaders with whom I work.
d. Those reporting to you: I believe they would say that I am a
compassionate leader who cares about the men and women
under his command, but at the same time, recognizes the
importance of getting the mission done and done correctly.
e. The Board of your enterprise: N/A
f. Those in your social community: I like a good joke, a good
steak, a good drink and anything on ESPN.
7. INTEREST IN THE POSITION OF CHANCELLOR:
Please share with us the reasons you are interested in serving as the
Chancellor of The University of Texas System.
I was only recently approached about the position, but knowing that, if
selected, I would have an opportunity to shape the future of the academic
institutions as well as the medical and research facilities in Texas--is
intriguing. The idea of giving back to the State of Texas and ensuring that
people of the State get the education and health care they deserve is an
important element in my interest in the position.
8. PLEASE RESPOND AND PROVIDE SPECIFIC DETAILS, AS
APPROPRIATE, TO THE FOLLOWING:
a. Have you ever been discharged from a job? If yes, provide very specific
b. Have you ever been offered to resign vs. being discharged from a job? If
yes, provide very specific details.
c. Have you ever been asked to transfer from one job to another? If yes,
provide very specific details.
d. Describe, if applicable, any ethics complaints, professional complaints, or
inquiries, or anything of a professional or personal nature that might cause
concern with your candidacy and/or serving as Chancellor of The University of
I have never resigned from any position nor had any ethical,
professional, or personal complaints lodged against me.
9. RELOCATON TO AUSTIN, TX
The University of Texas System Chancellor is required to reside in Austin in an
official residence. Should an offer be forthcoming, are there any concerns that
may need to be addressed to facilitate relocation at this time?
I have no concerns about relocating to Austin.
For further information on my military background, Congressional
testimonies, vision for special operations or ability to communicate,
please check CSPAN, the USSOCOM websites or recent YOUTUBE