Joseph Votel

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Joseph L. Votel III
LTG Joseph Votel official portrait.png
Lieutenant General Joseph Votel
Born (1958-02-14) February 14, 1958 (age 56)
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Department of the Army Seal.svg United States Army
Years of service 1980–present
Rank Army-USA-OF-09.svg General[1]
Commands held

Joseph L. Votel is a General in the United States Army and the former Special Operations Command Chief of Staff. In June 2011, Votel succeeded Admiral William McRaven as the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command and will replace him again as the newest commander of U.S. Special Operations Command in August 2014.[2][3][4][5][6][1]

Early career[edit]

Votel attended the United States Military Academy and was commissioned in 1980. He began his career as a Rifle Platoon Leader, later becoming the Executive Officer, A Company, later S-1 (Personnel), moving up to Commander, A Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division, United States Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany.[6]

Other assignments include: Small Groups Tactics Instructor, United States Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia; Plans/Liaison Officer, later S-3 (Plans), 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia; Operation Just Cause, Panama; Staff Officer, Contingency Initiatives Branch, Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff, Plans and Policy, Allied Forces Southern Europe, Naples, Italy; NATO Peace Implementation Force (IFOR), Sarajevo; commander 2nd Battalion, 22d Infantry (Light) at Fort Drum, New York; Commander, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia; and Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan; and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq.[6]

General Officer[edit]

As a general officer, he served as Deputy Director, Joint IED Defeat Organization, Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Washington, DC. He also served as Deputy Commanding General (Operations), 82d Airborne Division/Deputy Commanding General (Operations), Combined Joint Task Force 76, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan, and, most recently, Deputy Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.[6]


On June 24th, 2014, he was nominated by President Barack Obama to succeed ADM William McRaven as the 10th Commander of United States Special Operations Command. In July, he was promoted to General and confirmed by congress to be the next commander of USSOCOM. The change of command is scheduled for August 2014.[1]


His military schools include Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, United States Army Command and General Staff College, and the United States Army War College.[6]

Awards and decorations[edit]

Army Distinguished Service Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Superior Service Medal with 2 bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit with 2 bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze Star Medal with 3 bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal with 3 bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Joint Service Commendation Medal with bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Army Commendation Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Achievement Medal with bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Superior Unit Award
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal with bronze Service Star
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with Arrowhead Device
Bronze star
Southwest Asia Service Medal with bronze Service Star
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Arrowhead Device
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon with "2" Award Numeral Device
NATO Medal (for the former Yugoslavia)
CIB2.gif Combat Infantryman Badge with Star (denoting 2nd award)
Expert Infantry Badge.svg Expert Infantryman Badge
CMP 2.jpg Master Parachutist Badge with 2 Combat Jump Devices
RangerTab TIoH.gif Ranger Tab
United States Army Staff Identification Badge.png Army Staff Identification Badge
75 Ranger Regiment Shoulder Sleeve Insignia.svg 75th Ranger Regiment Combat Service Identification Badge
75 Ranger Regiment Distinctive Unit Insignia.svg 75th Ranger Regiment Distinctive Unit Insignia
No free image.png Egyptian Parachutist Badge
ArmyOSB.jpg 6 Overseas Service Bars


  1. ^ a b c Votel to succeed McRaven as SOCom commander at MacDill, Tampa Bay Times, By Zack Peterson, dated 24 July 2014, last accessed 25 July 2014
  2. ^ Stars and Stripes staff. "McRaven nominated to lead Special Ops". Stars and Stripes. 
  3. ^ Spencer Ackerman. "Pentagon’s Clandestine Killers Get New Chief". 
  4. ^ Howard Altman. "Special Operations Command Chief of Staff Votel Named to Head JSOC". 
  5. ^ Henry Cuningham. "Lt. Gen. Joseph Votel takes JSOC command from Vice Adm. William McRaven". 
  6. ^ a b c d e Official Biography: Lieutenant General Joseph L. Votel Commander, Joint Special Operations Command, U.S. Department of Defense, dated 2013, last accessed 15 June 2014
Military offices
Preceded by
Ken Keen
Commander, 75th Ranger Regiment
Succeeded by
James C. Nixon
Preceded by
William H. McRaven
Commander, Joint Special Operations Command
Succeeded by