Army Gen. Joseph Votel assumed command of US Special Operations Command from Adm. William McRaven during an Aug. 28 ceremony in MacDill AFB, Fla. McRaven, who led the command since August 2011, is retiring from service after 37 years. He has been named the next chancellor of the University of Texas. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who presided over the ceremony, said that McRaven’s legacy is “already secured.” He added, “Under his leadership, the Joint Special Operations Command carried out perhaps the most important mission in their history—hunting down and killing Osama bin Laden.” In the three years he led the command, US Special Forces deployed to 150 countries. And even as budget cuts forced the rest of the military to draw down its forces, SOCOM added almost 8,000 people over the past three years, and is expected to keep growing. Hagel also praised Votel, who previously led Joint Special Operations Command. “His quiet decisive leadership—combining both operational and strategic expertise—is precisely what this command will need as we confront the next generation of threats to our national security.” (DOD release)
The Pentagon awarded a contract worth over $2 billion for the next batch of F-35 engines to Pratt & Whitney on June 5. The deal for Lot 17 F135 engines, totaling $2.02 billion, is expected to be completed by December 2025.