Joseph Votel - Wikipedia
Joseph Votel
Joseph Leonard Votel (born February 14, 1958) is a retired four-star general in the United States Army who was commander of United States Central Command from March 2016 to March 2019.[1] Before that, he served as commander of the United States Special Operations Command.
Joseph Votel

Votel in 2016
BornFebruary 14, 1958 (age 63)
Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1980–2019
Commands heldUnited States Central Command
United States Special Operations Command
Joint Special Operations Command
Combined Joint Task Force 82
Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization
75th Ranger Regiment
2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry, 10th Mountain Division
Battles/warsWar in Afghanistan
Iraq War
AwardsDefense Distinguished Service Medal (3)
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal (3)
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star Medal (4)
Other workPresident and CEO of Business Executives for National Security
General Votel today serves as President and CEO of Business Executives for National Security (BENS) – a national, nonprofit composed of senior business and industry executives who volunteer their time and expertise to assist the U.S. national security community.
Early life and education
Born on February 14, 1958, in Saint Paul, Minnesota,[2] Votel attended the United States Military Academy and was commissioned in 1980 as an Army Infantry officer.
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.[3]
Military career
Votel's initial assignments were to the 3rd Infantry Division in Germany, where he served as a rifle platoon leader, executive officer, battalion adjutant, and rifle company commander. Following this tour, he was assigned to Headquarters, Allied Forces Southern Europe – Naples, Italy, and the NATO Peace Implementation Force (IFOR) in Sarajevo. He commanded the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry (Light) at Fort Drum, New York, and afterward, he commanded the 1st Ranger Battalion. Later he commanded the 75th Ranger Regiment, during Operation Enduring Freedom.[4] On 19 October 2001, Votel led 200 Rangers from 3rd Battalion, who parachuted towards an airfield south of Kandahar in an operation known as Operation Rhino and attacked several Taliban targets.[5]
As a general officer, Votel served in the Pentagon as the Director of the Army and Joint Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Defeat Task Force and subsequently as the Deputy Director of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization established under the Deputy Secretary of Defense. He also served as the Deputy Commanding General (Operations), 82nd Airborne Division / CJTF-82, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan, and was subsequently assigned as the Deputy Commanding General of the Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg. He next served as the Commanding General of the Joint Special Operations Command.[3]
On June 24, 2014, Votel was nominated by former President Barack Obama to succeed Admiral William H. McRaven as the 10th Commander of United States Special Operations Command. The appointment was confirmed by Congress in July, and the change of command took place on August 28.[6] Lieutenant General Raymond A. Thomas replaced Votel as commander of Joint Special Operations Command.
Votel (right) visiting Manbij, Syria as CENTCOM commander, June 21, 2018
Votel became the commander of United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) on March 30, 2016. On April 23, 2018, Votel made his first official visit to Israel as CENTCOM commander. During his visit, Votel was scheduled to meet with Israeli Defense Force Chief of Staff, Gadi Eisenkot, National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, and other senior defense officials.[7]
As CENTCOM commander, Votel oversaw the United States' continued War on Terrorism in the Middle East, particularly the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve's fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant terror organization, which rose to prominence in 2014. The fight against the group saw CENTCOM become more involved in the Syrian civil war and Iraqi Civil War.
After nearly 40 years of military service, Votel officially retired on March 28, 2019, five days after the decisive Battle of Baghuz Fawqani, which saw the territorial collapse of the Islamic State in Syria. He was succeeded as CENTCOM commander by General Kenneth McKenzie, USMC.[8]
Turkey coup attempt
Main article: 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt
In a speech on July 29, 2016, Turkish President Erdoğan accused Votel of "siding with coup plotters",[9] after Votel accused the Turkish government of arresting the Pentagon's contacts in Turkey.[10]
Post-military career
In January 2020, Votel became president of Business Executives for National Security (BENS).[11] He also serves as a non-resident senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, strategic advisor to aerospace manufacturer Sierra Nevada Corporation, and member of the board of trustees of Noblis.[12]
Awards and decorations
Combat Infantryman Badge with Star (denoting 2nd award)
Ranger Tab
Master Parachutist Badge with 2 Combat Jump Devices
Egyptian Parachutist Badge
Army Staff Identification Badge
  United States Central Command Badge
75th Ranger Regiment Combat Service Identification Badge
75th Ranger Regiment Distinctive Unit Insignia
8 Overseas Service Bars
Defense Distinguished Service Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters
Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster
Bronze Star Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Joint Service Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
Army Commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster

Joint Meritorious Unit Award with Oak Leaf Cluster
Valorous Unit Award
Army Meritorious Unit Commendation
Superior Unit Award
National Defense Service Medal with one bronze service star
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with Arrowhead device
Southwest Asia Service Medal with bronze Service Star
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Arrowhead Device and silver Campaign Star
Iraq Campaign Medal with three Campaign Stars
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon with bronze award numeral 3
NATO Medal for service with ISAF with bronze Service Star
  1. ^ Tara Copp (August 21, 2018). "New CENTCOM, SOCOM leadership named". Military Times. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  2. ^ "NOMINATIONS BEFORE THE SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE, SECOND SESSION, 113TH CONGRESS" (PDF). Washington, DC: Superintendent of Documents. 2015. pp. 789–793. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2015-10-06. Retrieved 2015-08-14.
  3. ^ a b [1], U.S. Department of Defense, dated 2014.
  4. ^ Dan Lamothe, The swift, quiet rise of Lt. Gen. Joseph Votel, Special Operations commander, The Washington Post, June 25, 2014.
  5. ^ Gal Perl Finkel, Win the close fight, The Jerusalem Post, March 21, 2017.
  6. ^ Votel to succeed McRaven as SOCOM commander at MacDill, Tampa Bay Times, by Zack Peterson, 24 July 2014, last accessed 25 July 2014
  7. ^ "Commander of US troops in Syria makes unannounced first visit to Israel". Times of Israel.
  8. ^ "US Marine Corps General McKenzie replaces retiring Votel as CENTCOM Commander". 29 March 2019. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Turkey's Erdoğan to drop lawsuits against people who insulted him". BBC News. 29 July 2016.
  10. ^ Lake, Eli (2016-07-28). "America's Friends Get Arrested in Turkey's Post-Coup Purges". Bloomberg View.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Noblis Welcomes General Joseph Votel to its Board of Trustees". October 3, 2019. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
External links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Joseph L. Votel.
Appearances on C-SPAN
Military offices
Preceded by
Ken Keen
Commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment
Succeeded by
James C. Nixon
Preceded by
William H. McRaven
Commander of Joint Special Operations Command
Succeeded by
Raymond A. Thomas III
Commander of United States Special Operations Command
Preceded by
Lloyd J. Austin III
Commander of United States Central Command
Succeeded by
Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr.
Last edited on 11 April 2021, at 17:56
Content is available under CC BY-SA 3.0 unless otherwise noted.
Privacy policy
Terms of Use
HomeRandomNearbyLog inSettingsDonateAbout WikipediaDisclaimers