Just over a decade ago, one of the most consequential and well known missions in modern U.S. history was executed on an unremarkable compound in an unknown city in northern Pakistan. The national leaders at the center of the mission to neutralize Osama bin Laden have reminisced on the extraordinary impact of this event, with the 10-year anniversary of Operation Neptune Spear just a few weeks ago.
What is less known is that one of the central figures in the planning, execution and leadership of that mission, retired Adm. William H. McRaven, pictured here during a 2012 guest lecture on campus, used what he learned at the Naval Postgraduate School, in the planning and execution of that mission (and quite a few others).
In the latest issue of the Journal of Strategic Studies, Dr. James Wirtz, Professor of National Security Affairs at NPS, offers a detailed report on how McRaven's own historical analysis of SOF theories and tactics throughout history were on display in the 2011 raid, and how these might be adapted to the current strategic utilization of special operations, https://doi.org/10.1080/01402390.2021.1933953.
And you can hear from McRaven himself discuss the impact of his time at NPS in this In Review piece authored just a year after the raid, https://nps.edu/documents/10180/108355275/In+Review+April+2012.pdf/9f509f0c-82dc-4305-90d2-7f51eb466759?t=1482353297000, and during his Virtual SECNAV Guest Lecture held in late 2020, https://youtu.be/a2YewzW7d4g.