Admiral Eric T. Olson, USN (Ret.)
Admiral Eric T. Olson recently retired from the U.S. Navy after over 38 years of service, having last served as the eighth Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), from July 2007 to August 2011. He previously served as Deputy Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command from 2003 to July 2007.
Admiral Olson served in special operations units throughout his career, during which he was awarded several decorations for leadership and valor including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and the Silver Star. Admiral Olson was the first Navy SEAL officer to be promoted to three- and four-star ranks, as well as the first naval officer to be USSOCOM’s combatant commander. As the head of the United States Special Operations Command, Admiral Olson was responsible for the mission readiness of all Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations forces. In this capacity, he led over 60,000 people and managed an annual budget in excess of ten billion dollars.
Admiral Olson graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1973 and qualified as a Naval Special Warfare (SEAL) officer in 1974.