1. Military

SOCom leader says bin Laden capture was 'routine'

Published May 25, 2012

TAMPA — The admiral helped devise the mission that killed Osama bin Laden. He oversaw the special operation, which drew worldwide attention.

And in Tampa on Thursday, Adm. Bill McRaven, head of U.S. Special Operations Forces, called it a routine operation.

"From a military perspective this was a standard raid," McRaven said. "And not very sexy."

The military hasn't divulged many details about the raid and speaking at a news conference at the International Special Operations Forces convention, McRaven simply said it was a matter of arriving by helicopter, taking out an objective and flying away by helicopter.

Kathryn Bigelow, the director who worked on the The Hurt Locker — a film about an Army bomb squad unit in Iraq — is working on a movie about the raid. In response to a question from a reporter, McRaven said SOCom is not working with the moviemakers in any capacity.

Though the military has a history of supporting military movies — "as long as the message is good," McRaven said — working with director Bigelow would require Department of Defense authorization.

"It would be a decision above U.S. SOCom," he said.

At the news conference, McRaven, along with top military officials from Australia and Colombia, answered questions from reporters. Statements they made included:

• Though the U.S. military plans to transfer operations in Afghanistan to the Afghan government in 2013, McRaven said the details are still being worked out by senior members of the U.S. government and coalition officials.

• The perception of special operations forces is that of very tough, physically fit soldiers, and that "is certainly not the case," said Maj. Gen. Peter "Gus" Gilmore, the Australian Special Operations commander. Instead, military leaders look for thoughtful people with an aptitude for learning about other cultures, he said.

• McRaven said everything SOCom does is "fully coordinated and approved" with foreign officials and geographic combat commanders. "I am a force provider," he said.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at or (813) 226-3433.


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