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Director Brennan Speaks at OSS Society Awards Dinner

Director Brennan Introduces Admiral McRaven
This fall, CIA Director John O. Brennan joined Office of Strategic Services (OSS) alumni, government representatives, military officers, and OSS Society members for the presentation of the William J. Donovan Award. The Donovan Award—named for the founder of OSS, the CIA’s predecessor organization—is given to a person who forwards the interests of freedom and exemplifies the spirit and tradition of General “Wild Bill” Donovan. This year’s recipient of the Donovan Award was Admiral William H. McRaven, USN.

Admiral McRaven is the ninth commander of the United States Special Operations Command and served from 2008-2011 as the 11th commander of Joint Special Operations Command. He has led at every level within the special operations community and helped establish the curriculum for special operations at the Naval Postgraduate School.

During his remarks, Director Brennan spoke about the continued relevance of the OSS. “After the OSS was dissolved in 1945, intelligence and special operations diverged,” he said. “But recent history has reversed that divergence as this nation’s response to the attacks of 9/11 brought the two main branches of the OSS back together again. Intelligence officers and special operators were once again working hand-in-hand to take the fight to our adversaries.”

In introducing Admiral McRaven, Director Brennan remarked, “It is hard to think of a more worthy heir to the legacy of the OSS. There can be no question that our country is safer today because of the service of Admiral McRaven,” he continued. “He has been one of the bedrock figures of our nation’s response to 9/11.”

Director Brennan said the ultimate proof of Admiral McRaven’s influence came when he directed the raid on Usama bin Ladin’s (UBL) compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. He referenced Vice President Joe Biden’s comment that there was a key moment in the discussions of whether to carry out the UBL operation —a moment when President Barack Obama seemed to move a step closer to his final decision. “Admiral McRaven looked at the president and said, ‘Sir, we can get this job done.’” Director Brennan then thanked Admiral McRaven on behalf of the men and women of CIA.

Following Director Brennan’s remarks, the audience watched a film about Admiral McRaven’s career followed by pre-taped congratulatory remarks from President Obama, former Secretary of Defense and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Leon Panetta, and former Secretary of Defense, Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) and 2012 Donovan Award winner Robert Gates.

Past Donovan Award recipients include former OSSer and DCI Allen W. Dulles, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Astronauts of Apollo 11, The Right Honorable Margaret Thatcher, and former OSSers Ralph J. Bunche and Major General John K. Singlaub, USA (Ret).

The OSS Society celebrates the country’s first strategic intelligence organization and educates the American public through events and programs. The Society awards the William J. Donovan award to an individual who has distinguished service in the cause of freedom, embodying the spirit of the Office of Strategic Services founder General William J. Donovan.

To view Director Brennan's speech, please see the video below. View the remarks as prepared for delivery here.

Posted: Nov 21, 2013 12:23 PM
Last Updated: Nov 21, 2013 01:18 PM