Chancellor McRaven gives lecture on international relations

Josh Willis

Chancellor William McRaven gave a lecture on national defense and security Monday for the Glickman Centennial Lecture at the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center. 

McRaven, a retired four-star admiral in the United States Military, spoke about the greatest changes in the field during his time. 

“9/11 has fundamentally changed everything about how we do business,” McRaven said. “Fortunately, the government was good to us. They recognized the value of special operations, and they funded it, and they grew the force appropriately.” 

Plan II senior Mark Jbeily said he agreed with McRaven that terrorism is the greatest threat to society. Jbeily, a Marshall Scholar, said Americans are reminded of the threat of terrorism because of recent successful terrorist attacks. 

“I agree with what [McRaven] said about the greatest threat to our security,” Jbeily said. “The terrorist threat that we saw after 9/11 has evolved, but it’s an ongoing threat, and when you don’t have — thank goodness — attacks on the homeland and attacks on high-visibility targets, I think people start to forget. But the reason we don’t have those attacks is because there [are] a lot of people working hard to make sure those attacks don’t happen.” 

McRaven said the first thing he did when he took his job at U.S. Special Operations was to call on FedEx to share how they do business. 

“[FedEx] is a global enterprise, just like we were, and I wanted to know how they were able to act locally but function globally,” McRaven said. 

The connections between illegal and malicious entities throughout the world continue to be areas of great concern for national defense, McRaven said. 

“Everything is connected — it is a network out there, and this was the thing that we found very early on in our fight, and it surprised us,” McRaven said. “We in special operations had to build a network to defeat a network.”

Having dealt with international struggles in special operations, McRaven said the notion that global struggles should not concern the United States worries him. 

“There is no such thing as a local problem,” McRaven said. “Today, in the environment we’re in, part of my concern is sometimes we sit between the Pacific and the Atlantic, and we say, ‘You know what happens in Algeria. That’s a long ways away. I don’t really think we have to worry about it.’” 

Suzan Glickman, the wife of the lecture’s namesake, Julius Glickman, said the lecture was a good opportunity for the community to interact with McRaven. 

“I think it’s great the people get to know [McRaven] and see what his vision is, partly for the University of Texas but also the special ops and what’s going on in the world,” Glickman said. “He’s very bright, has been in all kinds of positions of authority, and when you see his personality, you can know what he’s going to be and how far-thinking he is for the University
of Texas.”