Eric T. Olson retired from the United States Navy in 2011 after more than 38 years of military service. He served in special operations units throughout his career, during which he was decorated for valor and leadership. He commanded at every level and was the first Navy SEAL officer to be promoted to three- and four-star ranks.
Admiral Olson was commissioned in 1973 upon graduation from the United States Naval Academy. He studied Arabic and French at the Defense Language Institute, and he earned a Master of Arts degree in National Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School.
Admiral Olson’s military career culminated as the head of the United States Special Operations Command, where he 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 is now an independent national security consultant who supports a wide range of private and public sector organizations. He currently serves as an Adjunct Professor in the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and sits on the Board of Directors of Iridium Communications, Under Armour, LaserMax, Tracking Point, Imperatis and the non-profit Special Operations Warrior Foundation and National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum.