Eric 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, was engaged in several contingency operations and commanded at every level. Eric’s military career culminated as the head of the United States Special Operations Command, where he was responsible for the mission readiness and deployment 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. His duties involved much inter-agency and international collaboration.
Admiral Olson graduated from the United States Naval Academy and Naval Postgraduate School and has been named a Distinguished Alumnus of both institutions. He is a designated specialist in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.
Admiral Olson received numerous military decorations including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star for gallantry in combat, and the Bronze Star for valor. His foreign awards include appointment as an Officer in the French Legion of Honor.
Eric is now an independent consultant who supports a wide range of private and public sector organizations. Currently, he serves as an Adjunct Professor and Senior Research Scholar in the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, a Director of Iridium Communications, Inc. and Under Armour, Inc., a senior advisor to the Department of Homeland Security, and Chairman of the nonprofit Special Operations Warrior Foundation.