General Joseph L. Votel attended the United States Military Academy and was commissioned in 1980 as an Army Infantry Officer. His initial assignments were to the 3d Infantry Division in Germany where he served as a Rifle Platoon Leader, Executive Officer, Battalion Adjutant and Rifle Company Commander.
Following this tour, he was assigned to Headquarters, Allied Forces Southern Europe - Naples, Italy, and the NATO Peace Implementation Force (IFOR) in Sarajevo. He commanded the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry (Light) at Fort Drum, N.Y., and was subsequently selected to command the 1st Ranger Battalion at Hunter Army Airfield, Savannah, Ga. Following attendance at the Army War College, General Votel commanded the 75th Ranger Regiment and participated in Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan, and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq.
As a general officer, General Votel served in the Pentagon as the Director of the Army and Joint Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Defeat Task Force and subsequently as the Deputy Director of the Joint IED Defeat Organization established under the Deputy Secretary of Defense. He also served as the Deputy Commanding General (Operations), 82nd Airborne Division / CJTF-82, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan, and was subsequently assigned as the Deputy Commanding General of the Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, N.C. His most recent assignment was as the Commanding General of the Joint Special Operations Command.
General Votel is a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, United States Army Command and General Staff College, and the United States Army War College.