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Two Years After bin Laden Raid, the Future of Special Operations

If the future is small wars and smaller armies in terms of personnel, then what is the future? How do we get there?

U.S.

The raid that took out Osama bin Laden two years ago Wednesday was only a few minutes old when it nearly fell to pieces.

We’ve all heard the story: one of the helicopters lost lift and crashed into an animal pen before Navy SEALs were even inside the compound. A national-security staffer in Washington, watching on a video feed, later said that when he saw the helicopter go down, he thought he might vomit.

But the man on the other end of that video was cool and collected, as if it were just a small glitch in a training exercise. “He was almost like the voice of Walter Cronkite, completely calm,” Michael Leiter, who was present as director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told TIME.

Completely emotionless, William McRaven told the nervous observers, “As you see, we have a helicopter down.” And then, “We’re going to push the…

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