An exclusive conversation with Lieutenant General Brad Webb, NATO NSHQ commander.

By Andrew Drwiega SpecOps Correspondent

Despite his special forces background, Lieutenant General Brad Webb is no stranger to being in the media spotlight. In fact it is hard to recall a more important image than that taken in one of the White House situation rooms at 4.06 p.m. on May 1, 2011.

The photo, shot by White House photographer Pete Souza, captured the tension and the drama of the mission that represented the culmination of a decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden.

With President Barack Obama on Webb’s right and current presidential nominee Hilary Clinton sitting to his left, surrounded by members of the national security team, the group followed ‘live’ as Operation Neptune Spear unfolded. The U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group—SEAL Team Six—was selected to prosecute the raid to the kill Osama bin Laden. The importance of mission success, given the wealth of intelligence that had led to this deliberate action into Pakistan, cannot be understated. The tension is visible.

Yet Webb’s most vivid memory of that day was of being “being in the zone.” As he explained, “You hear people talk about this in sports…when time seems to slow down, everything is really focused and instead of being nervous, you are perfectly calm. I recall looking around the room at some point when the entire leadership team of our nation [the United States] was in the room and thinking, ‘I should be freaking out right now.’ But, I was perfectly calm [and] concentrating on the task at hand.”

Leading NATO’s SOF Capability

Since that day in 2011 Webb has taken his understanding of special forces to a new international level. His current responsibilities require a strategic perspective combined with an understanding and ability to work in coalition with the forces from other nations that fall under his command at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Special Operations Headquarters (NSHQ). This command is formed under a memorandum of understanding but is frameworked and led by the United States.