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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Navy Adm. William McRaven formalized his transition from a top U.S. military commander to academic leader Thursday, officially accepting the job as chancellor of the University of Texas System.

The head of U.S. Special Operations Command will start in January and make $1.2 million annually — nearly a half-million dollars more than his predecessor — according to system officials.

McRaven, 58, has been credited with spearheading the operation that led to the death of Osama bin Laden in a raid on his compound in Pakistan 2011. He grew up in San Antonio, where UT has a large academic campus and health center, and has no professional academic experience.

The four-star admiral was also at the helm when Army Delta forces secured the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from the Taliban in May as part of an exchange for five Afghan detainees from the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center.

Wearing a suit instead of his highly decorated Naval uniform, McRaven told regents that great universities must adapt to change.

"I have seen the change from my current position in the military. The demographics are changing. The technology is changing. The funding model is changing," McRaven said. "We must not only keep up with the pace of change — we must lead the change."

Regents selected McRaven as the finalist for the job last month but could not officially hire him for 21 days. He is set to retire from the military this month after 37 years.

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