Clark retired as a four-star general after 38 years in the Army, having served in his last assignments as commander of U.S. Southern Command and then as commander of the U.S. European Command/NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe.
He is currently CEO of America United, a nonpartisan 501c(3) organization, focused on promoting greater common ground in the United States by reducing partisan division and revitalizing public and political discourse through civics, citizenship, and civility.
Clark graduated first in his class at West Point and earned degrees in philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. While serving in Vietnam, Clark commanded an infantry company in combat, where he was severely wounded. He later commanded at the battalion, brigades and division levels, and he served in a number of significant staff positions, including service as the director of strategic plans and policy. He was the principal author of both the U.S. National Military Strategy and Joint Vision 2010, prescribing U.S. warfighting for full-spectrum dominance. He also worked with Ambassador Richard Holbrooke in the Dayton Peace Process, where he helped write and negotiate significant portions of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement. In his final assignment as NATO’s supreme commander in Europe, he led NATO forces to victory in Operation Allied Force, a 78-day air campaign, backed by ground invasion planning and a diplomatic process, saving 1.5 million Albanians from ethnic cleansing.
Clark’s awards include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Defense Distinguished Service Medal (five awards), Silver Star Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, honorary knighthoods from the British and Dutch governments, and numerous other awards from other governments, including the award of Commander of the Legion of Honor (France). He also has been awarded the Department of State Distinguished Service Award and numerous honorary doctorates and civilian honors.
Clark serves on numerous corporate boards, including BNK Petroleum and Leagold Mining. During his business career he has served as an adviser, consultant or board member for more than 90 private and publicly traded companies. In the nonprofit space, he is a senior fellow at UCLA's Burkle Center for International Relations, a trustee of International Crisis Group; a director of the Atlantic Council; and founding chair of City Year Little Rock/North Little Rock. A 2004 U.S. presidential candidate and best-selling author, Clark has written four books and is a frequent contributor on TV and to newspapers.
Clark’s visit to Penn State is sponsored by the Center for Security Research and Education (CSRE). Launched in the fall of 2017, CSRE promotes research, teaching, and public outreach programs in the field of security. CSRE brings scholars from diverse disciplines together to pursue comprehensive solutions to security challenges. CSRE also works to promote public discussion on the critical security issues of the day.