Clark Named To Top Europe Post
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 1, 1997 President Clinton has nominated Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark to succeed Army Gen. George A. Joulwan as supreme allied commander, Europe, and commander-in-chief, U.S. European Command, White House officials announced March 31.
Clark, 52, currently commands U.S. Southern Command in Panama. Since June 1996, he has been the senior U.S. military commander responsible for U.S. national security policy and strategy in Latin America. In nominating Clark, President Clinton said the general has demonstrated the military expertise and political acumen needed to fill one of the nation's most important security postings.
"Gen. Clark has had a long and distinguished career spanning three decades, with significant policy and diplomatic experience as well as impeccable credentials as a military commander," the president said in a White House statement.
Clark's diplomatic experience includes serving with Richard C. Holbrooke as the U.S. statesman led Bosnia peace negotiations. While assigned as the Joint Staff's director for strategic plans and policy, Clark served as the senior military member of the U.S. team crafting the 1995 Dayton peace accord.
Clinton said Clark will assume command "at a time when NATO is demonstrating its important role in European security by helping bring security and stability to the people of Bosnia." At the same time, he said, the alliance is also streamlining its military command structure, integrating new members and developing a strong NATO-Russian partnership.
"I look forward to Gen. Clark continuing the work of Gen. Joulwan as [the] SACEUR takes on the challenge of guiding NATO military forces through this important period of transition and the completion of NATO's stabilization force in Bosnia," Clinton said.
Clark, a 1966 Military Academy graduate, was company commander with 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam and has served in armored and mechanized units, including as commander of 1st Cavalry Division. His career includes tours at the Army National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif.; and the Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Monroe, Va., where he focused on preparing the Army for the future.
Clark's appointment to lead U.S. European Command requires congressional approval, White House officials said. His nomination as NATO's allied forces commander is subject to the approval of the North Atlantic Council, they added.
Joulwan plans to retire this summer after 36 years of commissioned service, DoD officials said. He has served as supreme allied commander, Europe, since October 1993. Under his command, NATO's 60,000-strong peace implementation force, including a Russian brigade, successfully separated the warring factions and brought stability to Bosnia. When IFOR's 12-month mission was complete, Joulwan headed NATO's transition to its on-going, 31,000-strong stabilization force effort. The SFOR mission is slated to end in June 1998.