General Richard Clarke, Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command

General Richard Clarke

Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command

Richard D. Clarke, Jr. was born in July 1960 to an Army family in West Germany. He graduated from the United States Military Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree. He earned an MBA from Benedictine College. He was commissioned into the Infantry Branch of the Army, and has had considerable additional education through the military, including a master’s degree in Security and Strategic Studies from the National War College.

He has led soldiers at all levels in Airborne, Ranger, Mechanized and Light Infantry units. He served in Europe, Iraq, and Afghanistan, in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Joint Guardian in Macedonia, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Inherent Resolve.

He also served at the Pentagon as Vice Director for Strategy, Plans and Policy for the Joint Chiefs and later as its Director. He has been Commander of the United States Special Operations Command since 2019.

In the News…

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Richard Clarke, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, noted he recently met with his Afghan counterpart and found that progress “has been made” and that his counterpart is a “very dedicated commander.”

But, General Clarke added, “I think the capabilities that the U.S. provides for the Afghans to be able to combat the Taliban and other threats that reside in Afghanistan are critical for their success.”

When pressed about troops returning from Afghanistan in coming months, President Biden said he “doesn’t picture that being the case. We are not staying a long time. We will leave; the question is when we leave.”

General Clarke said, “There’s been no decision made for Afghanistan, so I think it would be a hypothetical to know what we’re going to do at this time. But we will always provide options for the Department of Defense.”


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