General Richard Clarke is a distinguished fellow in the Forward Defense program of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. Clarke sits on the board of General Dynamics, Shift5, and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, and is a strategic advisor to Institutional Venture Partners and Human Capital, a venture capital firm.
Clarke retired from the military after nearly four decades of leading complex and diverse organizations at every level. His experience includes over fifteen years spent internationally and over ten combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. His service culminated in his assignment as the commander of US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), during which he led a joint force of over 75,000 military members consisting of Army Rangers, Special Forces, Navy SEALs, Air Force Commandos, and Marine Raiders with an annual operating budget over $25 million. He directed global deployments to conduct the United States’ most sensitive and critical missions as a combatant commander reporting directly to and advising the US secretary of defense on employment, strategy, and mission risks. Prior to assuming command of USSOCOM, Clarke served as director for Strategic Plans and Policy (J5) at the US Joint Staff in the Pentagon. Clarke’s other assignments as a general officer include deputy commanding general for operations, 10th Mountain Division; commandant of cadets at the US Military Academy at West Point; and commander of the 82nd Airborne Division.
He holds a bachelor of science from the US Military Academy West Point and a master of business administration from Benedictine College. He is a distinguished graduate of the National War College.