In his 37-year Navy career, Admiral Vern Clark became the second longest serving Chief of Naval Operations in history. His tenure as Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) was a period of significant change and renewed vision. In 2002, he charted a course for the future by publishing Sea Power 21, a vision for the first part of the 21st century to explore the advantages of operating from the world’s oceans. His number one priority was to “win the battle for people,” which led to the development of a 21st century human capital strategy and revolution of the training, development, and assignment processes within the Navy. The result was the best recruiting and retention in history.
His career included commanding three ships, two destroyer squadrons, the Atlantic Fleet’s Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center, a Carrier Battle Group, the Second Fleet, NATO’s Striking Fleet, and the Atlantic Fleet. In the decade of the 1990s, he served as the Director of the Joint Staff in Washington, D.C., for seven years. Admiral Clark has received numerous military decorations for his service, including four awards of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, three Navy Distinguished Medals, and three awards of the Legion of Merit.
Admiral Clark was named a Distinguished Professor in the schools of Government and Leadership at Regent University.