Imagery of Regent people and campus

Clark Leads National Security Discussion

By Abigail Phillips | March 31, 2011

Admiral Vern Clark

Admiral Vern Clark spearheaded a lively discussion on current events in the Middle East and their impact on national security with Regent University's faculty, staff and students at the Robertson School of Government (RSG) on Tuesday, March 29. Dr. Gary Roberts, interim dean of the Robertson School of Government (RSG), described the event as "an outstanding exchange."

A distinguished professor with RSG and Regent's School of Global Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Clark began his presentation by stating, "I want to create an environment where we have an exchange, not a monologue." The audience quickly responded to his invitation. Throughout the session, numerous attendees offered suggestions for strengthening international relations while acknowledging the complex challenges that impede both current and former administrations. Topics of discussion also included recent events in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Bahrain, as well as the roles of NATO and the United States overseas.

Drawing from 37 years of naval leadership, Clark integrated the importance of leadership into the dialogue. Quoting John Maxwell's The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, he shared that "true leadership cannot be awarded, appointed or assigned. It comes only from influence, and that cannot be mandated. It must be earned."

Clark is the second longest-serving Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) in U.S. history. He has received numerous military decorations, including four Defense Distinguished Service Medals, three Navy Distinguished Medals, and three awards of the Legion of Merit. Clark has also received international awards from Germany, Italy, France, South Korea, Japan, Portugal, Singapore and the Netherlands.

During his tenure as CNO, he published "Sea Power 21," which revealed the advantages of operating from the world's oceans. His first priority, to "win the battle for people," led to the development of a human capital strategy and revolution of the training and assignment processes, resulting in the best recruiting and retention in the Navy's history. Through his efforts, the Navy became a competitive enterprise in the 21st century marketplace, leading to billions of dollars in savings for the nation's taxpayers and the highest operational readiness the Navy had witnessed in decades.


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