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Wesley Clark

Wesley Kanne Clark (born December 23, 1944) was the U.S. Army General who commanded Operation Allied Force. This was NATO's response to the 1999 Kosovo crisis, and the first major combat operation in NATO history. He had a distinguished career in the United States Army and the Department of Defense. Clark retired a four-star general, and is said to have received more decorations than any soldier since Eisenhower.

Clark's father Benjamin Kanne was an Orthodox Jewish lawyer and Democratic Party politician, who died in 1949. His mother then returned home to Little Rock and married a former banker, Victor Clark. Wesley was brought up a Baptist Christian, and attended public schools. During the Vietnam war, he married Gertrude Kingston of Brooklyn, New York, and became a Roman Catholic. They have a son, Wesley Jr.

Clark graduated first in his class at West Point, and studied PPE as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. He also graduated from the National War College, Command and General Staff College, Armor Officer Advanced and Basic Courses, and Ranger and Airborne schools. He was an instructor and later an Assistant Professor of Social Science at West Point.

Clark led the US military team during negotiations that led to the Bosnian Peace Accords at Dayton, under the overall leadership of Richard Holbrooke[?].

From 1997, he was head of the U.S. European Command (CINCEUR), responsible for about 109,000 U.S. troops and all U.S. military activities in 89 countries and territories of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. As SACEUR[?] he also had overall command of NATO military forces in Europe and led approximately 75,000 troops from 37 NATO and other nations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo.

At the conclusion of his command in Kosovo, which followed the end of the military campaign, there was an incident involving Russia's use of an airfield in Kosovo. After a token Russian force took control of the Slatina airfield (also called the Pristina airfield) on June 10, 1998, there is said to have been a "battle of wills" between Clark and and the British NATO commander, Lt. Gen. Michael Jackson. Clark ordered British forces to resist Russian troops that occupied the airfield. Jackson did not comply, reportedly later saying "I'm not going to start the third World War for you."

Since his retiring from the army, Clark has worked as a military and international affairs analyst. He appears regularly on CNN in this role. Some people say he may be a candidate in the U.S. presidential election, 2004. Clark's issues with the Bush administration may include Donald Rumsfeld pressuring credible military figures to support a U.S. invasion of Iraq "barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon."

Table of contents


  • 1944 Born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1949 Father dies
  • 1966 Graduates first in his class from US Military Academy at West Point
  • 1966-8 Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics
  • 1968- commander of a mechanized infantry company in combat in Vietnam wounded four times receiving Purple Heart and Silver Star
  • 1975-6 White House Fellow, Special Assistant to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
  • 1994-6 Director of the Pentagon's Strategic Plans and Policy operation, responsible to the Joint Chiefs of Staff for world-wide politico-military affairs and U.S. military strategic planning. Led the military negotiations for the Bosnian Peace Accords at Dayton.
  • 1996-7 commander in chief of the U.S. Southern Command, Panama, controlling all U.S. forces & most U.S. military activities in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • 1997-2000 Supreme Allied Commander of NATO (SACEUR), and Commander-in-Chief for the United States European Command (CINCEUR).
  • June 2000 retires from military service
  • July 2000 senior adviser at CSIS
  • 2000-2, corporate consultant for Little Rock-based Stephens Group Inc. helps develop emerging-technology companies.

Current offices This list is not complete

  • Chairman and CEO of Wesley K. Clark & Associates, a business services and development firm based in Little Rock
  • Founder & Chairman of "Leadership for America", an independent non-partisan, non-profit organization "fostering the national dialogue about America's future"
  • Senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Director of the Atlantic Council
  • Board member of the International Crisis Group
  • Chairman of the board of WaveCrest Laboratories of Dulles, Va., a technology company specializing in electric propulsion systems
  • Senior military analyst for CNN, commenting on the US anti-terrorism activities and foreign policy

Military decorations

Other honors

Clark received more than 20 other major military awards from non-US governments.


  • Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo and the Future of Combat (2001, 2002), detailing diplomacy backed by force that was used to press back the Yugoslav troops from attacking the Albanians in the Kosovo province. ISBN 158648043X
  • Winning Modern Wars: Iraq, Terrorism, and the American Empire (September 2003) ISBN 1586482181

External Links

Footnote ¹The following references report the confrontation. Clark devotes an entire chapter to the incident in Gen. Clark's book Waging Modern War (Chap. 15).

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