Admiral Vern Clark Gives Spring Policy Briefing
"Whenever you talk about the future, it
puts the pressure on the speaker to be a forecaster," said Admiral Vern
Clark, USN (Ret.), as he discussed the future of the United States
Military during the semi-annual policy briefing on Tuesday, Feb. 11.
The distinguished professor in the
School of Business & Leadership (SBL) and Robertson School of
Government (RSG) opened a discussion with students, faculty and staff
about the aftermath from the last 12 years of the military's presence in
During the briefing, Clark also addressed topics such as how the United
States government expects to use military forces in the future, and
whether or not the nation will have a response to events unfurling
around the globe.
"This isn't just about what has happened in Afghanistan," said Clark.
"This is how the United States evaluates the investment it makes in the
national security apparatus."
Clark explained that in determining the future trajectory of U.S.
military forces, three factors must be taken into consideration for the
force: structure, posture and readiness.
Force structure comprises the issues that shape the military. It begs
the question "what issues exist?" and mirrors the investment strategy.
For instance, Clark explained that for every 10,000 members of the
military forces, the government must spend $1.6 billion.
"Force posture is different; this is how we invest, train and get ready
to respond to future events. The question here is 'postured for what?'"
said Clark. "While we are going through an adaptive period—post
sequestration—the services are struggling with what its posture should
be for the next few years."
Clark explained that force readiness speaks to the military's ability to
execute within a certain period of time; can the military respond and
meet the objectives for which it was postured?
"Agility costs money," said Clark. "But lack of agility costs a number of things—for one it costs the president options."
The need for force readiness is a cyclic debate between Republicans and
Democrats that, according to Clark, will continue to rage on.
"Sequestration is having negatives effects, as expected. It has been
characterized like trying to shave with a chainsaw," said Clark. "If
national security is reduced, we don't want to be seen as letting our
force readiness go down the tubes."
Clark encouraged his listeners to keep an eye on what is going on with
the approaching 2014 midterm elections, in order to keep apprised of the
future of the military.
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Mindy Hughes, Public Relations
Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888