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Statement on the Nomination of General Wesley K. Clark To Be Supreme Allied Commander, Europe

March 31, 1997

I am pleased to announce that I have nominated General Wesley K. Clark, United States Army, to succeed General George A. Joulwan as Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. This nomination is subject to the approval of the North Atlantic Council. I also intend to send forward to Congress General Clark's nomination to serve as Commander in Chief, United States European Command.

General Clark has had a long and distinguished career spanning three decades, with significant policy and diplomatic experience as well as impeccable credentials as a military commander. He has vast experience in armored and mechanized forces, including a combat tour in Vietnam, service in two armored units in Germany, and command of the 1st Cavalry Division. This experience is enhanced by his tours at the Army's National Training Center, and the Army Training and Doctrine Command, all of which focused on training and preparing the Army for the future. Additionally, while assigned to the Joint Staff as the Director for Strategic Plans and Policy, he served as the senior military member of the U.S. negotiating team that crafted the 1995 Dayton peace accords, which ended the fighting in Bosnia. In these postings, as well as in his current role as Commander in Chief of the U.S. Southern Command, Panama, he has demonstrated both the military expertise and political acumen needed to fill one of our most important security postings.

General Clark will assume the post of Supreme Allied Commander, Europe at a time when NATO is demonstrating its important role in European security by helping bring security and stability to the people of Bosnia, as well as during a time of profound adaptation within the alliance as NATO contributes to building a secure and undivided Europe. NATO's ongoing adaptation includes further streamlining of the NATO military command structure, the establishment of a European security and defense identity (ESDI) within the alliance, the integration of new NATO members and, we expect, the development of a strong NATO-Russian partnership. I look forward to General Clark's continuing the work of General Joulwan as SACEUR takes on the challenge of guiding NATO military forces through this important period of transition and the completion of the work of NATO's Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia. I have the utmost trust and confidence in his ability to do so.

William J. Clinton, Statement on the Nomination of General Wesley K. Clark To Be Supreme Allied Commander, Europe Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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