REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Col. Andrew Clark is a self-described enthusiast with an intense desire to lead his organization to mission success.
In the nearly three months since he took command of the U.S. Army Security Assistance Training Management Organization (SATMO) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, he is well on his way to accomplishing that goal.
Clark said he hopes that by focusing on people and encouraging them to do their basic tasks in mutual support, they will bring that same enthusiasm to the table.
“When you invest in and take care of your people, and your people work well together, mission success will happen,” said Clark.
For the 23-year Army careerist, Clark said serving in the military was in his blood from an early age. “My grandfather, who was a Navy aviation machinist in the Pacific, and my two great uncles served in WWII – one stormed the beach in Normandy and one was a Marine in the Pacific,” said Clark. “Some of my ancestors, who came to North America on a ship in the 1750s, served as Army logisticians in the Valley Forge campaign; another served in the 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War.”
It was this familial connection that inspired him to want to attend Naval Academy, but when that did not pan out, he attended and graduated the University of Pittsburgh’s Army Reserve Officer Training Corps, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and Anthropology.
Clark commissioned as a second lieutenant of Infantry, starting his Army career with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, before serving in several Special Forces assignments in Germany with the 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and Special Operations Command Europe.
His selection first to Special Forces and then to Foreign Area Officer would set him on a path of varied assignments throughout Europe for the next several years. It was while he was in the Special Forces qualification course that he first heard of SATMO.
“I had never been in a country where SATMO deployed, so when I heard about SATMO as a young captain I thought it sounded cool,” said Clark. “You have to make the decision to go foreign area officer earlier in your career, after your time as a company commander or detachment commander so once the opportunity became available, I took it.”
In his overseas assignments, he served in the U.S. Defense Attaché Office at the embassy in Berlin and as the EUCOM liaison to both the German Ministry of Defence and Bundeswehr Joint Forces Operations Command. Prior to serving as an Army Attaché in Germany, he was the strategist for Russia and Central Asia at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch.
He came to SATMO from the embassy in Nigeria, where he served as the Senior
Defense Official/Defense Attaché and managed a nearly $1 billion foreign military sales portfolio.
Clark said his experiences have given him the skillset to come to SATMO. “A background in Special Forces develops tactical knowledge and small unit leadership ability within the Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental and Multinational environments,” explained Clark. “That experience, combined with Foreign Area Officer skills, has been crucial to delivering the right effects – operational, strategic or diplomatic -- as necessary.”
As for his leadership philosophy, he said he tries to recognize everyone’s contribution.
Clark’s goal before leaving SATMO is to have everyone in the unit better prepared for their role in the security cooperation enterprise. “If they are rotating out of the security cooperating enterprise and going back to their formations, I want them to leave with more knowledge and experience than what they came here with” said Clark.
“After my time at SATMO, everyone in the unit should be better prepared as Soldiers or Civilians and as security cooperation leaders.”
Editor’s note: As a subordinate command to USASAC, SATMO provides unique capabilities and achieves significant impacts across six geographic combatant commands. SATMO currently has 29 teams in 19 countries and a case value in excess of $750 million dollars. Visit www.army.mil/satmo for more information on their unique mission set.