Born in Panama City, Panama, he grew up in Richmond, Virginia. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. In 1992, he earned a master’s in Business Administration from Chaminade University of Honolulu, Hawaii.
Clarke is a career submarine officer who served aboard USS Indianapolis (SSN 697), USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) and USS Cheyenne (SSN 773) before commanding USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740) (GOLD) from August 2002 to July 2005. While in command, his crew earned three consecutive Battle Efficiency “E” Awards and numerous departmental awards. Later he served as commander of Submarine Squadron 2 from July 2009 to May 2011.
His shore assignments include tours as assistant intelligence and special projects officer on the staff of Commander, Submarine Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Squadron Engineer for Submarine Squadron 20, and staff officer at Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE).
Following command, he served as the submarine operations officer on the combined staff of Commander U.S. Naval Forces Europe, Commander U.S. 6th Fleet and Commander Task Force 69, special assistant to the director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion for Personnel Policy and Training, and as director for operations, Commander Submarine Forces Atlantic.
Rear Admiral Clarke reported to Joint Interagency Task Force South in August 2014 from the Operations Directorate of the Joint Staff, where he served as the assistant deputy director for Regional Operations and Force Management (J35), from October 2012 through July 2014.