County's presiding commissioner attains master's degree from Army War College

Monday, August 21, 2017
Clint Tracy

Cape Girardeau County Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy said he looks forward to new understanding and new opportunities after his recent graduation from the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, with a master’s degree in strategic studies.

Tracy serves as a commander in the Navy Reserves and is officer in charge of Commander Naval Forces Korea, Detachment Charlie in Fort Worth, Texas.

Tracy graduated from the two-year distance-

learning program July 28.

“The educational highlights of this program for me were identifying the crucial role of quality intelligence in the strategic planning process and the opportunity to study in a joint setting with all branches of Department of Defense, Department of State, and representatives from allied countries,” Tracy said in a news release from the U.S. War College.

The distance-learning program is designed to develop senior military officers from all branches of armed services.

Senior foreign military officers and civilian officials are included.

Tracy said the program is offered to active-duty and reserve military members at no cost beyond the time commitment.

The distance-learning program is two years but can be done on in Carlisle in one year.

“If you have a year to do it and you’re there,” that’s one thing, Tracy said, “but you try to mix it in with kids and job and family and stuff,” that’s another.

Tracy said he was selected for the program in 2015.

For the first year of studies, the courses focused mainly on history and strategic theory.

The online nature of the classes meant he never met any classmates until a two-week seminar at the end of that first year.

“I walked into my classroom, read the name tag next to me, and it was a classmate of mine from Annapolis, 20 years ago. It’s a small world, a small Navy,” Tracy said.

The second-year course of study gets into strategic documents, Tracy said, delving into how those they are formulated.

The relationship between civilian and military workings also is explored, Tracy said.

About every four years, the president of the United States releases a document on national-security strategy.

Former president Barack Obama released the latest document in February 2015, which, Tracy said, shifted the focus from Iraq and Afghanistan to the Pacific.

“The president lays out at a high level what our interests are,” Tracy said, adding the language in the document is typically vague, especially if the document’s author has a civilian background instead of military.

“The military’s used to doing things a certain way, very disciplined and regimented, and the civilian side isn’t always that way,” Tracy said.

The document typically lays out a high-level explanation of what the United States’ foreign-policy interests are, Tracy said, and the military officials then need to determine priorities and how to achieve them, as well as what the role of the military is.

The document is for public release, Tracy said, so the whole world is looking at our interests and the tone set by the document.

Tracy said with his unit’s relation to North Korea and the present turmoil in the region, he has a lot of interest in what the priorities are for the Pacific, and that’s where his studies will come in handy.

“It definitely provides a different way to look at foreign policy and how we operate overseas,” Tracy said of his master’s degree.

The degree also will afford him different job opportunities on the reserve side, which he’ll explore about this time next year, he said.

The U.S. Army War College’s distance-education program was capped with an event called the Commandant’s National Security Program, held July 24 through 27 at the Carlisle campus.

Tracy said he was privileged to invite former Missouri lieutenant governor Peter Kinder to attend with him.

Kinder said it was one of the great experiences of his life.

Participating in Tracy’s seminar and attending the same lectures, Kinder said, was eye-opening, giving him some insight into the military mindset.

Because the Carlisle campus is near the Civil War battlefield site of Gettysburg, Kinder said the guests were treated to a lecture from an army commander, then boarded buses to the battlefield.

Military history is especially interesting to Kinder, who recently was appointed by President Donald Trump to serve as alternate federal co-chairman of the Delta Regional Authority.

“I was overwhelmingly impressed with the high knowledge level and intellectual level at which everything was discussed” at the War College, Kinder said.

“One acronym I took away was DIME,” Kinder said. “Diplomacy, Intelligence, Military, Economics, all elements of American power, must all work in concert to achieve a good result.

“No one hates war more than those who’ve had to fight it. We want to use all those four elements, DIME, to avoid unnecessary combat.”

Kinder pointed to the still-unresolved situation with North Korea and said, “When North Korea stood down after having threatened Guam, it was done without war or launching an attack.”

Kinder said he also was impressed by the displayed photos of War College alumni.

“Those walls contain the names of all the generals you would think of, who’ve gone through and graduated like Clint did,” Kinder said. “Norman Schwarzkopf, all the guys who shined so brightly in Afghanistan, Iraq; it’s really impressive.”

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