Who We Are

“Let us never send the President of the United States to the conference table as the head of the second strongest nation in the world.” – Deputy Secretary of Defense Bill Clements, 1973

The William P. Clements, Jr. Center for National Security at The University of Texas at Austin draws on the best insights of diplomatic and military history to train the next generation of national security leaders. Established in 2013 with the support of distinguished policymakers and scholars, the Clements Center is a nonpartisan research and policy center uniquely positioned in the Office of the President.

The Clements Center honors former Texas Governor Bill Clements and his leadership on national security during his service as Deputy Secretary of Defense from 1973-77. Clements managed the Pentagon and helped guide American national security policy during a critical time. He brought a deep appreciation for history to every aspect of his leadership, policies, and decision-making.

The Clements Center carries forward Bill Clements’ legacy by:

Why History, Strategy and Statecraft?

Understanding history is essential for wise and effective national security strategy and statecraft. History enables leaders to glean the wisdom of the past without incurring its costs.  History can provide American leaders with a deeper sense of perspective, an appreciation for the patterns of the past, and the wisdom to determine the most effective policies for the future.

Yet history is neglected in statecraft today. Most national security policymakers have not been adequately trained in how to use history in their decision-making, while most academic history departments do not produce research that is relevant and accessible to policymakers.