Joined by hundreds of veterans and their families for a Veterans Day ceremony at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, Acting Governor Kim Guadagno announced the appointment of Maj. Gen. Clark W. Martin as the State’s Military and Defense Economic Ombudsman. The appointment of Clark follows Acting Governor Guadagno’s signing of Executive Order No. 192, which creates the Ombudsman position and extends the New Jersey Military Installation Growth and Development Task Force until the end of Governor Christie’s term.
Martin, a Vietnam War Veteran who served as the Commander of the New Jersey Air National Guard for 23 years, will spearhead the State’s efforts to fortify and ensure the economic vitality of its military installations in preparation for potential federal budget cuts or a future Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.
“When it comes to federal cuts, especially in the age of sequestration, no military installation is off limits,” said Acting Governor Guadagno, who chairs the Task Force. “That’s why it is critical that we have someone with strong business, government and military experience to develop a strategy for keeping New Jersey’s military installations open and viable. Maj. Gen. Martin has incredible breadth and depth of experience in each of these areas, and I am honored that he has agreed to serve in this crucial role.”
The Task Force was created to protect the State’s military installations – its largest single employer – from sequestration and the looming possibility of future BRAC rounds or mission loss to other installations. Together, New Jersey’s military installations and activities directly and indirectly support more than 73,000 jobs and add $6.5 billion to the Gross Domestic Product.
Extending the Task Force and creating the Ombudsman were recommendations made by the Task Force in its July 2015 report.
Given the complexities and nuances of the Ombudsman position, the Task Force believed that the Ombudsman should, preferably, be an individual with military and business knowledge, who is well-versed in government affairs.
Along with his 34 years of military service, Martin has decades of experience in business and government affairs. In 1991, he co-founded the Trenton-based government relations firm MBI-GluckShaw.
A graduate of the Citadel, Martin flew 153 combat missions, including 100 combat flights over North Vietnam. He serves as Chairman of the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation.
“I look forward to working with Lt. Governor Guadagno and her team to implement recommendations in the report of the Military Installation Growth and Development Task Force,” Martin said. “We have an opportunity to make a lasting contribution to our nation’s defense and our state’s economy. I am eager to get started, and I’ll begin by listening to the stakeholders throughout New Jersey.”
Housed in the Business Action Center, and reporting to the Lt. Governor, the Ombudsman’s duties include, among others:
In addition to the Acting Governor, Task Force members include: Brigadier General Michael L. Cunniff, Adjutant General of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs; Melissa Orsen, CEO of the Economic Development Authority; Michele Brown, President and CEO of Choose New Jersey; the Honorable Jim Saxton, former Congressman; and Paul Boudreau, President of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce.Related Articles: