Willie C. Clark Sr. was appointed Deputy Under Secretary for Field Operations in December 2016. He’s responsible for the effective operation and oversight of 4 district offices and 56 regional offices in the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), which employs over 23,000 personnel who administer compensation, pension, survivor benefits, vocational readiness and employment, fiduciary and loan guaranty programs. Through these programs, VBA paid $119 billion in non-medical benefits to over 6 million Veterans and beneficiaries in fiscal year (FY) 2021. VBA’s performance has improved each year and all top production years have been achieved under Clark’s leadership.

Clark serves as VBA’s lead on VA’s Emergency Response team and secured COVID vaccines for VBA employees engaging the public. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic there were delays in Veterans being able to attend exams and in obtaining federal records, Clark expertly guided the field in shifting focus to work that was not as dependent on these factors. He also proactively contacted and collaborated with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) leadership, which includes National Personnel Records Center, to provide VBA employees to work alongside NARA personnel, as well as vaccines for NARA employees, to assist with obtaining federal records. Clark’s leadership led to VBA achieving the highest single year of compensation and pension claims ever completed with more than 1.8M claims completed as of Sept. 28, 2021, surpassing the prior best year in which over 1.5M claims were completed. Additionally, his leadership and oversight for the consolidation of the work that does not require a rating to eight locations and creating the BEST teams resulted in the reduction of inventory by 13.4 percent while simultaneously improving the timeliness of claims by 43.5 percent in FY21.

Over 16,100 Veterans participating in the Veteran Readiness and Employment program received a positive outcome, and VBA completed fiduciary exams timely and effectively with over 168,000 exams during the FY – exceeding the target of 132,684. Furthermore, VBA answered most call in a FY with over 7 million calls in FY21 compared to 6.65M in FY20. Clark collaborated to streamline hiring processes to meet the aggressive and unique hiring plan needed due to the provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act as well as SecVA decision on extending additional benefits to Veterans. The plan was delivered on time and will continue to be executed in FY22.

Prior to his appointment as the Deputy Under Secretary for Field Operations, Clark served for 20 months as the Director of the North Atlantic District where he was responsible for direction and oversight in administering disability compensation, pension and survivor benefits, vocational readiness and employment, education and home loan benefits. In capacity, he had responsibility for more than 4,000 employees in 16 regional offices and the Baltimore Human Resources Center.

Clark began his Department of Veterans Affairs career as a Rating Specialist in 1996 at the St. Petersburg Regional Office after serving at the Tampa VA Medical Center as a Veterans Service Officer Supervisor for the State of Florida Department of Veterans Affairs. While at the St. Petersburg RO, he assumed positions of increasing responsibility to include Section Chief, Coach, and Assistant Veterans Service Center Manager. He was also instrumental in the initial setup of the Partner Assisted Rating and Development Program (PARD), the Benefits Delivery at Discharge Program (BDD), and two mini Veteran Service Centers currently operating in Florida.

Since 2002, Clark’s career as a VA leader progressed from Veterans Service Center Manager at the Philadelphia Regional Office and Insurance Center, to the Director of the Lincoln Regional Office while serving concurrently as the Director of the Boston Regional Office, to the Acting Director of the Providence Regional Office, and ultimately to the Western Area Director – a position he held for the seven years immediately preceding his appointment as the North Atlantic District Director.

As the Western Area Director, Clark led VBA’s efforts in the 2010 VBA / Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Collaboration: A Joint Way Forward. This innovative plan involved 42 transformation initiatives which paved the way for a more integrated partnership between VBA and VHA. For the first time, the two agencies worked as a team on innovative projects such as integrating Disability Benefits Questionnaires into the Compensation and Pension Examination process; mining data within VHA records; eliminating the second signature review process for VHA C&P Examiners; and managing VHA examinations, to include addressing exam cancelation and timeliness issues. These projects allowed for better coordination and collaboration between the agencies and resulted in our providing better customer service to Veterans and their beneficiaries.

Clark was born in Florida and served for over 20 years in the United States Air Force where he had assignments in California, Missouri, Florida, Texas, Spain, and Turkey. His last assignment was Chief for the Field Training Detachment for the B-2 Stealth Bomber Weapons System. His duty assignments included aircraft maintenance on the following weapons systems: B-2, SR-71, U-2, F-16, F-4 and F-106.

In FY22, Clark received the SECVA Exceptional Service award for his skilled, decisive, and unwavering leadership and service. He is a 2012 recipient of the Presidential Rank Award and is a 2004 graduate of the Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program.

Share this page