President Donald Trump on Friday named U.S. Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris as his pick to serve as the American ambassador to Australia, the White House said in a statement.
Harris currently serves as the 24th commander of U.S. Pacific Command. Harris is the son of a Navy petty officer and an Issei mother, and credits his mother with instilling in him a sense of giri (duty).
A highly decorated, combat proven Naval officer with extensive knowledge, leadership and geo-political expertise in the Indo-Pacific region, Harris graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1978 and was designated a naval flight officer in 1979. He earned a M.P.A. from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, a M.A. from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, and attended Oxford University.
During his 39-year career, he served in every geographic combatant command and has held seven command assignments, including the U.S. Pacific Fleet, the U.S. Sixth Fleet, and VP-46. He and his wife, Bruni, live in Hawaii.
In his capacity as commander of U.S. Pacific Command, Harris has coordinated U.S. military forces with allies in the Pacific, including Japan. He is considered to be a vocal critic of China’s military build-up in the South China Sea. Last month, he met with Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera to discuss a series of accidents involving U.S. military aircraft in Okinawa.
The U.S. has not had an ambassador to Australia since 2016. If confirmed, Harris would be the 26th ambassador since the formation of the post in 1940.