Admiral Harris served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea (ROK) from July 2018 to January 2021.
A Naval Flight Officer, he served 40 years in the U.S. Navy, retiring on 1 June 2018. He joined the State Department 3 days later. From May 2015 to May 2018, he commanded the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), now known as the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM). He is the first Asian-American to hold 4-star rank in the U.S. Navy and the first to head USPACOM. He is also the first 4-star from the Navy's Maritime Patrol Aviation community. Prior to USPACOM, he commanded the U.S. Pacific Fleet, the U.S. 6th Fleet, Striking and Support Forces NATO, Joint Task Force Guantanamo, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 1, and Patrol Squadron 46. He participated in Operations Attain Document (Libya 1986), Desert Shield/Storm, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Willing Spirit (Colombian hostage recovery 2008), and Odyssey Dawn (Libya 2011). He has flown over 4400 hours, including over 400 combat hours.
From 2011 to 2013, Harris served as the representative of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. In this role, he traveled to over 80 different countries with the Secretary and participated in most of the Secretary’s meetings with foreign leaders. He also served as the U.S. Roadmap Monitor for the Mid-East Peace Process where he travelled independently and extensively to Israel to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
Harris' personal decorations include the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, 2 Defense Distinguished Service Medals, 3 Navy Distinguished Service Medals, 3 Defense Superior Service Medals, 3 Legions of Merit, 2 Bronze Stars, and the Air Medal (1 Strike/Flight). He received the Republic of Korea’s Tong-il medal in 2014, Japan's Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun in 2018, and was made an Honorary Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) as part of the 2018 Special Honors list. He has also been decorated by the governments of France, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Singapore. He has been nationally recognized in the U.S. for his work as a champion of diversity.
Harris was born in Japan, reared in Tennessee and Florida, and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1978. He holds master’s degrees from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. He did post-graduate studies at Oxford University and completed the Seminar 21 fellowship at MIT. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Harris’ father served in the U.S. Navy, was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, and was stationed in Korea and Japan after World War II until he retired in 1958. Harris’ mother was Japanese. She moved to Tennessee with her husband and young son in 1958 and became an American citizen in 1974.
Admiral Harris is married to Ms. Bruni Bradley, herself a retired career Naval officer.