Harman’s new CO - a Next Generation leader

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Dave Devlin (author), LSIS James McDougall (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Harman, ACT

Topic(s): HMAS Harman, Change of Command

Outgoing Commanding Officer HMAS Harman, Captain David Luck, RAN (right) hands over 'the weight' to incoming Commanding Officer, Commander Amanda Howard, RAN, during the handover ceremony held at the Bonshaw Mess, HMAS Harman, ACT. (photo: LSIS James McDougall)
Outgoing Commanding Officer HMAS Harman, Captain David Luck, RAN (right) hands over 'the weight' to incoming Commanding Officer, Commander Amanda Howard, RAN, during the handover ceremony held at the Bonshaw Mess, HMAS Harman, ACT.

A diverse and wide-ranging career has led to many positive challenges for the new Commanding Officer of HMAS Harman.

Commander Amanda Howard assumed command of one of the Royal Australian Navy’s busiest shore establishments last week, having the weight of command passed on from Captain David Luck, who was recently promoted and will take up a new role as the Commandant of the Australian Defence Force Training Centre.

HMAS Harman, a former Naval Communication Station, is the primary administrative and logistics hub supporting all Navy personnel located in the Australian Capital Territory and southern New South Wales regions.

Commander Howard said she was very proud to have been selected for command.

“I’m very aware of the responsibility and accountability that comes with command and I look forward to meeting the challenge,” she said.

“I’m fortunate to be taking over from someone who has been so committed to the role and I will continue to build on the fantastic work and achievements that Captain Luck has established. 

“I know I will be very much focused on achieving balance.

“It’s all about the people. My philosophy will be focused on using all available information to make the right decisions, to balance the needs of the Service, the individuals and their families,” Commander Howard said.

Finding balance is not something new to Commander Howard, having previously had roles that have seen her fast-rope from helicopters, co-ordinate logistics to a war zone, draft strategic policy, project manage major maintenance periods, implement personal and logistics reform and materially support Navy capability.

In addition to this, Commander Howard has dedicated time to support her busy and active family of three children and a serving husband.

“It’s pleasing to be able to say that this is increasingly the norm,” Commander Howard said.

“We should all be able to balance service and family, no matter what the member’s rank, age or family circumstances.

“I’m very thankful that the Navy provides access to a vast range of personal and organisational services that have supported me to balance family and career commitments.”

Having joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1996 as a 17-year-old, Commander Howard has seen many changes throughout her Royal Australian Navy service and has, at times, assisted in the development of some of today’s policies that have been incorporated into the Total Workforce Model.

“I think the reinvigoration of Navy Values and our recent focus on people and communication has shown a major generational shift and positive cultural change for Navy,” she said.

“Our organisation has implemented mature social and professional mechanisms to support our people throughout their careers.

“These progressive opportunities, which are for all Navy personnel, will continue to be a driving need to support current and future capabilities,” Commander Howard said.

Her advice to younger and aspiring leaders who have only recently joined the Navy is to appreciate your ‘at sea’ experiences.

“It is truly the distinguishing aspect of our ‘job’.

“But, don’t just live in the here and now, think of where you want to be in ten years and seek out different opportunities to achieve that goal,” she said.

Commander Howard was surrounded by family at her transfer of command ceremony, with her husband Simon, children Brianna, Erin and Mitchell, and her parents Ray and Lucy in attendance. 

“My entire family have all influenced the person that I am today and I thank them for their love and support,” she said.

Information about HMAS Harman, its history and current day roles is available on the Royal Australian Navy website: http://www.navy.gov.au/establishments/hmas-harman.