Harry Harris

Admiral Harris served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea (ROK) from July 2018 to January 2021.

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 U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), now known as the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. He is the first Asian-American to hold 4-star rank in the U.S. Navy and the first to head USPACOM. He also commanded U.S. Pacific Fleet, 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). A Naval Flight Officer, he has flown over 4400 hours, including over 400 combat hours.

From 2011 to 2013, Harris served as the direct representative of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.  He traveled to over 80 countries with the Secretary and participated in most of the Secretary’s meetings with foreign leaders.  Designated as the U.S. Roadmap Monitor for the Mid-East Peace Process (Oslo Accords), he travelled monthly to Israel to meet with Israeli and Palestinian Authority leaders to assess conditions on the ground.

His personal decorations include the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, the CIA's Agency Seal Medal and Ambassador's Award, 2 Defense Distinguished Service Medals, 3 Navy Distinguished 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 and the Gwanghwa Medal of Diplomatic Merit in 2021. He has also been decorated by the governments of Australia, France, Japan, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Singapore. Nationally recognized for his work as a champion of diversity, he was awarded the Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award from Tufts University in 2021. 

Harris was born in Japan, reared in Tennessee and Florida, and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1978 where he was a varsity fencer.  Awarded 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 was a career U.S. Navy veteran of World War II and the Korean War.  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 career Naval officer.

Ambassadorial Post(s)

Korea, South, (2018 - 2021)

Areas of Expertise