Chief of Navy Australia

Chief of Navy Australia Badge

The Chief of Navy Australia is the most senior appointment in the Royal Australian Navy. The rank associated with the position is Vice Admiral (3-star). The Chief of Navy Australia (CN) has overall command of the RAN and all uniformed naval personnel, regardless of where they work in Defence. Additionally, the Chief of Navy Australia is the principal naval adviser on strategic affairs and provides advice to the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) on current capability, military affairs and future capability development; and also represents the RAN on various higher defence committees.


The Chief of Navy Australia is responsible to Chief of the Defence Force and the Secretary of the Department of Defence, for:

  • Providing naval forces that:
    • contribute to the ADF’s capability to ensure the defence of Australia and its direct approaches
    • contribute to the security of Australia’s nearer region
    • support Australia’s wider regional interests and a rules based global order
  • Raising, training and sustaining naval forces by proper stewardship of human, financial and environmental resources
  • Providing timely and accurate advice to the government on strategic direction and military capability of both the current and future force.

The Chief of Navy Australia delegates responsibilities to five principal subordinates within Navy Strategic Command and Fleet Command. These are:

  • Deputy Chief of Navy and Head Navy People Training and Resources (DCN / HNPTAR)
  • Head Navy Capability (HNC)
  • Head Navy Engineering Regulation, Certification and Safety (HNE)
  • Commander Australian Fleet (COMAUSFLT or Fleet Commander)
  • Warrant Officer of the Navy (WO-N).

Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, RAN assumed command of the Royal Australian Navy on 7 July 2018.

Public speeches given by the Chief Of Navy Australia are available in either HTML or PDF format.

VADM Michael Noonan

Vice Admiral Michael Joseph Noonan

Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, RAN joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1984, trained as a seaman officer and then subsequently completed Principal Warfare Officers course and specialised in Air...

List of Previous Chiefs of Navy

(1982-1985)

Vice Admiral David Willoughby Leach

Vice Admiral David Willoughby Leach AC, CBE, LVO served as Chief of the Naval Staff from 1982 to 1985. Leach was born on 17 July 1928 in Perth, Western Australia. At the age of thirteen he entered...

(1979-1982)

Vice Admiral Guido James Willis

Guido James Willis, known as James, was born on 18 October 1923, in Learmonth, Victoria. He attended Wesley College, Melbourne, where his father and grandfather had both been educated, and in 1937 he...

(1976-1979)

Admiral Sir Anthony Monckton Synnot

Anthony Monckton Synnot was born on 5 January 1922 at Corowa, New South Wales. While he was young the family moved to Albury, New South Wales and then to a remote sheep property at Eskdale, near...

VADM Sir Hugh David Stevenson
(1973-1976)

Vice Admiral Sir Hugh David Stevenson

Hugh David Stevenson was born in The Valley, a suburb of Brisbane on 24 August 1918 to the Reverend William Henry and Katherine Stevenson. His father was the Rector of Holy Trinity Church and later...

(1970-1973)

Vice Admiral Sir Richard Innes Peek

Richard Innes Peek was born on July 30 1914 at West Tamworth, NSW, and entered the Royal Australian Naval College in 1928, where he passed out with top marks. He completed his initial training...

(1968-1970)

Admiral Sir Victor Alfred Trumper Smith

Victor Alfred Trumper Smith was born in Sydney on 9 May 1913. He was named after his uncle, Victor Albert Trumper, the great Australian cricketer. He entered the Royal Australian Naval College in...

VADM Sir Alan Wedel Ramsay McNicoll
(1965-1968)

Vice Admiral Sir Alan Wedel Ramsay McNicoll

Alan Wedel Ramsay McNicoll was born on 3 April 1908 at Hawthorn, Melbourne, second son of Victorian-born parents (Sir) Walter Ramsay McNicoll, civil servant, and his wife Hildur Marschalck, née Wedel...

RADM Sir Wilfred Hastings Harrington
(1962-1965)

Vice Admiral Sir Wilfred Hastings Harrington

Wilfred Hastings ('Arch') Harrington was born on 17 May 1906 at Maryborough, Queensland, second child of native-born parents Hubert Ernest Harrington, solicitor, and his wife Laura Irene, née Barton...

VADM Sir Henry Mackay Burrell
(1959-1962)

Vice Admiral Sir Henry Mackay Burrell

*/ Henry Mackay Burrell was born on 13 August 1904 at Wentworth Falls, New South Wales, the third of five children and the only son. He was educated at Parramatta High School and entered the Royal...

VADM Sir Roy Russell Dowling
(1955-1959)

Vice Admiral Sir Roy Russell Dowling

Roy Russell Dowling was born on 28 May 1901 at Condong, on the Tweed River, NSW. He was the sixth child of Russell Dowling, sugar-cane inspector, and his wife Lily Jane (née Ingram). In 1915 Dowling...

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