Captain Craig Powell

CAPT Craig Powell

Captain Craig Powell, RAN joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1987 as a Direct Entry Officer, graduating from the Royal Australian Naval College in 1988. Captain Powell qualified as a Maritime Warfare Officer 1989, as a Fighter Controller in 1992 and as a Principal Warfare Officer specialising in Air Warfare in 1996.

Throughout his early career at sea, Captain Powell served in HMA Ships Stuart, Stalwart, Bendigo, Derwent, Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Canberra and Anzac. Captain Powell has completed two successful sea commands of HMAS Bendigo (2001-02) conducting immigration and fisheries operations in Australia’s Northern Waters as part of Operation RELEX and HMAS Darwin (2007-08) where he oversaw the FFG Upgrade refit and subsequent test and trials program for that Ship.

Prominent shore postings for Captain Powell have included periods as the Officer in Charge of the Royal Australian Naval College (2003), Staff Officer to the Chief of Navy Australia (2005-06), Directing Staff at the Australian Command and Staff College (2009-10), Director of Surface Combatants and Maritime Strike in the Capability Development Group (2012-13) and Director of Force Structure Review - Navy (2015).

Captain Powell has undertaken extensive operational postings during his career including deployments to the First Gulf War in HMAS Brisbane (1990-91), a subsequent deployment to the Middle East in HMAS Sydney (1993) for Red Sea boarding operations as part of Operation DAMASK and a short deployment for the initial phases of operations in East Timor in HMAS Anzac. Most recently, Captain Powell spent 2014 as the Director of Operations for the Combined Maritime Forces based at US NAVCENT in Bahrain. In this role Captain Powell oversaw international maritime coalition operations in the Counter Terrorism, Counter Narcotics and Counter Piracy domains as well as being the Australian Maritime Operations Advisor to the National Commander in the Middle East Theatre of Operations. For his performance in this role, Captain Powell was awarded a Commendation for Distinguished Service in the 2016 Australia Day Honours List.

A graduate of both the Australian Command and Staff Course (2004) and the Naval Command Course conducted at the US Naval War College (2011), Captain Powell holds Masters Degrees in International Relations (Salve Regina University), Maritime Studies (University of Wollongong) and Management (Defence Studies) (University of Canberra) as well as an Undergraduate Degree Majoring in Sociology (Murdoch University).

Captain Powell assumed command of HMAS Watson in January 2016.