The principal function of HMAS Harman is to provide administrative functions to all Navy personnel located in the Canberra area. The base is commanded by a navy CMDR.
The communications function, while remaining in the Harman site, is now resident within a separate Command Element. This new Command Element comprises the Naval Communications Area Master Station Australia (NAVCAMSAUS) and Naval Communications Station (NAVCOMMSTA) Canberra and is known as NAVCAMSAUS Command, commanded by a LCDR.
Other Defence lodger units are resident in HMAS Harman. They include the Defence Information Systems and Communications Establishment - ACT (DISCE-ACT), two Army Reserve units and the Australian Naval Cadet unit, TS Canberra.
In 2003, Harman celebrated its Diamond Jubilee of commissioning.
In the early 1920s, the Australian Commonwealth Naval Board recommended the establishment of strategic wireless stations at Canberra and Darwin. Canberra was chosen because of the need for 'security of the communications services'. The RAN Wireless/Transmitting Station Canberra commenced operations on 20 April 1939.
On 20 July 1939, the Postmaster General's Department was advised that the names of Belconnen Transmitting Station and Harman Receiving Station had been allocated. The former was named after the district with the latter drawing its name from a contraction of the surnames of the Director and Assistant Director of Signals; Commander N. Harvey, RN and LCDR J.B. Newman, RAN. LCDR Newman, who at the time of opening had been promoted to Commander, was posted as the first Officer-in-Charge of the Station and held the post until relieved by CMDR A.D. McLachlan, RAN in 1941. HMAS Harman was commissioned on 1 July 1943 with CMDR McLachlan becoming the first Commanding Officer.
During World War II, Harman provided communications services for ships of the allied navies working in the Pacific region. During this time, the first servicewomen began work as telegraphers, forming the basis of the Women's Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS) which was formed in 1941.
In 1964, Harman was granted the motto 'NE CEDE', which is Latin for 'Yield Not'. The crest consists of a blue field representing the 'ether', a gold ring encircling the globe symbolising broadcasting and a thunderbolt representing electrical transmission.
HMAS Harman has been "ON WATCH SINCE 1943".