Chief of Navy

The Chief of Navy (CN) 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 has overall command of the RAN and all uniformed naval personnel, regardless of where they work in Defence.

The Chief of Navy is the principal naval adviser on strategic affairs and provides advice to the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) and the Secretary of the Department of Defence on current capability, military affairs, future capability development and also represents the RAN on various higher defence committees.

Vice Admiral Mark Hammond

Key appointments

Chief of Navy (2022 - present)
Commander Australian Fleet (2020 - 2022)
Deputy Chief of Navy (2018 - 2020)


Vice Admiral Mark Hammond, AO, RAN joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1986 as an Electronics Technician, before commissioning as a Naval Officer in 1988. Graduating from the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) in 1990, Hammond served in frigates before volunteering for submarine service and qualifying in the Oberon class. He is a dual qualified officer, graduating from the RAN Principal Warfare Officers Course, and the Netherlands and USN Submarine Command Courses, and Australia’s Senior Submariner.

Hammond served extensively in Collins Class submarines. He also gained international experience in French, British and US nuclear attack submarines and Dutch conventional submarines. His Command of HMAS Farncomb included submarine operations across the Indo-Pacific. Subsequent shore postings included the Assistant Naval Attaché in Washington DC, Submarine Capability and Joint Exercise Staff roles, and 12 months as the Chief of Staff to the Chief of the Defence Force.

On promotion to Commodore, Hammond was appointed Director General Maritime Operations. Hammond then returned to the United States as the Liaison Officer to the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was awarded the United States Legion of Merit (Officer) for his performance in this role. On return to Australia in 2018 Hammond was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for exceptional service to the Australian Defence Force in senior command and staff roles.

On promotion to Rear Admiral in 2018, Hammond assumed duties as the Deputy Chief of Navy and, in late 2020, was appointed Commander of the Australian Fleet. In these demanding appointments Hammond first oversaw substantial workforce growth, and then focused on enhancing the resilience and warfighting capability of Navy’s people and Fleet during the COVID19 pandemic.

Vice Admiral Hammond assumed Command as Chief of Navy on 07 July 2022, the first RAN Recruit School and ADFA graduate to do so, and only the second submarine Commanding Officer to be appointed to the role. In 2023 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to the Royal Australian Navy in senior command roles.

Vice Admiral Hammond holds a Bachelor of Science, Masters in Management and Masters in Maritime Studies, and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program. Away from the Navy his interests include antique wooden boats, cricket, rugby league (South Sydney Rabbitohs), AFL (Port Adelaide), chess and submarine warfare in World War II.