Deputy Chief of Navy

The Deputy Chief of Navy (DCN) is the second most senior appointment in the Royal Australian Navy, responsible to the Chief of Navy (CN). The rank associated with the position is Rear Admiral (2-star).

Deputy Chief of Navy and Head Navy People Training and Resources (DNC/HNPTAR) has two parallel sets of responsibilities. First, as the manager of Navy Strategic Command they are responsible for the alignment of accountability, responsibility, performance and resource management within the RAN. Second, they are responsible for managing the Navy’s uniformed integrated workforce (permanent and reserve) and members of the Australian Public Service. Commodore Training (COMTRAIN) reports to DCN and is responsible for individual and ship level training.

Rear Admiral Jonathan Earley

Key appointments

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


Rear Admiral Jonathan Earley, CSC, RAN, assumed the role of Deputy Chief of the Royal Australian Navy on the 16th of December 2022.

Rear Admiral Jonathan Earley was born in Perth, Western Australia, joining the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) as a Maritime Warfare Officer in January 1990. After undertaking his initial training at the Australian Defence Force Academy and the RAN Naval College at HMAS Creswell, he completed his subsequent employment and warfare training in RAN and Royal Canadian Navy warships before specialising as an Air Warfare Officer.

He has deployed extensively on maritime operations and exercises throughout the Indo-Pacific Region, Middle East, and the Atlantic whilst on exchange with the Royal Navy in the early 2000s. In 2005 he was appointed Executive Officer of the Anzac Class frigate HMAS Ballarat and was recognised in with a Commendation for Distinguished Service for his leadership performance in this role.

Rear Admiral Earley then completed several postings ashore including Staff Officer and then Chief of Staff to the Chief of Navy before being appointed as Commanding Officer of Ballarat in 2011. He was then selected as the inaugural Executive Officer of HMAS Canberra in 2013 to prepare her for commissioning before moving back to Canberra as Director of Maritime Operations. During the latter role, he was responsible for management and coordination of all RAN maritime operations and exercises at the domestic, regional and global levels. In 2017, his devotion to duty in this role was recognised with the award of the Conspicuous Service Cross.

Rear Admiral Earley then returned to sea as the Commanding Officer of HMAS Adelaide, a role that saw him deploy the LHD capability across the Indo-Pacific. During this time, he was appointed Task Group Commander for the inaugural Indo-Pacific Endeavour that saw the largest Australian joint-maritime task group to have deployed to Asia in over 40 years. He has served in various staff roles at the operational and strategic level, including in Navy Headquarters, Strategic Policy and Estate and Infrastructure Group in 2019 as Director-General United States Force Posture Initiatives and the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative. In 2021, Rear Admiral Earley returned to Fleet Command assuming the role of Deputy Fleet Commander and in June 2022 assumed the position of Commander Australian Fleet.

Rear Admiral Earley is a distinguished graduate of the Australian War College, having completed the Australian Command and Staff Course in 2008 and the Defence Strategic Studies Course in 2019. For the latter course he was awarded the Deakin University Academic Excellence prize for his research into the Australia-US security relationship in the Indo-Pacific.

Rear Admiral Earley holds three Masters Degrees in Maritime Studies, Strategic Policy and Policy Making plus various diplomas in Defence Studies and Management.