Vice Admiral Russell Edward Shalders

Chief of Navy (2005 - 2008)

VADM Russ Shalders

Russell Edward (Russ) Shalders joined the Royal Australian Naval College at Jervis Bay from Victoria in 1967. After sea training he undertook Operations and Weapons courses in the United Kingdom. On returning to Australia, he was posted as Executive Officer (2nd in command) of the patrol boat HMAS Ardent, then joined HMAS Vendetta, before he assumed command of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force patrol boat Samarai.

He then served as Divisional Officer at the RAN College in 1976, and then in HMAS Perth prior to Principal Warfare Officer training in the UK in 1978. He returned as Operations and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Officer aboard HMAS Vendetta, then was an officer's posting officer in Canberra.

After promotion to Lieutenant Commander in 1981, he completed the Naval Staff Course for International Officers at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island and then undertook Advanced Warfare Officer training in the UK, specialising in anti-submarine warfare. He joined HMAS Hobart as ASW Officer and Operations Officer in 1982, but completed this posting as Executive Officer.

In the rank of Commander, he then served at the RAN Staff College as a member of the Directing Staff from mid-1984. After two years at the embassy in Washington, DC in 1986-87, he assumed command of HMAS Sydney and was then appointed as Commander, Sea Training.

On promotion to Captain, he was posted at short notice to command HMAS Darwin during the First Gulf War (1991), and was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC) in recognition of this period in command. In 1991, he become Director of Naval Warfare and subsequently Director General Naval Policy and Warfare. Shalders commanded HMAS Perth in 1993-94 and attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in London in 1995.

On promotion to Commodore, he was appointed as Director General Joint Exercise Plans and then Director General Operations Policy and Doctrine and Director General Information Strategic Concepts. He returned to the Fleet to become Commodore Flotillas in January 1998, responsible for the operational efficiency of all fleet units.

On promotion to Rear Admiral in July 1999, he was seconded to the Australian Customs Service as the inaugural Director General Coastwatch. He was appointed as Head, Defence Personnel Executive in 2001.

Shalders was promoted to Vice Admiral and appointed as Vice Chief of the Defence Force in July 2002. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Australia Day Honours List of 2003.

On 23 May 2005, the Minister for Defence announced that Shalders would be Chief of Navy from July 2005 for a three-year term. He retired from the Navy on 4 July 2008.