Michelle Howard
Retired Admiral, United States Navy

Michelle Howard

Executive biography

Retired Admiral, United States Navy

Director since: 2019

  • Committees
    • Audit
  • Qualifications
    • Leadership and policy experience as the U.S. Navy’s first woman four-star admiral
    • Operational experience as commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe and Africa
    • Global operations and technology experience as Vice Chief of Naval Operations, with focus on cybersecurity and information technology in the digital age
    • Leadership and teaching positions in government and academia

Relevant experience:

Admiral Michelle J. Howard, 61, is a retired United States Navy officer. Admiral Howard began serving in the United States Navy in 1982, after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy. During her 35 years of service, she led sailors and marines as, at various times, the Commander of a ship, an Expeditionary Strike Group, a Task Force, and a Naval theater. In 1999, she became the first African American woman to command a ship in the United States Navy. In 2014, she was the first woman to become a four-star admiral in the U.S. Navy and the first woman and African American to be appointed to the position of Vice Chief of Naval Operations, the second-highest ranking uniformed officer in the branch. Responsible for the Navy’s day-to-day operations, she focused on cyber culture and information security in the digital age, as well as gender integration, in addition to oversight of a multi-billion dollar budget and the establishment of an auditing framework. In 2016, Admiral Howard was appointed by the President to serve as commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe and Africa and the Allied Joint Forces Command in Naples, Italy, making her the first woman four-star admiral to command operational forces. She retired from the Navy in 2017.

Admiral Howard’s distinguished career in national defense has included both atsea and ashore posts, placing her in key leadership positions within the areas of engineering, operations, and strategic planning and policy. Admiral Howard is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. She was the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University from 2018 to 2020, where she taught in the areas of cybersecurity and international policy. In 2022, she was appointed by the President to the Board of Vistors of the U.S. Naval Academy.

(This information reflects the 2022 Proxy Statement and subsequent updates.)