Russ Shalders

Former Chief of Australian Navy

Vice Admiral Russell Edward Shalders, AO, CSC is a retired admiral of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). He served as Vice Chief of the Australian Defence Force from 2002 to 2005, and as Chief of Navy from 2005 to 2008.

Shalders entered the Royal Australian Naval College at Jervis Bay as a 16-year-old cadet midshipman 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 of the patrol boat HMAS Ardent, then joined HMAS Vendetta, before he assumed command of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force patrol boat Samarai.

Shalders then served as a 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, and then was an officer's posting officer in Canberra.

After promotion to lieutenant commander in 1981, Shalders 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 an executive officer.

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

Russ Shalders, then Chief of Navy, is greeted by Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd at the 2008 National Anzac Day service, Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

On promotion to captain, Shalders was posted at short notice to command HMAS Darwin during the Persian Gulf War, and was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross in recognition of this period in command. In 1991, he became director of naval warfare and subsequently director-general of 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, Shalders 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 of flotillas in January 1998, responsible for the operational efficiency of all fleet units.

On promotion to rear admiral in July 1999, Shalders 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 in the Australia Day Honours list of 2003.

On 23 May 2005, the Minister for Defence announced that Shalders would succeed Vice Admiral Chris Ritchie as Chief of Navy from July 2005 for a three-year term. He retired from this position, and the navy, on 4 July 2008.

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