Michelle J. Howard

Photo: Michelle J. Howard
Associate Professor of History and International AffairsJ.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Visiting Professor of International Affairs; Admiral, U.S. Navy, Retired
[email protected]

Michelle J. Howard served 35 years in the United States Navy. She led Sailors and Marines multiple times in her career as the Commander of: a ship, an Expeditionary Strike Group, Task Force, and a Naval theater. Her last command was from 2016 to 2017 as U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa. She simultaneously led NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command Naples with oversight of missions from the Western Balkans to Iraq. Operations in her career include: NATO peacekeeping, West African Training Cruise, Indonesia Tsunami Relief operations, and the rescue of Maersk Alabama from Somali Pirates. Michelle J. Howard is a Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran. In 1999 Michelle J. Howard became the first African American woman to command a ship in the Navy. In 2014, she was the first woman to become a four-star Admiral in the U.S. Navy and the first woman to be appointed to the position of Vice Chief of Naval Operations (number two in a Military Service). She is the first African American woman to reach the rank of three-star and four-stars in the Armed Forces.


B.S. – U.S. Naval Academy, Masters Military Arts and Science (History) – U.S. Army Command and General Staff College


Women of Color (STEM) Career Achievement 2008

Dominion Power Strong Men and Women Excellence in Leadership 2009

USO Military Woman of the Year 2011

NAACP Chairman’s Image Award 2013

Thurgood Marshall College Fund National Hero Award 2014

Annie Oakley Society 2015

French Legion of Honor 2015

Order of Naval Merit Brazil 2017

Atlantic Council Distinguished Military Leadership Award 2017

KPMG Inspire Greatness Award 2018


Honorary Degrees:

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 2015

American Public University 2015

North Carolina State University 2016

Classes Taught

Cyber and Security (IAFF 3180)