Learning and Leadership with Navy LCDR Brian Harrington
Published January 31, 2023
The US Navy operates around the world to defend freedom, preserve economic prosperity, and keep the seas open and free. The Navy always works to achieve these goals with its core values: honor, courage, and commitment. With these core values, the Navy provides America with the ability to control the seas and project power ashore so that its armed forces can be successful in all domains of competition.
I’m Brian Harrington and I am a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy.
I chose to serve because I wanted to protect freedom around the world. My father served in the United States Navy and both my grandfathers served in the military in WWII, so you could say it is a bit of a family tradition. The Navy has offered me the opportunity to follow in their footsteps, while also satisfying a sense of adventure that allows me to work and travel around the world.
America is a maritime nation. Our Navy operates around the world to defend freedom, preserve economic prosperity, and keep the seas open and free.
The Navy’s core values are Honor, Courage, and Commitment. We honor our fellow Americans by being mindful of the privilege to serve and conducting ourselves in the highest ethical manor. Courage gives us the moral and mental strength to do what is right in the face of adversity. And we are Committed to improving our work, our people, and ourselves. The Navy provides America with the ability to control the seas and project power ashore so our armed forces can be successful in all domains of competition.
As a Surface Warfare Officer, I operate ships worldwide to provide the cornerstone of our conventional deterrence and project US power abroad. Serving aboard Guided Missile Destroyers and in expeditionary Riverine Squadrons, I have participated in a diverse spectrum of missions. That has included Ballistic Missile Defense of US and Allied territory, counter piracy operations to maintain freedom of the seas off the Horn of Africa, humanitarian relief operations in the Philippines following a natural disaster, counter-smuggling operations in the Red Sea and Gulf of Oman, patrols on the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, and Carrier Strike Group Operations in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.
Each of these missions requires operation of specialized equipment, critical thinking, significant training, and most importantly, teamwork.
As an officer in the Navy I have had the opportunity to work with our greatest asset, our Sailors. I’ve learned that leadership starts with trust and you must be humble enough to learn from everyone around you to be successful on a team.
Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has said being a good officer means you must “listen, learn, then help…leadership follows” I’ve found this to be true at every stage of my career. I have learned that senior leadership does not have a monopoly on good ideas, but integrity must come from the top down.
Like most things worth doing, leading is difficult and good leadership takes hard work. However, there is no greater pride than knowing you helped forge a team where the servicemembers beside you operate with complete trust in you and are willing to sacrifice to protect our way of life.
Whether a student deciding on what to do after graduation, a professional looking for more meaning, or a retiree wanting to give back, I encourage everyone to consider what they can do to serve their community. You don’t need to wear a uniform, and the dividends are priceless.