Rear Adm. Jeff Harley attended the University of Minnesota, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and has received Masters of Arts from the Naval War College and The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. Additionally, he served as a military fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and is a member of the Council as well as the American Society of Naval Engineers.
Harley is a career surface warfare officer whose formative sea duty assignments include tours in USS Samuel Eliot Morison (FFG 13); USS David R. Ray (DD 971); USS Cowpens (CG 63) and USS Benfold (DDG 65). He was also the commanding officer of USS Milius (DDG 69) and commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9. During these operational tours, he completed seven deployments to the Western Pacific/Indian Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and Arabian Gulf. While commanding Milius, the ship participated in combat operations supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and his crew won the Battle Efficiency Award and the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award for overall combat readiness.
Ashore, Harley served as fleet scheduler for the commander in chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet; executive assistant to the director for Operational Plans and Joint Force Development (J-7) on the Joint Staff, Asia-Pacific branch head in Deep Blue (N3/N5); director for Strategic Actions (N00Z) for the chief of naval operations; and as the 20th director, White House Situation Room.
As a flag officer, he served as vice director, Strategy, Plans and Policy (J5) at U.S. Central Command; Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet/ Expeditionary Strike Group 7/ Task Force 76; president of the Board of Inspection and Survey; and most recently as assistant deputy chief of naval operations (Operations, Plans, and Strategy) (N3/N5B).
His personal awards include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star (accepted on behalf of his crew), Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.