Rear Adm. Harbeson is a graduate of the University of Maryland. He was commissioned through the Navy Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I.
His sea duty assignments have included first lieutenant and main propulsion assistant in USS Pharris (FF 1094), combat systems officer and weapons control officer in USS San Jacinto (CG 56), and executive officer in USS Vicksburg (CG 69). He has also served as flag lieutenant to both commander, Middle East Force in Bahrain and commander, 3rd Fleet. His two command tours were as commanding officer of USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, and as commodore, Destroyer Squadron 50, forward deployed to Bahrain.
Shore assignments have included a tour as a surface junior officer detailer at the Navy Personnel Command and attendance at the Naval War College, where he received a Masters of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. He also served as an instructor for the Executive Officer’s Leadership Course taught at the Command Leadership School. Harbeson was selected for a Federal Executive Fellowship and studied at The George Washington University prior to reporting to OPNAV to serve as a special assistant/deputy executive assistant to the vice chief of naval operations. He also served as the division chief for the Strategic Operations Division in J3 on the Joint Staff. Harbeson served as the executive assistant to the vice chief of naval operations prior to serving as the deputy director for Surface Combat Systems and Weapons on the chief of naval operations staff (OPNAV N86F). Following his tour at OPNAV, Harbeson assumed duties as commander, Joint Task Force Guantanamo. Harbeson reported to the Joint Staff on Feb. 24, 2012 and assumed duties as the Deputy Director Politico-Military Affairs for Europe, NATO, and Russia, Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate. He is responsible for recommending policy positions on issues related to Europe, Eurasia, and NATO to the Director for Strategic Plans and Policy and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Harbeson has been awarded various personal awards. He is most proud of the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Navy Unit Commendation, two Meritorious Unit Commendations, the Battenburg Cup and the Battle Efficiency Awards, because they recognize the participation and accomplishment of all crew members.