President Donald Trump intends to nominate Pacific Command leader Adm. Harry Harris to be the next U.S. ambassador to Australia, the White House announced Friday.

A press release lauded Harris as “a highly decorated, combat proven Naval officer with extensive knowledge, leadership and geo-political expertise in the Indo-Pacific region.”

Harris is expected to retire from the Navy this year.

In addition to leading PACOM, Harris has helmed Pacific Fleet and 6th Fleet during his 39-year career.

Leaders of commands like PACOM generally spend three years in the position, a mark Harris will hit in May. His successor has not yet been announced.

Harris has in recent years pushed a hard line regarding Chinese island building in the South China Sea, a strategy he warned was “militarizing” those waters.

He called out China for creating this “great wall of sand” during a conference in 2015, a move he cautioned was seeding chaos in the region.

The Senate will vote to confirm Harris’ nomination.

Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at geoffz@militarytimes.com.

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