Howard, formerly deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans and strategy, will succeed Navy Adm. Mark Ferguson III as vice chief of naval operations, the Defense Department said Tuesday.
“Michelle Howard’s promotion to the rank of admiral is the result of a brilliant naval career, one I fully expect to continue when she assumes her new role as vice chief of naval operations,” said Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.
Howard was decorated during an oath-taking ceremony at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.
She became the executive officer of USS Tortuga in 1996 and moved to the Adriatic for a peacekeeping program in the former Republic of Yugoslavia.
Howard also served as commander of USS Rushmore on March 12, 1999, and of Amphibious Squadron 7 beginning in May 2004 through September 2005.
She became the Maritime Task Force commander for Baltic operations under 6th Fleet in 2010.