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Tish van Stralen

Commodore Letitia van Stralen AM, CSC, RAN

Chief of Staff, Navy Headquarters

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CDRE Letitia (‘Tish’) van Stralen, CSC, RAN is Chief of Staff, Navy Headquarters. 

CDRE van Stralen was born in Katoomba, New South Wales and was educated in northern New South Wales and Queensland. She completed a Bachelor of Laws Degree at Queensland University of Technology in 1994 and joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1995.

Despite having legal qualifications, CDRE van Stralen joined the Navy as a Maritime Warfare Officer to gain broader Navy experience. Her seagoing postings included HMA Ships Tobruk, Darwin, Newcastle and Brisbane.

After completing postings as an Officer of the Watch, Assistant Principal Warfare Officer, Intelligence Watch Officer and Training Officer, CDRE van Stralen gained her Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice and was admitted as a lawyer in New South Wales.

CDRE van Stralen transferred to the Navy Legal Service in 2003 and performed various legal roles in the ADF Warfare Centre and Headquarters Joint Operations Command before deploying to the Persian Gulf as the Legal Officer for Commander Task Force 158 in 2006. CDRE van Stralen undertook further legal postings as the Deputy Fleet Legal Officer and Maritime Lawyer in HQJOC.

In 2010, CDRE van Stralen assumed the role of Fleet Legal Officer at Fleet Headquarters and was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross. Subsequently, CDRE van Stralen was appointed as the Executive Officer of HMAS Creswell in 2013, and returned to a legal role in 2015 when posted as the Director Legal, HQJOC.

CDRE van Stralen was appointed as the Chief of Staff to the Chief of Navy in December 2016, working for both Vice Admiral Barrett and Vice Admiral Noonan in a two year period. CDRE van Stralen was subsequently appointed as the Director Navy People and Career Management Agency in October 2018.

In 2021, CDRE van Stralen completed the Defence Strategic Studies Course at the Australian War College and later assumed the role of Chief of Staff Australian Defence College. She became a Member of the Order of Australia in 2022, and was promoted to Commodore and is currently the Chief of Staff, Navy Headquarters.

CDRE van Stralen is married to Aaron (a former Army member) and they have a daughter (Zara). The family home is on the south coast and she enjoys travel, boxing (for fitness) and time with her family.