Harrison, who served as executive assistant to the director of the Coast Guard Investigative Service, is taking over from Capt. David Ramassini.
Her Coast Guard career began as a deck watch officer aboard USCGC Storis in Kodiak, Alaska. In the Coast Guard 14th District in Hilo, she was executive officer of USCGC Kiska.
She then headed east to other afloat assignments, including commanding officer of USCGC Aquidneck in North Carolina and later in Bahrain, executive officer of USCGC Legare and USCGC Northland both in Portsmouth, Virginia.
In 2003, aboard Aquidneck, she and her crew supported Operation Iraqi Freedom by conducting “innumerable maritime interdiction, search and rescue, escort and combat-related operations in the Northern Arabian Gulf,” according to US Coast Guard. For her leadership, Harrison became the first female in service history to earn the Bronze Star Medal and the first woman to command a Coast Guard cutter in combat.
In 2010, Harrison was one of 13 White House Fellows chosen by the president; that year, she served as a senior advisor to the Administrator of NASA and acting Deputy Chief of Staff of NASA.