Harkins was in charge of the Pathfinder Project at Starfleet's Communications Research Center from 2376 to 2377, reporting directly to Admiral Owen Paris. Lieutenant Reginald Barclay was part of his team. (VOY: "Pathfinder"; VOY: "Inside Man")
During this time, Harkins took a liking to Barclay, and tried to pair him with Hope at one point. (VOY: "Pathfinder") Harkins also offered for him to stay at a beach house in Malaysia, which was owned by a cousin of his. (VOY: "Inside Man")
Harkins, as Barclay's boss, respected his ingenuity and hard work ethic, but often felt he had to bring him back down to reality. He initially discouraged Barclay's odd theories about contacting the USS Voyager, preferring to concentrate on a plan in partnership with the Vulcans. With little in the way of concrete proof, he refused to allow Barclay to discuss the matter with Paris. Additionally, he believed that Barclay was spending too much time in a holo-simulation of Voyager and its crew, and was having a relapse of his holo-addiction. Harkins had to order Barclay to counseling and remove him from the project. Harkins even ordered a security team to arrest Barclay when he broke into the MIDAS array. Barclay, however, later proved his theories were correct and successfully established regular communications with Voyager. (VOY: "Pathfinder")
In 2377, Harkins approved a plan from Barclay to send a holographic matrix to Voyager in the hopes that it could convey more information than standard transmissions. Unfortunately, the attempt appeared to fail twice, forcing him to revert to normal transmissions. Harkins felt the hologram was too complex, but Barclay dismissed that answer, convinced there was a plot underway. Harkins overruled Barclay, however, soon he learned that Barclay had unwittingly given sensitive information to a Ferengi, Nunk, who had commandeered the program and sent their own version. Admiral Paris and himself contacted the USS Carolina to stop Nunk, but it couldn't do so in time. Instead, he had Barclay impersonate the hologram to talk the Ferengi out of it. Fortunately, the plot was foiled. (VOY: "Inside Man")
Harkins was played by Richard McGonagle.
He was described in the script for "Pathfinder" as being in his "mid-40's. A low-key career Starfleet scientist."