NAVY DEPARTMENT

NAVY DEPARTMENT

NAVY DEPARTMENT

NAVY DEPARTMENT

The navy is one of three primary components of
the U.S. military. Incorporating the Marine
Corps, it serves along with the army and the air
force as part of the nation’s defense. The navy’s
mission is to protect the United States as
directed by the president or the secretary of
defense by the effective prosecution of war at
sea. With its Marine Corps component, the
navy’s objectives are to seize or defend advanced
naval bases; support, as required, the forces of all
military departments of the United States; and
maintain freedom of the seas. The Department
of the Navy includes the U.S. Coast Guard when
it is operating as a service in the navy.

The U.S. Navy was founded on October 13,
1775, when Congress enacted the first legislation
creating the Continental Navy of the American
Revolution. The Department of the Navy and
the Office of Secretary of the Navy were estab-
lished by the act of April 30, 1798 (10 U.S.C.A.
§§ 5011, 5031). For nine years before that date,
by act of August 7, 1789 (1 Stat. 49), the conduct
of naval affairs was under the secretary of war.
The National Security Act Amendments of 1949
provided that the Department of the Navy be a
military department within the DEPARTMENT OF
DEFENSE (63 Stat. 578).

Office of the Secretary of the Navy
The secretary of the Navy is the head of the
Department of the Navy. Appointed by the pres-
ident of the United States, the secretary serves
under the direction, authority, and control of
the cabinet-level secretary of defense (10
U.S.C.A. § 5031). The secretary is responsible for
the policies and control of the navy, including its
organization, administration, functioning, and
efficiency. Next in succession for the position is
the under secretary of the navy, who functions
as deputy and principal assistant to the secretary
and has full authority in the general manage-
ment of the department.

Civilian Executive Assistants The civilian
executive assistants are the principal advisers
and assistants to the secretary of the navy. They
include the under secretary of the navy, the
assistant secretaries of the navy, and the general
counsel of the navy. With department-wide
responsibilities for administration, the civilian
executive assistants carry out their duties in har-
mony with the statutory positions of the chief of
naval operations, who is the principal military
adviser and executive to the secretary regarding
naval matters, and the commandant of the
Marine Corps, who is the principal military
adviser and executive regarding Marine Corps
matters. Each is authorized and directed to act
for the secretary within his or her assigned area
of responsibility.

Staff Assistants The staff assistants to the
secretary of the navy are the naval inspector gen-
eral, the comptroller of the navy, the auditor
general of the navy, and the chief of informa-
tion. The secretary or the law has established the
following positions and boards for administra-
tive purposes.

Judge Advocate General The JUDGE ADVOCATE general is the senior officer and head of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps and the Office of
the Judge Advocate General. The officer’s pri-
mary responsibilities are to administer military
justice throughout the Department of the Navy,
perform functions required or authorized by the
UNIFORM CODE OF MILITARY JUSTICE, and pro-
vide technical supervision for the Naval Justice
School at Newport, Rhode Island. In cooperation
with the general counsel to the navy, the judge
advocate general also has broad responsibility for
providing legal advice and related services to the

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