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United States Navy


Mission and Doctrine

Legal basis

The United States Navy, like the entirety of the armed forces, is constitutionally legitimized in Article II, Section 2, Section I, Sentence 1 and Article I, Section 8, Sentences 11 and 14 of the United States Constitution.[9] The design of the order of Navy can be found in Subtitle C, Part I, Chapter 507, § 5062, paragraph (a) of Book Tenth of the United States Code. This paragraph[10] In addition to the mandate, it also determines the composition of the land force and its affiliation. In the translation it reads:

“The Navy, which is a division of the Department of the Navy generally includes armed forces for naval warfare, forces in support thereof, and air forces, insofar as these fit into this context. It should primarily be organized, trained and equipped for immediate and permanent combat at sea. It is responsible for preparing the forces necessary for effective warfare, with the exception of other instructions, and is to provide, in accordance with cross-armed mobilization plans, for the [sufficient] expansion of [their] troops in peacetime to meet the demands of war. "

Thought leader

The most important theoretician of the USN is Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan, who wrote his naval power theories in the book in 1890 The Influence of Sea Power upon History published. To this day, they determine the thinking of the USN to a considerable extent. Later, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz defined the goals and duties of his navy. The government under Ronald Reagan and especially the Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman formulated the goal of expanding the Navy to 600 ships in 1982/83. However, this could not be maintained in the long term for reasons of cost. After all, the most powerful remaining battleships of World War II were reactivated during this period and kept in active service for several years.

Maritime doctrines

The USN has developed and partially published a number of doctrines together with the US Marine Corps in the course of time.[11] The first published strategy appeared in 1986 under the name The Maritime Strategy. It contained, among other things, the program of the 600-ship Navy.[12]

1992 became the strategic concept "... From the sea“Enacted in 1994 under the title "Forward ... from the sea"[13] was expanded.

In 2002, in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, another concept with the title was created Sea Power 21,[14] that for the area of ​​the USN Naval Power 21st[15] was added.

In October 2007, the USN, USMC and USCG adopted a joint strategy for the first time. She bears the title A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower.[16]



Political leadership

Chain of command of the US Navy at the political level. Above the Secretary of State for the Navy are the President and the Defense Minister
SECNAV Ray Mabus with the then CNO Gary Roughead

The organization of the United States Navy is based on the requirements of the Goldwater-Nichols Act.

Administrative lead lies with the Department of the Navy, a division of the US Department of Defense in the Pentagon, headed by the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV).

He is the senior officer in the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) and his deputy, the Vice Chief of Naval Operations reports. The Chief of Naval Operations is responsible for the military affairs of the Navy and is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is responsible for the organization, training and equipment of the Navy.

Military leadership

In August 2019, the leadership of the Navy consists of the following people:


Small selection of ranks


Since World War II, the USN has been structurally divided into numbered fleets, each with a specific area of ​​responsibility. This numbering was not always consistent in the period after the Second World War, as some fleets were grouped together when there were structural changes. Gaps emerged, such as B. 1973 when the first fleet was restructured as the third fleet, these were simply released and not filled by renumbering the remaining fleets. After the re-establishment of a fourth and fifth fleet, only a first fleet is currently missing.

Second fleet, Atlantic

In peacetime, the Second Fleet is responsible for the combat training of the naval units in the Atlantic, develops and evaluates new tactics and keeps a combat group on standby. Its main area of ​​operation is the Atlantic Ocean from the North to the South Pole and from the coast of the United States to the west coast of Europe. It also operates along both coasts of South America and parts of the west coast of Central America. In total, their area of ​​application is more than 98 million km² (38 million square miles). The headquarters of the Second Fleet is Norfolk, the flagship is the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, USS Iwo Jima. The association consists of a mixture of aircraft carriers, overseas and submarine units, reconnaissance groups, amphibious landing forces and logistics units. On September 30, 2011, the second fleet was disbanded in order to invest the money saved in this way in new ships. On May 4, 2018, the Navy announced that it would reactivate the Second Fleet in the wake of tensions with Russia and China's military advances. Formally, this took place on August 24, 2018.[18][19] Vice Admiral Andrew Lewis took command.[20]

Third Fleet, Central and Eastern Pacific

The main task of the Third Fleet is to monitor the waters of the eastern and central Pacific, from Alaska to Hawaii. The four aircraft carriers USS Nimitz (CVN 68), USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) were assigned to the fleet to cope with this task. The headquarters of the Third Fleet is located in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. There is no designated flagship.

Fourth Fleet, Caribbean and Central and South America

On July 1, 2008, the 4th US fleet was reactivated.[21] The commander also holds the post of commander of the US Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO), the Navy Combatant Command of US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM).

US Senator Bill Nelson of the Florida Democratic Party cites four reasons for the formation of the fleet: "the growing economic strength of Brazil, the aggressively hostile attitude of Venezuela, the increasing trade through the Panama Canal and the age of Fidel Castro".[22] The French newspaper Le Figaro became even clearer: "In order to counter the growing left-wing governments in their backyard, the USA decided to re-establish the Fourth Fleet."

It is assembled around the two amphibious assault ships USS Kearsarge and USS Boxer.[23]

Fifth Fleet, Middle East

The Fifth Fleet has a visible presence in the Persian Gulf as well as in the adjacent sea areas. It was originally formed on April 26, 1944 from units of the Central Pacific Fleet and disbanded after the war. During the First Gulf War, the region was patrolled by forces from both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets. In July 1995, the events made a separate fleet for this region necessary. After 48 years, the Fifth Fleet was set up a second time and now cruises in the Persian Gulf, Red Sea and the Arabian Sea. The headquarters are in Manama (Bahrain). This association usually consists of at least one carrier group, an amphibious group and other land-based naval aviators and other surface and underwater units. There is no designated flagship.

Sixth Fleet, Mediterranean

The headquarters of the Sixth Fleet is located on the amphibious command ship of the Blue Ridge classUSS Mount Whitney (LCC-20) with home port Gaeta (Italy). The Sixth Fleet consists of around 40 ships, 175 aircraft and 21,000 men in combat and support units, which are divided into at least one carrier group, an amphibious group, a naval expedition unit (MEU), a logistics group and a submarine group.

Seventh Fleet, Western Pacific and Indian Ocean

The Seventh Fleet, established during World War II, is the largest of all American front-line fleets with 50–60 ships, 350 aircraft and 60,000 men. The Seventh Fleet and its task forces have three main tasks:

  • Assistance in natural disasters and joint military operations
  • Operational management of all Navy units in the region
  • Defense of the Korean Peninsula.

Of the ships currently assigned to the Seventh Fleet, 18 operate from US bases in Japan and Guam, including the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) as America's only aircraft carrier permanently stationed outside the United States. These 18 ships are the central element of the American presence in Asia. They are 17 days closer to potential conflict areas in Asia than their counterparts at bases in the US. The flagship of the Seventh Fleet is the amphibious ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19), located in Yokosuka, Japan.

Tenth fleet; U.S. Fleet Cyber ​​Command / U.S. Tenth Fleet

The 10th fleet was built up from 1941 and officially set up on May 20, 1943. Their task was to protect the US home waters against attacks, especially German submarines.[24] She was particularly responsible for the development of new anti-submarine methods.[25] It was dissolved in 1945.

In 2010 the U.S. Navy set up its own cyber command and referred to it as the 10th Fleet with reference to its tradition as an experimental command. It reports to the Chief of Naval Operations. The headquarters are in Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. The 10th Fleet Commander's job is to protect all U.S. cyber forces. Navy worldwide and lead cyber operations. This includes electronic warfare.[26]


Special forces

With the US Navy SEALs and the Special Boat Squadrons (SBS), both of which are subordinate to the United States Naval Special Warfare Command (NAVSPECWARCOM), the US Navy has two special forces at its disposal. Both units were set up during the Vietnam War and are the US Navy units responsible for unconventional warfare. A special part of these units together forms the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU), a special unit with the focus on counter-terrorism and hostage rescue. It is also administratively and technically subordinate to the US Naval Special Warfare Command (NAVSOC), but operationally to the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the united special command for the global military fight against terrorism. This means that the Navy trains, provides and equips this unit, but has no operational command over it, as it lies with the JSOC and thus with the superordinate US Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

Military justice

Law enforcement takes for the Navy and the Marine Corps, in addition to the on-site military police, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service(NCIS) true. The Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the US Navy ("JAG") deals with the legal side and legal advice to commanders.

medical corps

This is for the medical services of the US Navy and the US Marine Corps Medical Corps (United States Navy) responsible. Commander of the Navy Medicine is the Surgeon General of the Navy. He is the boss of the US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery(BUMED) in Washington, D.C.


The Navy maintains the greatest degree of tradition within the United States Armed Forces.[27] Most marines see themselves as part of one of three main communities, each anchored in a specific weapon platform (platform communities), and themselves have further social subdivisions; these are the ships on the surface of the water (surface warfare), Submarines and naval aviation.[28] In the context of a strong general identification, these different identities come into play primarily in political processes, for example the annual distribution of the defense budget.


The US Navy is demanding a budget of 161 billion US dollars from the military budget in fiscal year 2021.[29]

Recruitment and training

Basic training

The basic training in the United States Navy Unlike the other armed forces, it is held centrally and lasts 8 weeks. The training center, that Recruit Training Command, located on Naval Station Great Lakes, in North Chicago, Lake County, Illinois.

Officer training

The United States Naval Academy (USNA) is the central institute for the training of candidate officers in the Navy and the US Marine Corps (USMC). The USNA is one of the most prestigious universities in the country. It is funded by the Department of Defense and is located on the north side of the city of Annapolis, Maryland on Chesapeake Bay.

Another option for becoming an officer in the US Navy or Marine Corps is through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC), which offers military training alongside a civilian college degree. Currently, 20 percent of naval officers and 11 percent of officers in the USMC are graduating from the NROTC. College applicants can also qualify for officers in the US Navy by attending a 12-week course at the US Navy's Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island.

The higher academic education takes place at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, while the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. serves higher military training and research.


Wikipedia: WikiProject Events / Past / 2009

US Navy ships

From a quantitative point of view, the US Navy ship population is declining overall. In the Second World War, the armed forces had almost 6,700 ships. The total fleet was reduced to 350 units after the Cold War, in which the navy of the 600 ships stood out. In 2009 the number of ships added up to around 280.[30]


The US Navy uses letter abbreviations to classify a type of ship. These abbreviations with a serial number are part of the ship's name, e.g. B. "USS NIMITZ (CVN-68)".

Notable ships

Aircraft carrier are militarily and politically the most important weapon of the Navy. With their aircraft they can demonstrate military power from a neutral location (international waters) far into hostile territory and exert political pressure at any point in the world.

Submarines are the strategic weapon of the Navy and can serve both to monitor enemy naval activities and as a platform for guided missiles (including nuclear).





Naval aircraft

See also: US Forces Active Aircraft List, United States Military Aviation History

Four F / A-18 Super Hornets flying in formation

The Navy is currently operating the F / A-18A-D “Hornet” and F / A-18E / F “Super Hornet” fighters from its aircraft carriers. For electronic warfare, the Navy maintains a fleet of EA-6B "Prowler" on its carriers, which since 2009 has been replaced by the EA-18G "Growler", a modification of the Great Hornet, is replaced. Until 2009, the S-3 "Viking" were stationed on the carriers for submarine hunting and air refueling. The E-2C "Hawkeye" is used as an early warning aircraft. In September 2006 the F-14 "Tomcat" was officially withdrawn from service, and in 2004 it became the Tomcat AIM-54 Phoenix, the only long-range air-to-air missile of the US armed forces, was decommissioned. From 2016 the F-35C Lightning II, which are currently in the test phase, will be put into service.

The Navy also maintains various helicopters. The standard platform today is the SH-60 "Sea Hawk", until 2009 models of the SH-3 "Sea King" were also in service.

From land, the Navy uses the P-3 "Orion", which is currently the only active maritime patrol aircraft in the Navy since the S-3 "Viking" was retired. The Orions to be replaced from 2013 by the new P-8 "Poseidon".

Aircraft used historically by the Navy include the following other fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft:

The US Navy also maintains an aerobatic team, the Blue Angels. The Navy's elite flight school, the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School, better known from the movie of the same name as Top gun, enjoys an excellent reputation.

As soon as the US President is on board a Navy aircraft, it receives the call sign Navy One.

Further development

The Navy is planning three aircraft carriers of the new Gerald R. Ford class.The Navy cruisers are to be replaced by ships from the CG (X) program, details of the construction figures are not yet known. The Arleigh-Burke-Destroyer program is to be continued. The hunting submarines of the Los Angeles class should gradually through the new Virginia class be replaced. A replacement for that Ohio class is not planned for the time being.

The shipbuilding plan submitted to Congress in 2006 provides for a navy size of 313 ships. By 2038, 31 support ships, 20 utilities, 20 coastal combat ships, 12 submarines with ballistic missiles, more than 50 hunting submarines, almost 80 littoral combat ships, 70 cruisers and destroyers and seven aircraft carriers should be built.

However, this is offset by considerable financial problems. In 2008, the US Congressional Department of Budgets estimated that the Navy's 30-year program would cost $ 25 billion a year, nearly a third more than budgeted. In addition, the construction program is accompanied by crises: the Zumwalt destroyer program is prematurely canceled after three ships; 32 units were once planned. The development of the Littoral Combat Ship doubles the budget. One of them, the type ship USS Freedom (LCS-1), launched on September 23, 2006 and entered service in November 2008. In addition, the Ford-class aircraft carriers will significantly exceed the planned cost of $ 13.7 billion each.

Signal sign

In 1859 Martha Coston (1826–1904) was granted a patent (No. 23,596) for the system of pyrotechnic signals that she had developed over more than ten years and that is still an integral part of communications in the United States Navy. Martha Coston founded her own companies, the Coston Signal Company and the Coston Supply Company, which were in operation until 1985. Their invention played an important role, especially in the Civil War.[32]


Map of naval bases within the United States as of 2004

The size, complexity and international presence require a large number of bases to sustain the armed forces' operations. While the majority of the bases are, with a few exceptions, on the west and east coasts of the country, the Navy operates a significant number of bases in countries with which the United States has established statutes for the deployment of troops.

East coast

In the Hampton Roads region in the state of Virginia, the largest naval base in the world has emerged from a collection of armaments companies, institutions and docks, which is due to the very favorable geographical conditions of this region. In total, the US Navy owns more than 146 km² of land here. Naval Station Norfolk is the home port of the Atlantic fleet. The state of Florida also stands out in the series of bases on the east coast, as it houses the third largest naval base, Naval Station Mayport, as well as one of the most important naval airfields, Naval Air Station Pensacola. The main submarine base, Naval Submarine Base New London, is in Groton, Connecticut. Two of the four Navy-owned shipyards, the Norfolk Naval Shipyard and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, are on the east coast.

West Coast

The second largest naval complex in the United States, Naval Base San Diego, is located in San Diego, California. In addition to the home port of the Pacific Fleet, the Naval Special Warfare Center, the training center for the SEALs, is also located here. Another cluster of institutions is located in Puget Sound, Washington, which includes the Navy's state-of-the-art base, Naval Station Everett, and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. The headquarters of the Pacific Fleet and other facilities are located in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard is also located there.

Selection of important bases abroad

Known members of the US Navy

  • Humphrey Bogart - actor
  • Ernest Borgnine, Gunner’s Mate, First Class Actor
  • George H. W. Bush, Lieutenant - Former US President, youngest naval aviator during World War II
  • Jimmy Carter, Lieutenant Commander - former US President, Cold War submarine driver, later Nobel Prize winner
  • Roger B. Chaffee, Lieutenant Commander - Astronaut, Apollo 1
  • John Coltrane, Seaman, First Class Jazz Saxophonist
  • Bill Cosby - actor
  • Kirk Douglas, Lieutenant Junior Grade actor
  • Henry Fonda, Lieutenant Junior Grade actor, served with Naval Intelligence during World War II
  • Gus Hall, Machinist’s Mate - American politician of the CPUSA
  • Grace Hopper, Rear Admiral - American computer scientist
  • Lyndon B. Johnson, Commander - Former US President, received the Silver Star for his service in the South Pacific
  • John F. Kennedy, Lieutenant - Former US President, Speedboat Commander in World War II
  • John Sidney McCain III, Captain - Naval aviator in the Vietnam War, spent five years in captivity from 1968–1973, US Senator from Arizona, two-time US presidential candidate (2000 and 2008)
  • Richard M. Nixon, Commander - Former US President, World War II supplies officer
  • Hyman Rickover, Admiral - Immigrant from Poland, head of the nuclear submarine program
  • Alan Shepard, Rear Admiral - Naval aviator, first American astronaut (Mercury program), 5th man on the moon (Apollo program)
  • John Young, Captain - Naval Aviator, and Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle pilot
  • Jack Lemmon, Ensign - actor, 2-time Oscar winner

See also


  • Dirk Bönker: Militarism in a global age. Naval ambitions in Germany and the United States before World War I. Cornell University Press, Ithaca NY et al. 2012, ISBN 978-0-8014-5040-2.
  • Sebastian Bruns: World Maritime Power and Maritime Security: Selected Strategies, Capacities, and Challenges of the United States of America. In: Sebastian Bruns, Kerstin Petretto, David Petrovic: Maritime security. VS-Verlag, Wiesbaden 2013, ISBN 978-3-531-18479-1, pp. 165-182.
  • Sebastian Bruns: Between Top Gun and Homer Simpson. The US Navy and popular culture. In: MarineForum, 10/2010, pp. 51-53.
  • Elmer B. Potter, Chester W. Nimitz, Jürgen Rohwer: Sea power. A naval war history from antiquity to the present. Bernard & Graefe, Munich 1974, ISBN 3-7637-5112-2.
  • Denise E. Pilato: Martha Coston: A Woman, a War, and a Signal to the World. In: International Journal of Naval History. Vol. 1, No. April 1, 2002.
  • Martha J. Coston: A signal success. The Life and Travels of Mrs. Martha J. Coston. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia PA 1886.

Web links

Individual evidence