Chief of Naval Operations
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ADM Jonathan W. Greenert
since: 23 September 2011
First ADM William S. Benson
Formation 11 May 1915
Website Official Website
The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) is a statutory office (10 U.S.C. § 5033) held by a four-star admiral in the United States Navy, and is the most senior naval officer assigned to serve in the Department of the Navy. The office is a military adviser and deputy to the Secretary of the Navy. In a separate capacity as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (10 U.S.C. § 151) the CNO is a military adviser to the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, the Secretary of Defense, and the President. The Chief of Naval Operations is typically the highest-ranking officer on active-duty in the U.S. Navy unless the Chairman and/or the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are naval officers.
The Chief of Naval Operations is an administrative position based in the Pentagon, and while the CNO does not have operational command authority over Naval forces as the title implies (that is nowadays within the purview of the Combatant Commanders who report to the Secretary of Defense), the CNO does exercise supervision of Navy organizations as the designee of the Secretary of the Navy.
The current Chief of Naval Operations is Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert.
Department of the Navy
The CNO reports directly to the Secretary of the Navy for the command, utilization of resources and operating efficiency of the operating forces of the Navy and of the Navy shore activities assigned by the Secretary. Under the authority of the Secretary of the Navy, the CNO also designates naval personnel and naval resources to the commanders of Unified Combatant Commands. The CNO also performs all other functions prescribed under 10 U.S.C. § 5033 and those assigned by the secretary or delegates those duties and responsibilities to other officers in his administration under his name. Like the other joint chiefs, the CNO is an administrative position and has no operational command authority over United States naval forces.
Joint Chiefs of Staff
The CNO is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and is thus the principal adviser to the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense and to the National Security Council on the conduct of naval warfare.
Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
The Chief of Naval Operations presides over the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OpNav), which is one of three headquarters staffs in Department of the Navy (the others being the Office of the Secretary of the Navy and Headquarters Marine Corps.)
Policy documents are issued in the form of OPNAV Instructions.
The Chief of Naval Operations is nominated by the President for appointment and must be confirmed via majority vote by the Senate. A requirement for being Chief of Naval Operations is having significant experience in joint duty assignments, which includes at least one full tour of duty in a joint duty assignment as a flag officer. However, the president may waive those requirements if he determines the officer is necessary for national interest. By statute, the CNO is appointed as a four-star admiral.
Former Official Residence
Number One Observatory Circle, located on the northeast grounds of the United States Naval Observatory in Washington, DC, was built in 1893 for its superintendent. The Chief of Naval Operations liked the house so much that in 1923 he took over the house as his own official residence. It remained the residence of the CNO until 1974, when Congress authorized its transformation to an official residence for the Vice President.
List of Chiefs of Naval Operations (1915 – present)
The position of CNO replaced the position of Aide for Naval Operations, which was a position established by regulation rather than statutory law.
A member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CNO is the principal naval advisor to the President and to the Secretary of the Navy on the conduct of war, and is the principal advisor and naval executive to the Secretary on the conduct of naval activities of the Department of the Navy.
|Began||Ended||Days of Service|
||ADM William S. Benson||11 May 1915||25 September 1919||1598|
||ADM Robert E. Coontz |||1 November 1919||21 July 1923||1358|
||ADM Edward W. Eberle||21 July 1923||14 November 1927||1577|
||ADM Charles F. Hughes||14 November 1927||17 September 1930||1099|
||ADM William V. Pratt||17 September 1930||30 June 1933||1017|
||ADM William H. Standley||1 July 1933||1 January 1937||1280|
||ADM William D. Leahy||2 January 1937||1 August 1939||941|
||ADM Harold R. Stark||1 August 1939||2 March 1942||944|
||FADM Ernest J. King||2 March 1942||15 December 1945||1384|
|10||FADM Chester W. Nimitz||
||December 15, 1945||December 15, 1947|
|11||ADM Louis E. Denfeld||
||December 15, 1947||November 2, 1949|
|12||ADM Forrest P. Sherman||
||November 2, 1949||July 22, 1951|
|13||ADM William M. Fechteler||
||August 16, 1951||August 17, 1953|
|14||ADM Robert B. Carney||
||August 17, 1953||August 17, 1955|
The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) is the senior military officer of the
Department of the Navy. The CNO is a four-star admiral and is responsible to the
Secretary of the Navy for the command, utilization of resources, and operating
efficiency of the operating forces of the Navy and of the Navy shore activities
assigned by the Secretary.
A member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CNO is the principal naval adviser to the President and to the Secretary of the Navy on the conduct of war, and is the principal adviser and naval executive to the Secretary on the conduct of activities of the Department of the Navy. Assistants are the Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO), the Deputy Chiefs of Naval Operations (DCNOs), the Assistant Chiefs of Naval Operations (ACNOs) and a number of other ranking officers. These officers and their staffs are collectively known as the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OpNav).
June 26, 1950 0915
Secretary of State Acheson was waiting for me at the airport as was Secretary of Defense Johnson. We hurried to Blair House where we were joined by Secretary of the Army Frank Pace. & Secretary of the Navy Francis Matthews; Secretary of the Air Force Thomas Finletter General of the Army Omar N. Bradley; the Army Chief General Collins; the Air Force Chief General Vandenberg; and Admiral Forrest Sherman Chief of Naval Operations.
Dean Acheson was accompanied by Undersecretaries Webb and Rusk and Assistant Secretary John Hickerson and Ambassador- at-Large Philip Jessup. It was late and we went at once to the dining room for dinner. I asked that no discussion take place until dinner was ended and over and the Blair House staff had withdrawn.
Earlier that Sunday evening. Acheson reported, the Security Council of the United Nations had, by a vote of nine to nothing, approved a resolution declaring that a breach of the peace had been committed by the North Korean action and ordering the North Koreans to cease action and withdraw their forces.
I then called on Acheson to present the recommendations which the State and Defense Departments had prepared. He presented the following recommendations for immediate action:
1) That MacArthur should evacuate the Americans from Korea --including the dependents of the military mission — and, in order to do so, should keep open the Kimp'o and other airports, repelling all hostile attacks thereon. In doing this, his air forces should stay south of the 38th Parallel.
2) MacArthur should be instructed to get ammunition and supplies to the Korean army by airdrop and otherwise.
3) That the Seventh Fleet should be ordered into the Formosa Strait to prevent the conflict from spreading to that area. We should make a statement that the fleet would repel any attack on Formosa and that no attacks should be made from Formosa on the mainland.
At this point I interrupted to say that the Seventh Fleet should be ordered north at once, but that I wanted to withhold making any statement until the fleet was in position. After this report I asked each person in turn to state his agreement or disagreement and any views he might have in addition.
Two things stand out in this discussion.
One was the complete, almost unspoken acceptance on the part of everyone that whatever had to be done to meet this aggression had to be done. There was no suggestion from anyone that either the United Nations or the United States could back away from it.
The other point which stands out was the difference in view of what might be called for Vandenberg and Sherman thought that air and naval aid might be enough. Collins said that if the Korean army was really broken, ground forces would be necessary.
I expressed the opinion that the Russians were trying to get Korea by default gambling that we would be afraid of starting a third world war and would offer no resistance. I thought that we were still holding the stronger hand, although how much stronger it was hard to tell.
At 1915 hours
that [Saturday] night [1915+1400=3315-2400=0915] the President landed
at Washington and drove directly to his temporary residence at Blair
House. Here were assembled the key officers of the Departments of State
and Defense, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff: General Omar Bradley
(chairman), General J. Lawton Collins (Army), Admiral Forrest P Sherman
(Navy), and General Hoyt S. Vandenberg (Air Force). Most of the talk
over the dinner table reflected a hope that the South Koreans could
hold with the help of American arms and equipment which General MacArthur
was sending them. The main theme of conversation, however, was that
the Communists appeared to be repeating patterns of aggression similar
to those acts which had set off World War II.
After dinner President Truman opened the conference with the statement that he did not wish to make decisions that night, except such as were immediately necessary. Secretary Acheson then presented three recommendations which had been prepared by the State and Defense Departments:
1) that MacArthur would send arms and ammunition to Korea,
2) that MacArthur would furnish ships and planes to assist and protect the evacuation of American dependents from Korea, and
3) that the U.S. Seventh Fleet would be ordered northward from the Philippines to report to MacArthur.
Truman asked for comments, and the discussion worked around to what the United States might have to do to save South Korea. Vandenberg and Sherman thought that air and naval aid might be enough. Collins stated that if the ROK Army was really broken, American ground forces would be needed. At the end of the meeting President Truman directed that orders be issued implementing the three recommendations made by the State and Defense Departments.#74