Navy Organization and Missions
In 2005, one-third of the U.S. Navy is forward-deployed. Its leadership’s fundamental mission remains to maintain, train and equip combat-ready naval forces capable of deterring aggression, winning wars and defending the freedom of the seas.
Developing upon the lessons learned during Operation Iraqi Freedom and the global war on terrorism, the Navy has enacted substantial revisions of its force structure. One of those revisions includes Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Vern Clark’s Fleet Response Plan (FRP), a new way of planning and organizing fleet assets for deployment.
The FRP provides the nation six aircraft carrier strike groups deployed or ready to deploy within 30 days and another two aircraft carrier strike groups ready to deploy within 90 days. Commander Fleet Forces Command, based at Norfolk, Va., is leading the implementation of FRP across the Navy.
U.S. Fleet Forces Command leads the implementation of the FRP, which has replaced the Cold War-era 18-month interdeployment training cycle and deployment schedule with a flexible training and deployment schedule lashed to “real world” events and requirements.
As of mid-October 2004, the Navy has more than 373,447 active-duty men and women (including 54,223 officers and 314,867 enlisted). An additional 146,087 serve in the Navy Reserves. The Department of the Navy employs 180,136 civilian employees. The active fleet includes 290 ships and more than 4,000 operational aircraft.
Today’s Navy inherits the legacy founded on Oct. 13, 1775, when the Continental Congress established the precursor of today’s naval fleet. But by 1785, the new republic had sold off the last ships of the Continental Navy. Navies were then, and are today, expensive to build and maintain. The folly of such shortsighted strategic thinking, however, was starkly revealed by the depredations of Mediterranean pirates and by other attacks on American overseas commerce beginning in the 1780s; these were followed by confrontation at sea with France during the 1790s.
In 1789, the U.S. Constitution empowered Congress “to provide and maintain a Navy.” Congress eventually was moved to action (in 1794) following repeated attacks on American interests abroad: it authorized the procuring and manning of six frigates. Three ships — the United States, Constellation and Constitution — were launched in 1797 and the U.S. Navy was born, along with its primary mission of defending U.S. commerce overseas. In April 1798, Congress established the Department of the Navy and Benjamin Stoddert was its first secretary.
The Secretary of the Navy
As the Navy evolves to adapt to the demands of the global war on terrorism, Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England has called upon the service to maintain its relevance by providing more immediate, persistent combat power, “to seize the initiative rapidly in joint operations as we will not have the luxury of time to prepare in advance.”
England is committed to leading the service in alignment with a National Defense Strategy that measures success based on the “10-30-30” metric. That measurement defines the goal for closing forces within 10 days, defeating an adversary within 30 days and resetting the force for additional action within another 30 days.
The Navy department includes two uniformed services: the Navy and the Marine Corps, and England told Seapower his goals, as well as those of the CNO and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Michael W. Hagee, are built on team efforts. A key objective for the years ahead is to take advantage of the current administration’s and Congress’ support for defense requirements, “to get everything done we can to leave a solid foundation for the Navy and Marine Corps team going into the future.”
The secretary conducts all of the affairs of the Department of the Navy, including recruiting, organizing, supplying, equipping, training, mobilizing and demobilizing. Also, the office oversees the construction, outfitting and repair of naval ships, equipment and facilities, and is responsible for the formulation and implementation of naval policies and programs that are consistent with the national security policies and objectives established by the president and the secretary of defense.
Within the Office of the Secretary, four assistant secretaries are assigned functional responsibilities for policy formulation and oversight related to the full spectrum of the tasks of organizing, building, outfitting, manning and training the Navy and Marine Corps. The assistant secretary of the Navy (research, development and acquisition), for example, is the department’s acquisition executive responsible for all research, development and procurement of defense systems for the Navy and Marine Corps: aviation, ships, weapons, ground systems and combat support.
The Department of the Navy’s senior uniformed staffs, serving under the CNO and the Marine Corps commandant, define force-structure requirements in their roles as warfare-resource sponsors — guiding the direction of, and priority for, Navy and Marine Corps acquisition programs in the defense budgeting processes. The secretary’s three principal civilian assistants oversee responsibilities for Navy shore installations and environmental matters, financial management, and manpower and reserve affairs. Other staff assistants provide expert support in legal, program appraisal, legislative affairs, public affairs and criminal-investigative matters.
The Chief of Naval Operations
Adm. Vern Clark has served as the CNO since July 21, 2000. He is the senior naval officer in the Department of the Navy and serves as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The CNO is responsible to the secretary of the Navy for the command, use of resources and operating efficiency of the operating forces of the Navy and of the Navy shore activities assigned by the secretary.
Clark’s tenure has been characterized by change and transformation, as he has led the Navy through a major administrative alignment effort to become more responsive to meeting fleet requirements. He also has defended his priorities in manpower and materiel readiness. In 2005, Clark is focused on improving the Navy’s human resources management systems and training future leaders.
“Our goal is to enhance our mission accomplishment and deliver a combat-credible Navy now and in the future,” he told all Navy personnel in his 2004 guidance memorandum.
Clark also has come forward as a strong advocate for change in the way the fleets are organized for deployment overseas. The Cold War-era aircraft Carrier Battle Group and Amphibious Ready Group are constructs of the past. The new paradigm, FRP, fosters flexibility and the capability to surge large numbers of forces forward to meet a crisis on short notice.
During the exercise Summer Pulse ’04, the Navy proved it could employ forces based on the FRP. With no more than 30 days notice, the Navy deployed seven aircraft carrier strike groups.
“The national strategy that has evolved over the course of the last couple of years is all about quick response,” Clark told a Current Strategy Forum at the Naval War College in June. “Speed of response is almost more important than anything else we deal with. Together with the U.S. Marine Corps, we are going to be able to provide twice the combat power in one-half the time.”
Clark is a champion of the Sea Basing concept, through which the Navy and Marine Corps will exploit their maritime maneuver space. A new generation of transport and logistics vessels, aircraft and fleet formations is in the offing to make sea basing a reality.
The change in embracing sea basing and other new concepts will come at the expense of old paradigms, Clark notes, arguing that the proposed fleet force structure goal of 375 vessels no longer is relevant.
“We have learned to run this company a lot more efficiently, we have become a lean and mean organization,” Clark told Navy League leadership at the conclusion of the 2004 Winter Meetings Nov. 6 in Arlington, Va. “We are getting more utility out of the platforms and we are more ready to go and more responsive than any time in our history.
“My 375 number is going to change; it is going to come down,” he added. “The number of ships is not relevant, and our task is to be relevant.”
The post of CNO was established by act of Congress in 1915 on the eve of the U.S. entry into World War I. Adm. William S. Benson was appointed as the first CNO. During World War II, Adm. Ernest J. King held the dual titles of CNO and commander in chief, U.S. Fleet, directing the worldwide operations of the Navy in coordination with the nation’s other armed services and with U.S. allies.
According to the official history of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), combat operations during World War II revealed the need for a formal joint-command structure, and the wartime JCS arrangement offered a workable model. The first legislative step was the passage of the National Security Act of 1947, which formally established the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It laid the foundation for the series of legislative and executive changes that produced today’s U.S. defense organization.
As a member of the JCS, the CNO is the principal naval adviser to the president and the secretary of defense on the conduct of war, and the principal adviser and naval executive to the secretary of the Navy on the conduct of the activities of the Department of the Navy. The CNO’s assistants include the vice chief of naval operations, the deputy chiefs of naval operations and a number of other high-ranking officers.
These officers and their staffs are assigned to what is called the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. The CNO’s responsibilities as a member of the JCS take precedence over all of his other assigned duties.
Organization and Missions
The Navy’s operating forces comprise the ships and the aircraft assigned to the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific Fleets, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, as well as those of the Military Sealift Command. Additional operating units fall under the command of the Chief of Naval Reserve, the Naval Special Warfare Command and Operational Test and Evaluation forces.
The Navy’s primary operational commanders have a dual chain of command. Administratively, they report to the CNO and provide, train and equip naval forces. Operationally, they provide naval forces and report to the appropriate regional unified commanders for U.S. combatant commands. As units of the Navy enter the geographical area of responsibility (AOR) of a unified command, they are operationally assigned to the appropriate numbered Navy fleet. All Navy units also report to their appropriate type commanders (air, surface or submarine) for administrative purposes.
U.S. Fleet Forces Command, U.S. Atlantic Fleet
U.S. Fleet Forces Command is based at Norfolk, Va., and commanded by Adm. William J. Fallon. It was created in 2001 as a new organization responsible for overall coordination, establishment and implementation of integrated requirements and policies for manning, equipping and training all Navy operational units. The commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, also is responsible for the missions of U.S. Atlantic Fleet, including its mission to provide combat-ready forces to support U.S. and NATO commanders in regions of conflict throughout the world. On Oct. 1, 2002, Atlantic Fleet became the naval component commander for the new joint U.S. Northern Command, and Fleet Forces Command now inherits responsibility for all Navy operational and training matters under Northern Command. Additionally, Fleet Forces Command is the senior fleet organization with authority over the requirements and readiness processes of fleets on both coasts and those based overseas.
The geographic AOR of Atlantic Fleet remains unchanged, covering a massive geographic expanse that encompasses the Atlantic Ocean from the North Pole to the South Pole, the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean waters from Central and South America to the Galapagos Islands. The Norwegian, Greenland and Barents Seas, and the waters around Africa extending to the Cape of Good Hope also fall within the AOR.
The primary operational command at Norfolk is the U.S. Second Fleet/NATO Striking Fleet Atlantic, under Vice Adm. Mark P. Fitzgerald. The East Coast’s shore-infrastructure management is located at three regional commands headquartered in New London, Conn., Norfolk, Va., and Jacksonville, Fla.
U.S. Naval Forces Europe, U.S. Sixth Fleet
The commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe (COMUSNAVEUR), Adm. Michael G. Mullen, provides overall command and operational control of all U.S. naval forces assigned to the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM). From his headquarters in London, Mullen coordinates his forces with other U.S. and allied forces operating within the European Command’s AOR to carry out the command’s assigned missions.
In addition, as a naval component commander, COMUSNAVEUR develops operational plans and policy and coordinates logistics, communications, legal and administrative support among naval forces operating in the USEUCOM AOR — which encompasses Europe and its contiguous waters, the Mediterranean Sea and the continent of Africa. Mullen also is the commander of NATO’s Joint Force Command, Naples, Italy.
COMUSNAVEUR’s operating forces are composed of the ships and aircraft of the U.S. Sixth Fleet operating in the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea and adjacent areas. Divided into task forces, the U.S. naval forces forward-deployed to the Sixth Fleet usually include an aircraft Carrier Battle Group, an Amphibious Ready Group, a Marine Expeditionary Unit and various support ships, as well as land-based patrol aircraft and nuclear-powered submarines.
U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. Third Fleet, U.S. Seventh Fleet
Adm. Walter F. Doran, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, commands naval forces in a geographic AOR covering more than 50 percent of the earth’s surface — just over 100 million square miles. Each day, Pacific Fleet ships are at sea in the Pacific, Indian and Arctic Oceans from the West Coast of the United States to the Arabian Gulf. The Pacific Fleet is the world’s largest naval command, extending from the West Coast of the United States to the eastern shoreline of Africa and from the North Pole to the South Pole — an area home to more than half the population of the world.
The Pacific Fleet, with its U.S. Third and U.S. Seventh Fleets, keeps the sea lanes open, deters aggression, ensures regional stability and supports humanitarian-relief activities — providing a stabilizing influence in a vast ocean area during periods of tension and conflict.
The Pacific Fleet’s contribution to the Navy’s heritage dates back to 1821 and the establishment that year of the Pacific Squadron, the first permanent U.S. naval presence in the region. This small force initially confined its activities to the waters off South America, but expanded its scope to include the Western Pacific in 1835, when the East India Squadron joined the force.
From its headquarters at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, today’s U.S. Pacific Fleet has increased operations with friendly and allied navies, helping to ensure freedom of the seas for all nations. The Pacific Fleet’s AOR also includes the Indian Ocean, where aircraft Carrier Battle Groups and Amphibious Ready Groups operate in support of U.S. national interests. U.S. Pacific Fleet Navy and Marine Corps assets are regularly assigned to the operational control of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, and to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, for deployments to the Persian Gulf and North Arabian Sea.
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. Fifth Fleet
Vice Adm. David C. Nichols Jr., commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), serves as the naval component commander for the U.S. Central Command and as commander of the U.S. Fifth Fleet. From his headquarters in Bahrain, Nichols is responsible to the commander, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), for the conduct of naval operations in the CENTCOM AOR and to the CNO for training and equipping his assigned U.S. Navy forces.
NAVCENT’s AOR reaches from the Horn of Africa through the Arabian Gulf and into Central Asia and includes 25 nations representing diverse political, economic and cultural elements in an area encompassing 7.5 million square miles, four major bodies of water and three strategic choke points (through which pass 70 percent of the world’s oil production), making it one of the most important, but potentially volatile, regions of the world.
As a numbered fleet commander, Nichols exercises overall command and control of his assigned forces including Carrier Battle Groups, an Amphibious Ready Group with an embarked Marine Expeditionary Unit, surface combatants, submarines, maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft and logistics ships. The U.S. Fifth Fleet maintains a highly visible presence in support of the overall U.S. National Security Strategy.
The Shore Establishment
The commands and organizations of the shore establishment support the fleet through the repair of ships, aircraft, weapons, machinery and electronics; communications; recruitment, training and education; legal services; intelligence; meteorological and oceanographic research; the development of naval doctrine; storage and supply support for repair parts, fuel and munitions; and medical and dental care for active-duty personnel, retirees and their families
Naval Installations Command, under Rear Adm. Christopher E. Weaver, reporting directly to the CNO, oversees fleet readiness requirements related to facilities and shore station management, 10 regions in the continental United States and six regions overseas.
Recruiting and retaining sailors, enlisted and officers, are the highest priorities for the Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS). Vice Adm. Gerald L. Hoewing leads the bureau, serving as both chief of naval personnel and deputy CNO (manpower and personnel). BUPERS — located at Washington, D.C., and at Millington, Tenn., — oversees Navy recruiting, assignment policies and programs, and the enlisted advancement and officer promotion processes as well as personnel pay, bonus and retention policies.
Similarly, the Naval Education and Training Command, under Vice Adm. James K. Moran, is responsible to the CNO for the education and training of Navy and Marine Corps personnel, officer and enlisted. Moran manages a network of training and education programs throughout the United States and on ships at sea. One of the largest shore commands in the Navy, the command is composed of approximately 22,000 military, civilian and contract personnel stationed at 190 activities nationwide. A daily average of more than 47,000 military, civilian and foreign students are in training in more than 3,600 different courses at 30 installations. The training command also supervises and manages 57 Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) units at colleges and universities throughout the United States and 570 Naval Junior ROTC units at civilian high schools in 43 states, Washington, D.C., Guam, Italy and Japan.
The Bureau of Medicine and Surgery under Vice Adm. Donald C. Arthur provides health care service to more than 550,000 active-duty Navy and Marine Corps personnel, and an additional 2.6 million retired and family members — at a little more than half the national per-capita average cost for medical care. Navy health-care professionals also provide medical support during contingency, humanitarian and joint operations around the world.
The Navy’s plan for providing health care to its personnel is based on the Force Health Protection plan. This is a focused and integrated approach to protect and sustain the services’ people. Under the plan, medical care at U.S. Navy facilities has improved. In recent years, average objective accreditation scores for Navy hospitals were in the 90th percentile — significantly exceeding the average scores for civilian hospitals. Navy medicine continues to find innovative ways to provide convenient and cost-effective medical and dental care to service members. Pier-side clinics, deployments of health-care practitioners with the operating forces and new programs at recruit training activities all save valuable time and help to keep U.S. sailors and Marines in good health.
The Systems Commands
The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), commanded by Vice Adm. Phillip M. Balisle, is the Navy’s central activity for designing, engineering, integrating, building and procuring U.S. naval ships, shipboard weapons and combat systems.
NAVSEA’s responsibilities include the maintenance, repair, modernization and conversion of in-service ships and their weapons and combat systems. Additionally, the command provides technical, industrial and logistics support for naval ships and ensures the proper design and development of the total ship, including contractor-furnished shipboard systems.
Other important NAVSEA functions include Navy salvage-and-diving operations, explosive-ordnance safety and disposal, and the support of ship construction for the Maritime Administration.
NAVSEA is the largest of the five Navy systems commands, accounting for nearly one-fifth of the Navy’s budget (approximately $20 billion).
Based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., the Naval Aviation Systems Command (NAVAIR) team, led by Vice Adm. Walter B. Massenburg, develops, acquires and supports naval aeronautical and related technology systems for the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. NAVAIR is composed of six elements working as a fully coordinated team: the Naval Air Systems Command, the Naval Inventory Control Point (NAVICP) and four naval aviation PEOs.
The latter are responsible for the acquisition and full life-cycle management of most of the aircraft and weapons used by the fleet. The NAVICP is responsible for providing spare and repair parts throughout the life cycles of all naval weapons systems. Although it retains its core capabilities in-house, the NAVAIR team executes most of its work (nearly 80 percent) by contracting with private industry.
The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), commanded by Rear Adm. Kenneth D. Slaght, is headquartered at San Diego. SPAWAR’s more than 7,600 employees support a $4.7 billion program for developing, delivering and maintaining Navy command, control, communications, computer, intelligence and surveillance systems.
SPAWAR has additional responsibilities to provide management-information systems, infrastructure and communications applications for Navy combat-support systems. Additionally, the command’s mission includes developing and acquiring undersea-surveillance, global weather and oceanographic-forecasting, and navigational systems.
The Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) manages logistics programs in the areas of supply operations, contracting, conventional ordnance, resale, fuel, transportation, security assistance, food service and other quality-of-life programs. NAVSUP commander Rear Adm. Daniel H. Stone also is the chief of the Navy Supply Corps.
The Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), led by Rear Adm. Michael K. Loose, manages the planning, design and construction of facilities for U.S. Navy activities around the world. NAVFAC provides technical, engineering and program-management support for public works, family housing and public utilities for the Department of the Navy. It also acquires and disposes of the Department of the Navy’s real estate and is the program manager for Navy bachelor housing.
NAVFAC provides technical, engineering and program-management support to expedite the realignment and closure of naval bases and the command manages all of the Navy Department’s environmental projects and programs ashore.