30 April 1798
April 30, 1798; 218 years ago (1798-04-30)
United States Navy United States Marine Corps
Sean Stackley (Acting), Secretary of the Navy
U.S. Department of Defense
Washington, D.C., United States
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of the Navy (DoN) was established by an Act of Congress on April 30, 1798 (initiated by the recommendation of James McHenry), to provide a government organizational structure to the United States Navy, the United States Marine Corps (from 1834 onward) and, when directed by the President (or Congress during time of war), the United States Coast Guard, as a service within the Navy, though each remain independent service branches. The Department of the Navy was an Executive Department and the Secretary of the Navy was a member of the President's cabinet until 1949, when amendments to the National Security Act of 1947 changed the name of the National Military Establishment to the Department of Defense and made it an Executive Department. The Department of the Navy then became, along with the Department of the Army and Department of the Air Force, a Military Department within the Department of Defense: subject to the authority, direction and control of the Secretary of Defense.
The Department of the Navy is headed by the Secretary of the Navy, also known as the SECNAV in naval jargon, who has the authority to conduct all of the affairs of the Department: subject to lawful authority, the Secretary of Defense, and the President. The Secretary of the Navy is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Secretary is assisted by an Under Secretary of the Navy, four Assistant Secretaries of the Navy and a General Counsel of the Department of the Navy, who are also appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.
The highest ranking military officers in the Department of the Navy are the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps, who are the principal military advisors to the Secretary of the Navy. They supervise their respective military services of the Department of the Navy, and in a separate capacity serves as members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They are assisted by a Vice Chief of Naval Operations and an Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps.
Unlike its U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force counterparts, the Department of the Navy comprises two uniformed services: the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps (sometimes collectively called the "naval services" or "sea services").
The Department of the Navy consists of all elements of the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps. According to Navy Regulations Section 0204-2, the term "Navy Department" refers only to the executive offices at the seat of government.
The Department of the Navy is composed of the following:
A provision in the initial House of Representatives bill (H.R. 1585) for the fiscal year 2008 national defense authorization would have renamed the Department of the Navy as the "Department of the Navy and Marine Corps." The bill passed in the House on 17 May 2007, but encountered opposition among members of the DoD civilian leadership and among senior Navy admirals and Marine Corps generals.
In the Senate, the provision was replaced in S. Amdt. 2011, an amendment in the nature of a substitute proposed by Senator Carl Levin of Michigan on 9 July 2007 and agreed to by unanimous consent on 1 October 2007. The amendment removed the renaming provision and also made other changes. The House version including the provision was withdrawn in conference committee and so was not included in the final National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008.