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U.S. Navy History and Concept


“Honor, Courage and Commitment”, words, which are simple in perception, while having such a weight for anyone, who decided dedicating his/her life serving in the United States Navy. Although these words can be related to the military service in general, the principles of core values are associated with the Navy, where the since the early days, and specifically during the American Revolution, the principles of core values carried on to today. The United States Navy is one of two independent military services that form the Naval Services within the Department of the Navy, and one of the US Armed Forces. The mission of the Navy is to “maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.”(“Navy Organization,” 2008). This paper examines the Navy in terms of its history, structure, and communication, providing a summary of the Navy’s organization.

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The birth of the US Navy can be traced back to October, 1775, when the Continental Congress voted to “fit out two sailing vessels, armed with ten carriage guns, as well as swivel guns, and manned by crews of eighty, and to send them out on a cruise of three months to intercept transports carrying munitions and stores to the British army in America.”(“The Birth of the Navy of the United States,” 2000). That was the first seed after which the Navy grew to become the largest Navy in the world. First established as an opposition to the British superiority at the sea, the decision to hold fleets for the defense of local waters was debated in the Congress. However, after subsequent opportunities for naval movement occurred, the Congress established a Naval Committee, which was charged with equipping the fleet, and which formed the Continental Navy. The achievement of the Continental Navy includes seizing enemy supplies, carrying correspondence to Europe, and protecting convoys and trade routes. The tradition started with the Continental Navy, including the core values mentioned at the beginning of the paper, were carried on by the current US Navy (“The Birth of the Navy of the United States,” 2000).

Currently, there are more than 700 thousand people serving as Navy personnel, among which 331,278 in active duty (“Status of the Navy,” 2009). The number of deployable battle force ships is about 285 112 ships being away from homeport. The current development in the Navy force, from two sailing vessels into the largest Navy in the world, can be seen as a result of continued efforts focused on developing the US armed force, as well as a history of more than two hundred years that witnessed wars, conflicts and operations.


The structure of the Navy is shared with the Marine Corps in certain aspect, where both are part of a dual command structure:

an administrative structure that originates with the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations, and the Commandant of the Marine Corps; and an operational structure that originates with the President, the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Unified Commanders-in-Chief (CinCs) (Navy Vision).

The administrative structure of the Navy, in order to maximize economy and efficiency has a traditional pyramidal structure in which the hierarchy is established with the principles of organizational design. The flow of the structure starts with the President and the Secretary of defense, going to the secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations, and to the Commanders-in-Chief of the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets, both of which operate in the operational commands as well, and the Commander of Naval Reserve Force (Navy Vision).

The operational structure of the Navy include operating forces, which are subordinated to four Unified commands, i.e. USA Command, European Command, Pacific Command and Central Command, where the Naval component of each comprises of the Atlantic Fleet, Naval Forces and Europe, the Pacific Fleet, Naval Forces and Central Command respectively. The current dual structure has resulted from the objective of reliving the Fleet and task force commander from the burden of managerial and administrative tasks that might detract the forces from their main task, which is commanding the forces. Accordingly, the intersection of the administrative and the operational chain of command is at the level of each fleet commander-in-chief, where “[t]he administrative organization is permanent in nature and supports, with forces and staff personnel, the task-oriented operational organization.”(Navy Vision). In that regard, there is a differentiation of separate functions, for the chains of command are responsive to both, The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) and unified commander.

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First technological means of communication in the Navy can be considered the radio, where before and during the World War I, an extensive chain of fifty medium and high powered radio shore stations were constructed. Radio stations were built in many locations, where naval stations were constructed in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Guantanamo Bay and others. Currently the need for the stations has declined. Communication achievements can also be related to the accomplishments of the Naval Research Laboratory, where the breakthroughs in communications made by their scientists were significant in the area of transmission security, missile launches, detection systems and others (Sterling, 2008).

Additionally, an important division of the Naval communication activities includes Naval Security Group, a group which took the charge of the US Navy communications intelligence activities for more than 50 years. Currently Naval Security Group was aligned with the Naval Network Warfare Command, after the group as a separate organization was disbanded in 2005.

Culture and Relationships

The core values can be seen as a one of the cultural aspects, characteristic to the US Navy, and which gained recognition as one of its basic principles (“The CORE VALUES,” 2008). In that regard, the culture might be seen through unwritten rules and customs which are accepted and followed throughout the Navy. Nevertheless, there are several aspects that are under formal regulations in the Navy, among which personal relationships. The ability of having a relationship or friendship might be a common issue within social structures, but in the Navy such aspect is strictly regulated within policies. The existence of a chain of command can be seen as one of the aspect influential in that matter. Additionally, any relationships between officers and enlisted members were traditionally contrary to “naval custom because they undermine the respect for authority, which is essential to Navy’s ability to accomplish its military mission.” (Powers, 2009). In that regard, the Navy has always relied on customs and traditions, in which the personal relationships were regulated within the bounds of the acceptable and the prohibited personal relationships, including officer-enlisted relationships, as well as improper relationships and social interaction between officer members as well as between enlisted members (Powers, 2009). With women joining the Navy, where since 1978 women were assigned to duty aboard ships (“Women in the U.S. Navy: Historic Documents,” 2000), the issue of relationship might have taken another dimension that required policy regulation. Thus, other policies cover such cases as sexual harassment, where sexual harassment violates standards of behavior required of all Department of Navy personnel. In that regard, the policy defines sexual harassment, its zones, required training and channel of reporting. Similarly, the same can be said about drug use in the Navy, where zero tolerance policy ensures that all the members of US Navy are drug free (“NAVY RECRUITING COMMAND DELAYED ENTRY PROGRAM,” 2009).


It can be concluded that the US Navy as a branch of the military has gone through a long way, from being doubted of its necessity, to a major factor in the world authority and the largest Navy in the world. In that regard, it should be mentioned that taking the perspective presented in this paper, it can be noticed that beginning with the core values outlines the importance of people and their moral values as distinctive factor of success in the military, rather than on technology development alone.


  1. The Birth of the Navy of the United States. (2000). Naval Historical Center home page.
  2. The CORE VALUES. (2008). U.S. Navy.
  3. Navy Organization. (2008). U.S. Navy.
  6. Powers, R. (2009). Navy Fraternization Policies. Web.
  7. Status of the Navy. (2009). U.S. Navy.
  8. Sterling, C. H. (2008). Military communications : from ancient times to the 21st century. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO.
  9. Women in the U.S. Navy: Historic Documents. (2000). Naval Historical Center home page.

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