United States Secretary of the Navy

United States Secretary of the Navy
Secretary of the Navy
Flag of the Secretary of the Navy
Ray Mabus

since 19 May 2009
Style The Honorable
Inaugural holder Benjamin Stoddert
Formation 18 June 1798
Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy
Salary Executive Schedule Level II
Website Official Website

The Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) of the United States of America is the head of the Department of the Navy, a component organization (military department) of the Department of Defense. The Secretary of the Navy was a member of the President's Cabinet until 1947, when the Navy, Army, and newly created Air Force were placed in the Department of Defense and the Secretary of the Navy was placed under the Secretary of Defense.[1] The position of Secretary of the Navy is filled by appointment of the Executive Branch and requires confirmation by a majority vote of the Senate.



Subordinate to the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Navy is responsible for, and has statutory authority (Title 10 of the United States Code Section 5013) to "conduct all the affairs of the Department of the Navy", i.e. as its Chief Executive Officer. The Department of the Navy consists of two Uniformed Services: the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps.[2] In effect, all authority within the Navy and Marine Corps is derivative of the authority vested in the Secretary of the Navy. Specifically enumerated responsibilities of the SECNAV in beforementioned section are: recruiting, organizing, supplying, equipping, training, mobilizing, and demobilizing. The Secretary also oversees the construction, outfitting, and repair of naval ships, equipment and facilities. SECNAV is responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies and programs that are consistent with the national security policies and objectives established by the President or the Secretary of Defense.[3][4]

Whenever the United States Coast Guard operates as a service within the Department of the Navy, the Secretary of the Navy has the same powers and duties with respect to the Coast Guard as the Secretary of Homeland Security when the Coast Guard is not operating as a service in the Navy.[5] The principal military advisers to the SECNAV are the two service chiefs of the naval services: for matters regarding the Navy the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), and for matters regarding the Marine Corps the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC). The CNO and the Commandant act as the principal executive agents of the SECNAV within their respective services to implement the orders of the Secretary.

The Director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service also reports directly to the SECNAV.

The Navy Secretariat

The Office of the Secretary of the Navy is also known as the Navy Secretariat, or simply just as the Secretariat in a DoN setting. The principal officials of the Secretariat include the Under Secretary of the Navy (the Secretary's principal civilian deputy), the Assistant Secretaries of the Navy (ASN), the General Counsel of the Department of the Navy, the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, the Naval Inspector General, the Chief of Legislative Affairs, and the Chief of Naval Research. The Office of the Secretary of the Navy has sole responsibility within the Department of the Navy for acquisition, auditing, financial and information management, legislative affairs, public affairs, research, and development.[6]

The Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps have separate staffs, the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters Marine Corps.

Secretaries of the Navy[7][8]

  Denotes acting Secretaries

Continental Congress

Position Picture Name Term of Office
Chairman of the Marine Committee US Navy 031029-N-6236G-001 A painting of President John Adams (1735-1826), 2nd president of the United States, by Asher B. Durand (1767-1845)-crop.jpg John Adams Oct 13, 1775–1779
Member of the Marine Committee John langdon.jpg John Langdon 13 October 1775 - ?
Member of the Marine Committee Silas Deane - Du Simitier and B.L. Prevost.jpg Silas Deane 13 October 1775 - ?
Member of the Marine Committee Joseph Hewes.jpg Joseph Hewes 1775 [9]
Continental Navy Board
(under Marine Committee)
November 6, 1776 - 28 October 28, 1779
Chairman of the Continental Board of Admiralty Francis Lewis.jpg Francis Lewis Dec 1779 - 1780
Secretary of Marine Alexander McDougall February 7, 1781 - Aug 29, 1781
Agent of Marine
(devolved onto Superintendent of Finance)
Robert Morris.jpg Robert Morris Aug 29, 1781 - 1784 [10]

(post of Secretary of Marine created but remained vacant)

Executive Department 1798-1947

No. Picture Name State Term of Office Served under
1 Benjamin Stoddert SecNavy.jpg Benjamin Stoddert Maryland June 18, 1798–March 31, 1801 John Adams
2 Robert Smith SecNavy.jpg Robert Smith Maryland July 27, 1801 - March 4, 1809 Thomas Jefferson
3 Paul Hamilton SecNavy.jpeg Paul Hamilton South Carolina May 15, 1809–December 31, 1812 James Madison
4 William-Jones.jpg William Jones Pennsylvania January 19, 1813–December 1, 1814
5 BWCrowninshield.jpg Benjamin Williams Crowninshield Massachusetts January 16, 1815–September 30, 1818 James Madison, James Monroe
6 SmithThompson.jpg Smith Thompson New York January 1, 1819–August 31, 1823 James Monroe
7 Samuel L. Southard SecNavy.jpg Samuel Lewis Southard New Jersey September 16, 1823–March 4, 1829 James Monroe, John Quincy Adams
8 JohnBranch2.jpg John Branch North Carolina March 9, 1829–May 12, 1831 Andrew Jackson
9 Levi Woodbury.jpg Levi Woodbury New Hampshire May 23, 1831–June 30, 1834
10 Mahlon Dickerson.jpg Mahlon Dickerson New Jersey July 1, 1834–June 30, 1838 Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren
11 JKPaulding.jpg James Kirke Paulding New York July 1, 1838–March 4, 1841 Martin Van Buren
12 GEBadger.jpg George Edmund Badger North Carolina March 6, 1841–September 11, 1841 William Henry Harrison, John Tyler
13 Abel P. Upshur SecNavy.jpg Abel Parker Upshur Virginia October 11, 1841–July 23, 1843 John Tyler
14 David Henshaw SecNavy.jpg David Henshaw Massachusetts July 24, 1843–February 18, 1844
15 Thomas Gilmer newer.jpeg Thomas Walker Gilmer Virginia February 19, 1844–February 28, 1844
16 JYMason.jpg John Young Mason Virginia March 26, 1844–March 4, 1845
17 George Bancroft United States Secretary of Navy c. 1860.jpg George Bancroft Massachusetts March 11, 1845–September 9, 1846 James Knox Polk
18 JYMason.jpg John Young Mason Virginia September 10, 1846–March 4, 1849
19 WmBdPreston.jpg William Ballard Preston Virginia March 8, 1849–July 22, 1850 Zachary Taylor
20 William Alexander Graham - Brady-Handy.jpg William Alexander Graham North Carolina August 2, 1850–July 25, 1852 Millard Fillmore
21 JohnKennedy.jpg John Pendleton Kennedy Maryland July 26, 1852–March 4, 1853
22 JCDobbin.jpg James Cochran Dobbin North Carolina March 8, 1853–March 4, 1857 Franklin Pierce
23 Isaac Toucey - Brady-Handy.jpg Isaac Toucey Connecticut March 7, 1857–March 4, 1861 James Buchanan
24 GWelles-SecofNavy.jpg Gideon Welles Connecticut March 7, 1861–March 4, 1869 Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson
25 Adolph Borie, Brady-Handy bw photo portrait, ca1860-1875.jpg Adolph Edward Borie Pennsylvania March 9, 1869–June 25, 1869 Ulysses S. Grant
26 George Robeson 1865 1880.jpg George Maxwell Robeson New Jersey June 26, 1869–March 4, 1877
(acting) William Faxon cropped.jpg William Faxon March 4, 1877–March 13, 1877 Rutherford B. Hayes
27 RWThompson.jpg Richard Wigginton Thompson Indiana March 13, 1877–December 20, 1880
28 Nathan Goff, Jr. - Brady-Handy.jpg Nathan Goff, Jr. West Virginia January 7, 1881–March 4, 1881
29 William-Henry-Hunt.jpg William Henry Hunt Louisiana March 7, 1881–April 16, 1882 James Garfield, Chester A. Arthur
30 WEChandler.jpg William Eaton Chandler New Hampshire April 16, 1882–March 4, 1885 Chester A. Arthur
31 William Collins Whitney by Charles Milton Bell c1892.jpg William Collins Whitney New York March 7, 1885–March 4, 1889 Grover Cleveland
32 BFTracy.jpg Benjamin Franklin Tracy New York March 6, 1889–March 4, 1893 Benjamin Harrison
33 Hilary A. Herbert.jpg Hilary Abner Herbert Alabama March 7, 1893–March 4, 1897 Grover Cleveland
34 JDLong.jpg John Davis Long Massachusetts March 6, 1897–April 30, 1902 William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt
35 WHMoody.jpg William Henry Moody Massachusetts May 1, 1902–June 30, 1904 Theodore Roosevelt
36 Paul Morton.jpg Paul Morton Michigan July 1, 1904–June 30, 1905
37 CJBonaparte.jpg Charles Joseph Bonaparte Maryland July 1, 1905–December 16, 1906
38 VHMetcalf.jpeg Victor Howard Metcalf California December 17, 1906–November 30, 1908
39 Truman Handy Newberry.jpg Truman Handy Newberry Michigan December 1, 1908–March 4, 1909
40 GvLMeyer.jpg George von Lengerke Meyer Massachusetts March 6, 1909–March 4, 1913 William Howard Taft
41 Josephus Daniels 1.jpg Josephus Daniels North Carolina March 5, 1913–March 4, 1921 Woodrow Wilson
42 ECDenby.jpg Edwin Denby Michigan March 6, 1921–March 10, 1924 Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge
(acting) Theodore Roosevelt Jr. 1921.jpg Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. New York March 10, 1924–March 19, 1924 Calvin Coolidge
43 Curtis Dwight Wilbur.jpg Curtis Dwight Wilbur California March 19, 1924–March 4, 1929
44 CharlesAdamsIII.jpg Charles Francis Adams III Massachusetts March 5, 1929–March 4, 1933 Herbert Hoover
45 S001094.jpg Claude Augustus Swanson Virginia March 4, 1933–July 7, 1939 Franklin D. Roosevelt
46 Charles Edison.jpg Charles Edison New Jersey July 7, 1939–January 2, 1940
January 2, 1940–June 24, 1940
(acting) Lewis Compton June 24, 1940–July 11, 1940
47 Fknox.jpg William Franklin Knox Illinois July 11, 1940–April 28, 1944
(acting) Ralph Bard 1922.jpg Ralph A. Bard April 28, 1944–May 19, 1944
48 James Forrestal.jpg James Vincent Forrestal New York May 19, 1944–September 17, 1947 Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S Truman

Military Department (Department of Defense) 1947-

No. Picture Name Term of Office Served under
1 JohnLSullivan.jpg John L. Sullivan September 18, 1947–May 24, 1949 Harry S. Truman
2 Francis P. Matthews.jpg Francis P. Matthews May 25, 1949–July 31, 1951
3 DanAKimball.jpg Dan A. Kimball July 31, 1951–January 20, 1953
4 Robert B Anderson.jpeg Robert B. Anderson February 4, 1953–March 3, 1954 Dwight D. Eisenhower
5 CharlesSThomas.jpg Charles S. Thomas May 3, 1954–April 1, 1957
6 Thomas Gates official DoD photo.jpg Thomas S. Gates April 1, 1957–June 8, 1959
7 WilliamBFranke.jpg William B. Franke June 8, 1959–January 19, 1961
8 John Connally.jpg John B. Connally, Jr January 25, 1961–December 20, 1961 John F. Kennedy
9 FredKorth.jpg Fred Korth January 4, 1962–November 1, 1963
(acting) PaulBFay.jpg Paul B. Fay November 2, 1963–November 28, 1963 John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson
10 Paul Nitze.jpeg Paul H. Nitze November 29, 1963–June 30, 1967 Lyndon B. Johnson
(acting) Charles F. Baird July 1, 1967–August 31, 1967
11 Paul R Ignatius.jpg Paul R. Ignatius September 1, 1967–January 24, 1969
12 John Chafee.jpg John H. Chafee January 31, 1969–May 4, 1972 Richard M. Nixon
13 Warner(R-VA).jpg John W. Warner May 4, 1972–April 8, 1974
14 JohnWilliamMiddendorf.jpg J. William Middendorf, II April 8, 1974–January 20, 1977 Richard M. Nixon, Gerald Ford
15 WGClaytor.gif W. Graham Claytor, Jr. February 14, 1977–August 24, 1979 Jimmy Carter
16 Edward Hidalgo, head and shoulders, facing front.jpg Edward Hidalgo October 24, 1979–January 20, 1981
17 John Lehman, official photo as Secretary of the Navy, 1982.JPEG John Lehman February 5, 1981–April 10, 1987 Ronald Reagan
18 James Webb, Assistant Secretary of Defense, official photo.JPEG Jim Webb May 1, 1987–February 23, 1988
19 William L Ball.jpg William L. Ball March 28, 1988–May 15, 1989 Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush
20 Henry Lawrence Garrett III, official Navy photo, 1987.jpg Henry L. Garrett III May 15, 1989–June 26, 1992 George H.W. Bush
(acting) Daniel Howard June 26, 1992–July 7, 1992
21 Sean O'Keefe, official Navy photo, 1992.jpg Sean O'Keefe July 7, 1992–October 2, 1992
October 2, 1992–January 20, 1993
(acting) Admiral Frank Kelso, official military photo.JPEG Admiral Frank B. Kelso II January 20, 1993–July 21, 1993 Bill Clinton
22 DaltonJohn.jpg John H. Dalton July 22, 1993–November 16, 1998
23 Richard Danzig, official Navy photo.jpg Richard Danzig November 16, 1998–January 20, 2001
(acting) Robert Pirie, official photo portrait, circa 2001.jpg Robert B. Pirie, Jr. January 20, 2001–May 24, 2001 George W. Bush
24 Gordon England portrait.jpg Gordon R. England May 24, 2001–January 30, 2003
(acting) US Navy 030202-N-0000X-001 Under Secretary of the Navy.jpg Susan Livingstone January 30, 2003–February 7, 2003
(acting) US Navy 030402-N-0000X-001 Secretary of the Navy Hansford T. Johnson (Acting).jpg Hansford T. Johnson February 7, 2003–September 30, 2003
25 Gordon England portrait.jpg Gordon R. England October 1, 2003–December 29, 2005[11]
(acting) AvilesDionel.jpg Dionel M. Aviles December 29, 2005[11] - January 3, 2006[11]
26 Donald Winter, official photo as Secretary of the Navy, 2006.jpg Donald C. Winter January 3, 2006[11] - March 13, 2009[12] George W. Bush, Barack Obama
(acting) PennBJ.jpg B. J. Penn March 13, 2009[12] - May 19, 2009[13] Barack Obama
27 MabusRay.jpg Ray Mabus May 19, 2009[12] - Present


  1. ^ "Guide to Federal Records - General Records of the Department of the Navy, 1798–1947". http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/080.html#80.1. Retrieved September 23, 2007. 
  2. ^ "The US Navy". http://www.navy.mil/navydata/leadership/secnav_resp.asp. Retrieved September 23, 2007. 
  3. ^ "US CODE: Title 10,5013. Secretary of the Navy". http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode10/usc_sec_10_00005013----000-.html. Retrieved September 23, 2007. 
  4. ^ "U.S. Navy Biographies - The Honorable Donald C. Winter". http://www.navy.mil/navydata/bios/bio.asp?bioID=325. Retrieved September 23, 2007. 
  5. ^ "US CODE: Title 10,5013a. Secretary of the Navy: powers with respect to Coast Guard". http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode10/usc_sec_10_00005013---a000-.html. Retrieved September 23, 2007. 
  6. ^ "US CODE: Title 10,5014. Office of the Secretary of the Navy". http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode10/usc_sec_10_00005014----000-.html. Retrieved September 23, 2007. 
  7. ^ "Department of the Navy, Office of the General Counsel (DON-OGC) - OGC History". Archived from the original on July 24, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070724110938/http://ogc.navy.mil/ogchistory.asp. Retrieved September 23, 2007. 
  8. ^ Cahoon, Ben (2000). "United States Government". World Statesmen. http://worldstatesmen.org/USA_govt.html#Navy. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  9. ^ Joseph Hewes. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Naval Historical and Heritage Command.
  10. ^ Benson J. Lossing. Household History for All Readers. 1877. Republished in Our Country vol. 2
  11. ^ a b c d Staff reporter (2005-12-29). "Acting Deputy Defense Secretary Relinquishes Top Navy Post". American Forces Press Service. http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=18435. Retrieved 2009-05-18. "Navy Undersecretary Dionel M. Aviles will serve as acting Navy secretary effective today. Donald Winter, who was confirmed by the Senate last month, will be sworn in as the 74th secretary of the Navy on Jan. 3." 
  12. ^ a b c "Navy Secretary Departs Office" (Press release). United States Department of Defense. 2009-03-13. http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=12554. Retrieved 2009-05-18. "The 74th Secretary of the Navy, Donald C. Winter, resigned his office today as planned. Winter had agreed to remain in office until March 13, 2009, to ease the transition of the Department of Defense. [...] BJ Penn will be the acting Secretary of the Navy until the Senate confirms a nominee chosen by President Barack Obama." 
  13. ^ Staff reporter (2005-05-19). "Mabus Sworn in as New Navy Secretary". NNS. http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=18435. Retrieved 2009-05-20. "Ray Mabus, former Mississippi governor and U.S. ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was sworn in May 19 as the 75th secretary of the Navy."  (Archived by WebCite at WebCite)

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