The Secretary of the Navy (or SECNAV) is a statutory officer (10 U.S.C. § 5013) and the head (chief executive officer) of the Department of the Navy, a military department (component organization) within the Department of Defense of the United States of America.
The Secretary of the Navy must be a civilian by law, at least 5 years removed from active military service. The Secretary is appointed by the President and requires confirmation by a majority vote of the Senate.
The Secretary of the Navy was, from its creation in 1798, a member of the President's Cabinet until 1949, when the Secretary of the Navy (and the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force) was by amendments to the National Security Act of 1947 made subordinate to the Secretary of Defense.
|Secretary of the Navy|
Seal of the Department of the Navy
Flag of the Secretary of the Navy
Richard V. Spencer
since 3 August 2017
|Department of the Navy|
(formal address in writing)
|Reports to||Secretary of Defense|
Deputy Secretary of Defense
with Senate advice and consent
|Inaugural holder||Benjamin Stoddert|
|Formation||18 June 1798|
|Succession||3rd in SecDef succession|
|Deputy||The Under Secretary|
(Principal Civilian Deputy)
Chief of Naval Operations
(Navy Advisor and Deputy)
(Marine Corps Advisor and Deputy)
|Salary||Executive Schedule, level II|
The Department of the Navy (DoN) consists of two Uniformed Services: the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps. The Secretary of the Navy is responsible for, and has statutory authority (10 U.S.C. § 5013) to "conduct all the affairs of the Department of the Navy", i.e. as its chief executive officer, subject to the limits of the law, and the directions of the President and the Secretary of Defense. In effect, all authority within the Navy and Marine Corps, unless specifically exempted by law, is derivative of the authority vested in the Secretary of the Navy.
Specifically enumerated responsibilities of the SECNAV in the before-mentioned 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.
The Secretary of the Navy is a member of the Defense Acquisition Board (DAB), chaired by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. Furthermore, the Secretary has several statutory responsibilities under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) with respect to the administration of the military justice system for the Navy & the Marine Corps, including the authority to convene general courts-martial and to commute sentences.
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.
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 Department of the Navy.
The Office of the Secretary of the Navy, also known within DoD as the Navy Secretariat or simply just as the Secretariat in a DoN setting, is the immediate headquarters staff that supports the Secretary in discharging his duties. 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 (JAG), the Naval Inspector General (NIG), 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.
The Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps have their own separate staffs, the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (also known by its acronym OPNAV) and Headquarters Marine Corps.
|Position||Picture||Name||Term of Office|
|Chairman of the Marine Committee||John Adams||13 October 1775 – 1779|
|Member of the Marine Committee||John Langdon||13 October 1775–?|
|Member of the Marine Committee||Silas Deane||13 October 1775–?|
|Member of the Marine Committee||Joseph Hewes||1775|
|Continental Navy Board
(under Marine Committee)
|6 November 1776 – 28 October 1779|
|Chairman of the Continental Board of Admiralty||Francis Lewis||December 1779 – 1780|
|Secretary of Marine||Alexander McDougall||7 February 1781 – 29 August 1781|
|Agent of Marine
(devolved onto Superintendent of Finance)
|Robert Morris||29 August 1781 – 1784|
(Post of Secretary of Marine created but remained vacant)
|No.||Picture||Name||State||Term of Office||Served under|
|1||Benjamin Stoddert||Maryland||18 June 1798 – 31 March 1801||John Adams/Thomas Jefferson|
|2||Robert Smith||Maryland||27 July 1801 – 4 March 1809||Thomas Jefferson|
|3||Paul Hamilton||South Carolina||15 May 1809 – 31 December 1812||James Madison|
|4||William Jones||Pennsylvania||19 January 1813 – 1 December 1814|
|5||Benjamin W. Crowninshield||Massachusetts||16 January 1815 – 30 September 1818|
|6||Smith Thompson||New York||1 January 1819 – 31 August 1823|
|7||Samuel L. Southard||New Jersey||16 September 1823 – 4 March 1829|
|John Quincy Adams|
|8||John Branch||North Carolina||9 March 1829 – 12 May 1831||Andrew Jackson|
|9||Levi Woodbury||New Hampshire||23 May 1831 – 30 June 1834|
|10||Mahlon Dickerson||New Jersey||1 July 1834 – 30 June 1838|
|Martin Van Buren|
|11||James K. Paulding||New York||1 July 1838 – 4 March 1841|
|12||George E. Badger||North Carolina||6 March 1841 – 11 September 1841||William Henry Harrison|
|13||Abel P. Upshur||Virginia||11 October 1841 – 23 July 1843|
|14||David Henshaw||Massachusetts||24 July 1843 – 18 February 1844|
|15||Thomas W. Gilmer||Virginia||19 February 1844 – 28 February 1844|
|16||John Y. Mason||Virginia||26 March 1844 – 4 March 1845|
|17||George Bancroft||Massachusetts||11 March 1845 – 9 September 1846||James Knox Polk|
|18||John Y. Mason||Virginia||10 September 1846 – 4 March 1849|
|19||William B. Preston||Virginia||8 March 1849 – 22 July 1850||Zachary Taylor|
|20||William A. Graham||North Carolina||2 August 1850 – 25 July 1852||Millard Fillmore|
|21||John P. Kennedy||Maryland||26 July 1852 – 4 March 1853|
|22||James C. Dobbin||North Carolina||8 March 1853 – 4 March 1857||Franklin Pierce|
|23||Isaac Toucey||Connecticut||7 March 1857 – 4 March 1861||James Buchanan|
|24||Gideon Welles||Connecticut||7 March 1861 – 4 March 1869||Abraham Lincoln|
|25||Adolph E. Borie||Pennsylvania||9 March 1869 – 25 June 1869||Ulysses S. Grant|
|26||George M. Robeson||New Jersey||26 June 1869 – 4 March 1877|
|(acting)||William Faxon||4 March 1877 – 13 March 1877||Rutherford B. Hayes|
|27||Richard W. Thompson||Indiana||13 March 1877 – 20 December 1880|
|28||Nathan Goff, Jr.||West Virginia||7 January 1881 – 4 March 1881|
|29||William H. Hunt||Louisiana||7 March 1881 – 16 April 1882||James Garfield|
|Chester A. Arthur|
|30||William E. Chandler||New Hampshire||16 April 1882 – 4 March 1885|
|31||William C. Whitney||New York||7 March 1885 – 4 March 1889||Grover Cleveland|
|32||Benjamin F. Tracy||New York||6 March 1889 – 4 March 1893||Benjamin Harrison|
|33||Hilary A. Herbert||Alabama||7 March 1893 – 4 March 1897||Grover Cleveland|
|34||John D. Long||Massachusetts||6 March 1897 – 30 April 1902||William McKinley|
|35||William H. Moody||Massachusetts||1 May 1902 – 30 June 1904|
|36||Paul Morton||Illinois||1 July 1904 – 30 June 1905|
|37||Charles J. Bonaparte||Maryland||1 July 1905 – 16 December 1906|
|38||Victor H. Metcalf||California||17 December 1906 – 30 November 1908|
|39||Truman H. Newberry||Michigan||1 December 1908 – 4 March 1909|
|40||George von Lengerke Meyer||Massachusetts||6 March 1909 – 4 March 1913||William Howard Taft|
|41||Josephus Daniels||North Carolina||5 March 1913 – 4 March 1921||Woodrow Wilson|
|42||Edwin C. Denby||Michigan||6 March 1921 – 10 March 1924||Warren G. Harding|
|(acting)||Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.||10 March 1924 – 19 March 1924|
|43||Curtis D. Wilbur||California||19 March 1924 – 4 March 1929|
|44||Charles F. Adams III||Massachusetts||5 March 1929 – 4 March 1933||Herbert Hoover|
|45||Claude A. Swanson||Virginia||4 March 1933 – 7 July 1939||Franklin D. Roosevelt|
|46||Charles Edison||New Jersey||7 July 1939 – 2 January 1940|
|2 January 1940 – 24 June 1940|
|(acting)||Lewis Compton||24 June 1940 – 11 July 1940|
|47||Frank Knox||Illinois||11 July 1940 – 28 April 1944|
|(acting)||Ralph A. Bard||28 April 1944 – 19 May 1944|
|48||James V. Forrestal||New York||19 May 1944 – 17 September 1947|
|Harry S. Truman|
|No.||Image||Name||Term of Office||Served under:|
|Began||Ended||Days of Service||Secretary||President|
|49||John L. Sullivan||18 September 1947||24 May 1949||614||James V. Forrestal
Louis A. Johnson
|Harry S. Truman|
|50||Francis P. Matthews||25 May 1949||31 July 1951||797||Louis A. Johnson|
George C. Marshall
|51||Dan A. Kimball||31 July 1951||20 January 1953||539||George C. Marshall|
Robert A. Lovett
|52||Robert B. Anderson||4 February 1953||3 March 1954||392||Charles E. Wilson||Dwight D. Eisenhower|
|53||Charles S. Thomas||3 May 1954||1 April 1957||1064|
|54||Thomas S. Gates, Jr.||1 April 1957||8 June 1959||798||Charles E. Wilson|
Neil H. McElroy
|55||William B. Franke||8 June 1959||19 January 1961||591||Neil H. McElroy|
Thomas S. Gates, Jr.
|56||John B. Connally||25 January 1961||20 December 1961||329||Robert S. McNamara||John F. Kennedy|
|57||Fred Korth||4 January 1962||1 November 1963||666|
|(acting)||Paul B. Fay||2 November 1963||28 November 1963||26||John F. Kennedy|
Lyndon B. Johnson
|58||Paul H. Nitze||29 November 1963||30 June 1967||1309||Lyndon B. Johnson|
|(acting)||Charles F. Baird||1 July 1967||31 August 1967||61|
|59||Paul R. Ignatius||1 September 1967||24 January 1969||511||Robert S. McNamara
Melvin R. Laird
|Lyndon B. Johnson|
Richard M. Nixon
|60||John H. Chafee||31 January 1969||4 May 1972||1189||Melvin R. Laird||Richard M. Nixon|
|61||John W. Warner||4 May 1972||8 April 1974||704||Melvin R. Laird|
James R. Schlesinger
|62||J. William Middendorf||8 April 1974||20 January 1977||1018||James R. Schlesinger
Donald H. Rumsfeld
|Richard M. Nixon|
|63||W. Graham Claytor, Jr.||14 February 1977||24 August 1979||921||Harold Brown||Jimmy Carter|
|64||Edward Hidalgo||24 October 1979||20 January 1981||454|
|65||John Lehman||5 February 1981||10 April 1987||2255||Caspar W. Weinberger||Ronald Reagan|
|66||Jim Webb||1 May 1987||23 February 1988||298||Caspar W. Weinberger|
Frank C. Carlucci
|67||William L. Ball||28 March 1988||15 May 1989||413||Frank C. Carlucci
Richard B. Cheney
George H. W. Bush
|68||Henry L. Garrett III||15 May 1989||26 June 1992||1138||Richard B. Cheney||George H. W. Bush|
|(acting)||Daniel Howard||26 June 1992||7 July 1992||11|
|69||Sean O'Keefe||7 July 1992||2 October 1992||87|
|2 October 1992||20 January 1993||110|
|(acting)||Admiral Frank B. Kelso II||20 January 1993||21 July 1993||182||Les Aspin||Bill Clinton|
|70||John H. Dalton||22 July 1993||16 November 1998||1943||Les Aspin|
William J. Perry
William S. Cohen
|71||Richard Danzig||16 November 1998||20 January 2001||796||William S. Cohen|
|(acting)||Robert B. Pirie, Jr.||20 January 2001||24 May 2001||124||Donald H. Rumsfeld||George W. Bush|
|72||Gordon R. England||24 May 2001||30 January 2003||616|
|(acting)||Susan Livingstone||30 January 2003||7 February 2003||8|
|(acting)||Hansford T. Johnson||7 February 2003||30 September 2003||235|
|73||Gordon R. England||1 October 2003||29 December 2005||820|
|(acting)||Dionel M. Aviles||29 December 2005||3 January 2006||5|
|74||Donald C. Winter||3 January 2006||13 March 2009||1165||Donald H. Rumsfeld
Robert M. Gates
|George W. Bush|
|(acting)||B. J. Penn||13 March 2009||19 May 2009||67||Robert M. Gates||Barack Obama|
|75||Ray Mabus||19 May 2009||20 January 2017||2803||Robert M. Gates|
|(acting)||Sean Stackley||20 January 2017||3 August 2017||195||Jim Mattis||Donald Trump|
|76||Richard V. Spencer||3 August 2017||Incumbent||522|
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.
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.
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)
Benjamin Stoddert (1744 – December 18, 1813) was the first United States Secretary of the Navy from May 1, 1798, to March 31, 1801.Benjamin Williams Crowninshield
Benjamin Williams Crowninshield (December 27, 1772 – February 3, 1851) served as the United States Secretary of the Navy between 1815 and 1818, during the administrations of Presidents James Madison and James Monroe.Charles Edison
Charles Edison, (August 3, 1890 – July 31, 1969) was a son of Thomas Edison and Mina Miller Edison. Commonly known as "Lord Edison", he was a businessman, inventor and animal behaviorist who became Assistant and then United States Secretary of the Navy, and served as the 42nd Governor of New Jersey.Charles Francis Adams III
Charles Francis Adams III known as Deacon (August 2, 1866 – June 10, 1954), was an American politician. He was a member of the prominent American Adams family, was the United States Secretary of the Navy under President Herbert Hoover and a well-known yachtsman.David Henshaw (American politician)
David Henshaw (April 2, 1791 – November 11, 1852) was the 14th United States Secretary of the Navy.
Henshaw was born in Leicester, Massachusetts in 1791 and educated at Leicester Academy. Trained as a druggist, he achieved notable success in that field, then expanded his energies into banking, transportation and politics. He was elected to the Massachusetts Senate in 1826 and served as Collector of the Port of Boston from the late 1820s until 1838. Though he suffered business reverses during the later 1830s, Henshaw regained his political position as a leader of the Massachusetts Democratic Party within a few years.
In July 1843, President John Tyler selected Henshaw as Secretary of the Navy. During his brief term in office, he addressed shipbuilding problems, selected senior officers for important seagoing commands, revised supply arrangements in the Navy Yards and attempted to establish a school for Midshipmen. His recess appointment as Secretary failed to receive Congressional confirmation, requiring that he leave office when his successor was confirmed. Henshaw then returned to Massachusetts politics. He died in 1852.
USS Henshaw (DD-278) was named in his honor.Donald C. Winter
Donald Charles Winter (born June 15, 1948) is an American politician and businessman who served as United States Secretary of the Navy. A former top executive of TRW, Aerospace & Defense, he was nominated in 2005 by President George W. Bush, confirmed by the United States Senate, and took the oath of office on January 3, 2006. In January 2009 Defense Secretary Gates requested that Winter remain in office until President Obama picked his successor on March 13, 2009. He resigned on March 13.Edward Hidalgo
Edward Hidalgo (born Eduardo Hidalgo; October 12, 1912 – January 21, 1995) served as the United States Secretary of the Navy in the Carter administration from October 24, 1979 to January 20, 1981. He had previously served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) from April 1977 to October 1979.George C. Maxwell
George Clifford Maxwell (May 31, 1771 – March 16, 1816) was a U.S. Representative from New Jersey, father of John Patterson Bryan Maxwell. Maxwell's nephew George M. Robeson was United States Secretary of the Navy and also served in Congress.George von Lengerke Meyer
George von Lengerke Meyer (June 24, 1858 – March 9, 1918) was a Massachusetts businessman and politician who served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, as United States ambassador to Italy and Russia, as United States Postmaster General from 1907 to 1909 during the administration of President Theodore Roosevelt and United States Secretary of the Navy from 1909 to 1913 during the administration of President William Howard Taft.Gilmer, Texas
Gilmer is a city in and the county seat of Upshur County, Texas, United States. It is best known for being the home of the East Texas Yamboree, as well as the birthplace of popular music singers Don Henley of the Eagles band and Johnny Mathis, as well as blues musician Freddie King. The population was 4,905 at the 2010 census. The city's namesake is a former United States Secretary of the Navy, Thomas Walker Gilmer.James C. Dobbin
James Cochran Dobbin (January 17, 1814 – August 4, 1857) was a nineteenth-century politician and lawyer who served as United States Secretary of the Navy from 1853 to 1857.
Born in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1814, the grandson of congressman James Cochran, Dobbin attended Fayetteville Academy and the William Bingham School and later went on to graduate from the University of North Carolina in 1832. While at Carolina, Dobbin distinguished himself as a member of Philanthropic Assembly. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1835, commencing practice in Fayetteville.
Dobbin later got involved in politics and was elected a Democrat to the twenty-ninth congress, serving from 1845 to 1847. He later served in the North Carolina House of Commons in 1848, 1850 and 1852, also serving as speaker of the house in 1850.
In 1852, he was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention where he helped secure the nomination of dark horse candidate Franklin Pierce for the presidency. Pierce appointed Dobbin United States Secretary of the Navy as a reward for his work in the presidential campaign. A firm believer in a strong Navy as an insurance for peace, Dobbin instituted reforms throughout the Navy. Eighteen of the finest ships of their class in the world were built during his tenure as Navy secretary. Under his auspices, the Perry expedition to Japan was carried to a successful termination and the treaty with that country signed. He ordered U.S. Navy Lieutenant Isaac Strain to command a U.S. Darién Exploring Expedition to map and survey the Darién Gap for a Panama Canal to link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
After his term as Navy secretary expired in 1857, Dobbin returned to Fayetteville where later that year he would die; he was interred at Cross Creek Cemetery in Fayetteville. He was memorialized when a ship, present at the attack of Pearl Harbor, was named in his honor the USS Dobbin (AD-3).Paul B. Fay
Paul Burgess Fay Jr. (8 July 1918, San Francisco, California – 23 September 2009 Woodside, California), was the Acting United States Secretary of the Navy in November 1963, and a close confidant of President John F. Kennedy.Richard V. Spencer
Richard Vaughn Spencer (born January 18, 1954) is an American politician and businessman who currently serves as the 76th United States Secretary of the Navy. Spencer served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1976 to 1981 as a Marine Aviator and also served as Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer of Intercontinental Exchange from November 2001 to January 2008.Smith Thompson
Smith Thompson (January 17, 1768 – December 18, 1843) was a United States Secretary of the Navy from 1819 to 1823, and a United States Supreme Court Associate Justice from 1823 until his death in 1843.USS Hamilton (1809)
The first USS Hamilton was a United States Navy schooner which served on Lake Ontario from 1812 to 1813 during the War of 1812.
Hamilton was built at Oswego, New York, as the merchant ship Diana in 1809 for the merchant Matthew McNair. On 21 October 1812, the U.S. Navy purchased Diana for use on Lake Ontario. Diana was based at Sackets Harbor, New York. Her name was changed to USS Hamilton on 5 November 1812, in honor of the United States Secretary of the Navy Paul Hamilton (1762–1816).Hamilton was not a large or specialized warship; instead, she was a simple ship that was pressed into U.S. Navy service. With the conversion of Hamilton to a man-of-war problems came up such as the decks not being strong enough to carry naval guns and the bulwarks not being high enough to provide enough protection for the gun crews. Nonetheless, the 76 tons burthen Hamilton was armed with eight 12-pounder carronades and one swiveling 24-or 32-pounder "Long Tom" cannon mounted amidships.
Hamilton, under the command of a Lieutenant Winter, and the schooner USS Scourge sank during a sudden squall off Fourteen Mile Creek near present-day Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, around 2:00 a.m. on 8 August 1813. Sixteen men survived from the two ships, but the sinkings took more than 80 men to their deaths. Ned Myers, a survivor of Scourge, told his story to James Fenimore Cooper; according to Myers, about eight men from Hamilton were saved and about 42 were lost.
The site of the sunken ships was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1976. The Ontario Heritage Act was amended in 2005 to provide special protection to the wrecks of Hamilton and Scourge because of their historical and cultural significance and because they contain human remains.USS Paul Hamilton (DDG-60)
USS Paul Hamilton (DDG-60) is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the United States Navy currently in service. The ship is named after Paul Hamilton, the third United States Secretary of the Navy,
Constructed at Bath Iron Works (BIW) in Bath, Maine, Paul Hamilton was commissioned in Charleston, South Carolina. The destroyer was transferred to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii after her commissioning. She is currently homeported in San Diego, California.
In July 2015, she along with the Royal Navy's HMS Duncan, participated in airstrikes against ISIL.USS Paul Ignatius
USS Paul Ignatius (DDG-117) will be an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer of the United States Navy. She is named for Paul Ignatius who served as United States Secretary of the Navy under President Lyndon Johnson from 1967 to 1969. Ignatius had previously served as a commissioned lieutenant in the Navy during World War II. Paul Ignatius will be the 2nd of 8 planned Flight IIA "technology insertion" ships, which will contain elements of the Flight III ships projected to begin with DDG-124.
She was launched on November 12, 2016, and was christened on 8 April 2017.William B. Franke
William Birrell Franke (April 15, 1894 – June 30, 1979) was United States Secretary of the Navy from 1959 to 1961 under Dwight D. Eisenhower. Franke was born in Troy, New York and attended Pace College.
Franke was instrumental in developing and implementing new, modern technology for the United States Navy, including the use of nuclear-powered warships. He served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management and Comptroller) from 1954 to 1957.
He was awarded the Department of Defense's Distinguished Service Award and the Medal of Freedom for his work. He died in Vermont after complications from gall bladder surgery.William H. Hunt
William Henry Hunt (June 12, 1823 – February 27, 1884) was the United States Secretary of the Navy under President James Garfield and briefly under President Chester A. Arthur.