The United States Navy is the largest naval force in the world, with more than 450,000 active and reserve soldiers, 4,000 airplanes and more than 350 ships. With so many resources and personnel at its disposal, the navy needs a proper chain of command to function smoothly, and it is strictly adhered to, no matter what. The navy falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Navy which is a division of the Department of Defense. The highest ranking naval officer today is Admiral Michael Mullen who is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the second highest ranking officer is Admiral Gary Roughead who is the Chief of Naval Operations.
The hierarchy is absolutely vital in any military organization as it lends structure to the chaos. There are some activities and processes going on simultaneously, so it is very important for people to know who they are reporting to. This also helps in avoiding duplication of orders, and it erases any chances of a conflict in the reporting process. A cadet or a soldier should know who his immediate superior is, and he should focus all his energies towards this. Breaking the chain is considered to be an inexcusable offense, since the navy prides itself on its ability to maintain discipline.
The Navy's Chain of Command 2011
This has been around for many years now, and everyone unequivocally accepts it as the be-all and end-all of the navy chain. All naval officers and sailors are well aware of this chain and no one can claim otherwise.
|President of USA||The Honorable Barack Obama|
|Vice President of USA||The Honorable Joe Biden|
|Secretary of Defense||The Honorable Robert Gates|
|Secretary of the Navy||The Honorable Ray Mabus|
|Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff||ADM Michael Mullen|
|Chief of Naval Operations||ADM Gary Roughead|
|Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy||Rick D. West|
|Commander, Naval Education and Training||Rear Admiral Joseph Kilkenny|
|Force Master Chief of Naval Education and Training||John Snyder|
|Commander Naval Service Training Command||Rear Admiral David Steindl|
|Command Master Chief NSTC||CMDCM Brian A. Hughes|
|Commanding Officer RTC||CAPT. Steven G. Bethke|
|Command Master Chief RTC||CMDCM Dodd|
|Executive Officer RTC||CAPT. Lewis|
|Military Training Director RTC||CDR Nielson|
More Information on Navy Personnel
Out of all the individuals enlisted in the navy, around 15% of them are commissioned officers. The rest of the numbers are made up by enlisted sailors and midshipmen who are being trained. The commissioned officers are divided into Staff Corps (people who have professional experience in law, medicine, civil engineering etc.), Restricted Line Officers (people who perform engineering and maintenance work but do not engage in direct combat) and Unrestricted Line Officers (people who are trained for combat and can subsequently command units and squadrons). The order of ranks for commissioned officers in the navy are as follows.
- Fleet Admiral (FADM)
- Admiral (ADM)
- Vice Admiral (VADM)
- Rear Admiral (RADM)
- Rear Admiral Lower-Half (RDML)
- Captain (CAPT)
- Commander (CDR)
- Lieutenant Commander (LCDR)
- Lieutenant (LC)
- Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG)
- Ensign (ENS)
Apart from this, there are also the enlisted sailors who are also known as Petty Officers. These sailors form around 80% of the United States Navy, but they also need to follow this chain of command. Failure to uphold it is seen in a very bad light so this is avoided at all costs. All said and done, the President of the United States who is the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces, is the supreme commander of all the naval forces.