CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS


Admiral Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations[1]

The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) is a four-star admiral and senior military officer of the Department of the Navy. The CNO is responsible for the command, use of resources, and operating efficiency of Naval operating forces and of the Navy shore activities assigned by the Secretary of the Navy. As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CNO serves as the principal naval advisor to both the President and the Secretary of the Navy with respect to the conduct of war. In addition, the CNO also serves as the principal advisor and naval executive to the Secretary, in terms of conducting department (Navy) activities. Assistants to the CNO include the Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO), Deputy Chiefs of Naval Operations (DCNOs), Assistant Chiefs of Naval Operations (ACNOs), and several other ranking officers. These officers—along with their respective staff members—are collectively referred to as the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV).[2]

The Chief of Naval Operations is appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, for a four-year term. The CNO performs his duties under the authority and direction of the Secretary of the Navy. The primary responsibilities of the CNO include:

  • Presiding over the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
  • Transmitting plans and recommendations of OPNAV to the Secretary and advising the Secretary with regard to these plans and recommendations
  • Acting as the agent of the Secretary, in terms of carrying out plans and recommendations
  • Supervising members and organizations of the Navy and Marine Corps, as determined by the Secretary
  • Performing duties assigned by law (Title 10, Sections 171 and 2547) or otherwise assigned by the President, Secretary of Defense, or Secretary of the Navy[2]

 

Updated by Kristin Stiner, March 2020

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