Vice Admiral William Merz, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans, and Strategy (N3/N5)

The DCNO for Operations, Plans and Strategy (N3/N5) is the principal advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) on joint operations and the development of joint strategies, plans, programs, and policies. Specifically, DCNO N3/N5 develops and disseminates Navy strategies and plans related to homeland defense, conflict deterrence, crisis response, maritime security, ocean and Arctic policy, nuclear weapon global employment, Navy Title X, CNO-interest war gaming and innovation, and naval and joint operations integration. CNO N3/N5 coordinates the global employment of naval forces and they also play a role in implementing the Optimized Fleet Response Plan and the Navy's personnel augmentation initiative.[1]

In June 2020, Navy headquarters reorganized to better align and prioritize efforts focused on competing against great-power rivals. Per the reorganization, the strategy-focused section of OPNAV N3/N5 realigned to N7, along with the office formerly constituted to oversee Navy analytics.[2]

Updated by Kristin Stiner, May 2022