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Frequently Asked Questions

Chief of Naval Operations

Related Resources:

Terms of Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Secretary of the Navy, Individuals serving as
Individuals serving as Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy 1967-present

The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) is the Navy's senior flag officer, and takes precedence over all other officers in the naval service. He is the Navy representative on the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), keeps the Secretary of the Navy informed on JCS activities and decisions, and is reponsible to the Secretary for the management of the Navy.

The post of Chief of Naval Operations was established byAct of Congress in 1915 and Admiral William S. Benson was appointedas the first CNO. During World War II, Admiral Ernest J. Kingheld the dual titles of CNO and Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet,and directed the worldwide operations of the Navy in coordinationwith our allies. King was followed, shortly after the war ended,by Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, wartime commander of the PacificFleet. In 1955, President Eisenhower appointed Admiral ArleighA. Burke to the first of what would be an unprecendented three 2-year terms as CNO.

These officers have served as Chief of Naval Operationssince the office was established 11 May 1915:

NAME                             TENURE
Admiral William S. Benson        11 May  1915-25 Sept.1919
Admiral Robert E. Coontz         01 Nov. 1919-21 July 1923
Admiral Edward W. Eberle         21 July 1923-14 Nov. 1927
Admiral Charles F. Hughes        14 Nov. 1927-17 Sept. 1930
Admiral William V. Pratt         17 Sept. 1930-30 June 1933
Admiral William H. Standley      01 July 1933-01 Jan. 1937
Admiral William D. Leahy         02 Jan. 1937-01 Aug. 1939
Admiral Harold R. Stark          01 Aug. 1939-02 March 1942
Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King     26 March 1942-15 Dec. 1945
Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz  15 Dec. 1945-15 Dec. 1947
Admiral Louis E. Denfeld         15 Dec. 1947-02 Nov. 1949
Admiral Forrest P. Sherman       02 Nov. 1949-22 July 1951
Admiral William M. Fechteler     16 Aug. 1951-17 Aug. 1953
Admiral Robert B. Carney         17 Aug. 1953-17 Aug. 1955
Admiral Arleigh A. Burke         17 Aug. 1955-01 Aug. 1961
Admiral George W. Anderson, Jr.  01 Aug. 1961-01 Aug. 1963
Admiral David L. McDonald        01 Aug. 1963-01 Aug. 1967
Admiral Thomas H. Moorer         01 Aug. 1967-01 July 1970
Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt          01 July 1970-29 June 1974
Admiral James L. Holloway III    29 June 1974-01 July 1978
Admiral Thomas B. Hayward        01 July 1978-30 June 1982
Admiral James D. Watkins         30 June 1982-30 June 1986
Admiral Carlisle A. H. Trost     01 July 1986-29 June 1990
Admiral Frank B. Kelso II        29 June 1990-23 Apr. 1994
Admiral Jeremy M. Boorda         23 Apr. 1994-16 May  1996
Admiral Jay L. Johnson           16 May  1996-21 July 2000
Admiral Vern Clark               21 July 2000-23 July 2005
Admiral Michael G. Mullen        23 July 2005-29 Sep. 2007
Admiral Gary Roughead            29 Sep. 2007-23 Sep. 2011
Admiral Jonathan Greenert        23 Sep. 2011-present