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Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

246th Navy Birthday Communication Plan 


Download a pdf of the 246th Navy Birthday Communication Plan.


BACKGROUND: On Oct. 13, 1775, a resolution of the Continental Congress established what is now the United States Navy with “a swift sailing vessel, to carry ten carriage guns, and a proportionable number of swivels, with eighty men, be fitted, with all possible despatch, for a cruise of three months….” After the American War of Independence, the U.S. Constitution empowered the new Congress “to provide and maintain a navy.” Acting on this authority, Congress established the Department of the Navy on April 30, 1798. In 1972, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt authorized official recognition of October 13 as the birthday of the U.S. Navy.

Since then, each CNO has encouraged a Navy-wide celebration of this occasion “to enhance a greater appreciation of our Navy heritage, and to provide a positive influence toward pride and professionalism in the naval service.” The celebration was codified in NAVADMIN 164/99 by CNO Admiral Jay Johnson who directed that the Navy Birthday and the Battle of Midway “will henceforth be celebrated annually as the centerpieces of our heritage.”

Oct. 13, 2021 will mark the Navy's 246th Birthday. The central theme of this year's celebration is "Resilient & Ready", which speaks to the Navy’s history of rising above the most challenging crises, and still maintain force lethality and preparedness. 

PURPOSE: This plan streamlines and aligns Navy communication efforts commemorating the 246th Birthday of the United States Navy. It is designed to support Navy commands and staffs as they celebrate the Navy’s founding and history in speeches, social media, written and broadcast materials, and in discussions with Sailors, colleagues, partners and other key stakeholders.

MISSION: Execute Navy Birthday events in a manner that brings honor and respect upon our service.

TIMING OF CAMPAIGN: Oct. 6-14, 2021

THEME: Resilient & Ready, which speaks to the Navy’s history of rising above the most challenging crises, such as the loss of a ship or a global pandemic, and still maintain force lethality and preparedness. 

TONE: Celebratory

GOAL: Inspire esprit de corps among all Naval personnel through the celebration of the Navy’s 246th birthday by showcasing readiness, capabilities, capacity and the Sailor, all while celebrating victories and honoring our shipmates who stand and have stood the watch. 


  1. Presence of two or more Navy Birthday themes or key messages in internal information subsidies. 
  2. Presence of Navy leadership quote in 100% of external earned media.
  3. Use NHHC social media platforms to engage with key audiences through Navy Birthday posts that contain key messaging.


  • Primary: Navy Sailors, Navy Families, Navy Veterans, Retirees, Senior Navy and DoD Leadership
  • Secondary: American public


Key Message

Supporting Talking Points

The U.S. Navy is always ready, and continues its mission to preserve peace, protect commerce and deter aggression through forward presence.

  • We are a fast and flexible force, deployed worldwide.
  • We are 100% on the watch—reliable, flexible and ready to respond on, above and below the sea.
  • Today’s Sailors carry on a two-century tradition of being ready to fight and win.
  • Our Sailors are daily Warfighters on every mission assignment, deterring aggression and promoting peace.

Our nation continues to depend on an all-volunteer, all-capable force.

  •  The role of today’s Navy involves everything from warfighting and warfare support, to keeping waterways safe and open for global commerce, to deterring sea piracy and drug trafficking. 
  • American Sailors are the true source of the United States Navy’s strength.
    • We actively pursue diverse, combat-minded Sailors with varied sets of knowledge, skills and experiences to operate, sustain and maintain an edge over those who challenge us.
    • When called upon, the Navy is ready to answer the call—anywhere, anytime—to aid American citizens, world partners and allies and fellow world citizens.

Bolstered through a powerful history, Naval Power continues to lead the way and protect America’s future.

  • We are proud of our ever-evolving capabilities and celebrate what has made the Navy 246 years strong.
  • Strengthened by diverse views and perspectives, today’s Navy leaders rely on the energy and abilities of an inclusive team.
    • The Navy does not compete, deter or fight alone.  We are an integral part of the Joint Force and work closely with allies, partners and other government agencies.
  • Respect for the dignity of all in the Navy Team is essential to conducting ourselves according to our core values of honor, courage, and commitment.


COMMUNICATION CHANNELS: All Navy leaders, commands, and units will aggressively leverage all available communication channels to share messaging about the Navy Birthday with Sailors and the public. NHHC will use:




Key Performance Indicator



Navy leadership and commands/units hold no less than 50 events—either virtual or in-person—that use NHHC-provided key messages and tactics to engage Sailors directly with both their birthday and their heritage. 

1) Create and track unique website visitors to official webpages featuring Birthday-related content.  Navy commands/units to set local KPIs for online reach and provide metrics with feedback to NHHC on command events.


Use messages related to the theme and key messages of the Navy Birthday campaign, reaching no fewer than 500,000 people digitally across Navy social platforms.

Monitor and track 1) unique website visitors to pages featuring Navy Birthday-related content; and 2) reach of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn channels across the Navy.


On NHHC platforms, achieve an average Facebook engagement rate of 8% and a Twitter engagement rate of 5% for Navy Birthday posts.

Monitor and track engagement with posts during the campaign period.



Fleet Tactics

Meets Objective

Share Birthday content—Actively share 246th Navy Birthday content throughout the campaign period on web pages and social channels, and events (virtual or in-person), incorporating key messages as relevant with hashtags #ResilientandReady and #246NavyBirthday

1, 2, 3

Ship-wide events—Conduct ship-wide celebrations using Navy Birthday key messaging and content.


Birthday displays—Display birthday materials in prominent areas throughout commands/ships.


Ship/unit announcements—At quarters throughout the week, or via the 1MC, share NHHC-created Plan of the Day/Week notes and other NHHC-generated content with Sailors.


Blog posts—Publish and share original or existing blog posts related to the Navy’s victories at sea, our everyday heroes, and diversity in action; amplify blogs on social media channels.

2, 3

Share NHHC content—Monitor NHHC platforms for Navy Birthday content to share on command-owned properties.

2, 3­­

Townhalls—Fleet Commanders and other fleet concentration area leadership host townhalls Navy-wide during Navy Birthday week. The townhall(s) could be live-streamed so that the discussion could be with a larger audience.

1, 2, 3

Movie nights—Movie night/viewing with a discussion.

1, 2

Fun run—a run that Sailors and civilians can participate in celebrating the Navy's Birthday.


Moments of silence—Hold a moment of silence to reflect on those who have served before us.


Chief's Mess/Wardroom Luncheons—Provide the opportunity for the Chief's Mess and Wardroom to reflect on the Navy’s history and our diversity throughout the past 246 years. A speaker could be invited to address a certain topic or command leadership could talk about the command's contribution to the Navy.

1, 2

Command Picnic, BBQ or Fun Day—Opportunity to celebrate the Navy's Birthday and warfighting heritage.

1, 2

Navy Birthday Ball—Opportunity for commands/units to attend the annual Birthday Ball, as operationally feasible with current COCOM Health Protection levels.

1, 2

Historians/ museums—Museums hold events or commands invite historians or relevant authors to speak virtually.

1, 2, 3

Command/Unit History—Discuss the history of the command/unit and how the command/unit has supported Navy’s warfighting efforts for 246 years.

1, 2

Plan of the Day/Week Notes—Publish POD/W notes  throughout the campaign period. (Mandatory for Navy Birthday commemoration as operational commitments permit per NAVADMIN 189/12.)

1, 2

Wreath laying ceremony—Opportunity to reflect on the Navy’s past and those who have gone before us.


Bell-ringing ceremony—Hold bell-ringing ceremonies to instill in Sailors and the public the importance and sense of pride in our Navy's history and heritage. This event honors our shipmates who stand and have stood the watch before us. (Mandatory for Navy Birthday commemoration as operational commitments permit per NAVADMIN 189/12.)

1, 2

Cake cutting—Hold a cake-cutting to reflect on our Navy's history and heritage while celebrating the Navy's 246th birthday. (Mandatory for Navy Birthday commemoration as operational commitments permit per NAVADMIN 189/12.)

1, 2, 3

Reading of SECNAV/CNO Birthday messages—Read messages from the Secretary of the Navy and Chief of Naval Operations (and other leaders, as applicable) to highlight their reflections on the Navy’s 246th Birthday. (Reading of SECNAV and CNO Birthday messages are mandatory for Navy Birthday commemoration as operational commitments permit per NAVADMIN 189/12.)

1, 2




  • Plan and execute command level Navy birthday celebrations, participate in local and regional Navy birthday events, and report those efforts to NHHC nhhcpublicaffairs(at) subject line: Report of Local Navy Birthday Celebration/Participation) NLT 22 OCT 2021.
  • Both virtual and in-person events should be reported. Reports should include any public engagements, interviews, and attendance numbers for commands’ individual events. For POD/W notes shared with Sailors or stories and messaging over 1MC or other public address systems, please include a general number of Sailors receiving those messages
  • Report reach numbers for all social-related posts for Navy Birthday.


  • Disseminate the Navy Birthday Communication Plan in coordination with NHHC and provide this plan to ashore and afloat commands by 24 SEP 2021. 
  • Disseminate the plan to Navy and DOD leadership, and coordinate key messages and tactics with key leadership within the DOD, as appropriate.
  • Display designed birthday banner image on from 6-14 OCT 2021.
  • Report week-of social media metrics of the #246NavyBday and #ResilientandReady hashtag NLT 26 OCT 2021.


  • Coordinate and support the execution of Navy Birthday events.
  • Provide digital resources for use by Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command  (USFFC); Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMPACFLT); Commander, Naval Reserve Forces Command (COMRESFOR), Numbered Fleets, Type Commands, Commander, Naval Installations Command (CNIC), Chief of Information (CHINFO), Regional Commanders, and Commanding Officers  (COs) and Officers in Charge (OICs).
  •  Post the following resources on the NHHC website ( no later than 24 SEP 2021: 
    • Plan of the day historical notes for the week of Navy Birthday
    • Template for Navy Birthday bell ringing
    • Navy Birthday graphics
  • Collect information from USFFC, COMPACFLT, CNIC, COMRESFOR, CHINFO, and Navy District Washington (NDW) regarding specific celebratory activities.
  • Produce Plan of the Day notes for the week leading up to the celebration.
  • Publish Navy Birthday Execute Order for release as NAVADMIN by DNS NLT 24 SEP 2021.
Published: Thu Sep 23 15:12:09 EDT 2021