Caption: WASHINGTON (Jan. 9, 2014) Laura Waayers, an archivist at Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC), and Dale "Joe" Gordon, the lead reference archivist at NHHC, read through a command operations report (COR). The Chief of Naval Operations-mandated CORs are yearly summaries of command's operations and major achievements permanently archived for future generations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric Lockwood/Released)

Every ship, submarine, squadron and Navy command listed in the Standard Navy Distribution List are all required by Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) instruction to submit a COR to the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) Archives. Remember that every command has to submit their own report—ISICs cannot submit on behalf of their subordinates. 

These records, which are retained at NHHC, are a key source for responding to questions from veterans, Congress, scholars, media and the public about general naval history, as well as historic details from specific ships and commands. Freedom of Information Act requests are common, as well. When there is no report to reference, there is a gaping hole in the Navy's historical narrative which also means the hard work and efforts of Navy commands and people go unrecorded in the history of the institution.

“CORs and deck logs are our most frequently requested records,” said Suzanne Scott, an archivist at NHHC. “CORs are helpful for everything from assisting with medical claims made through the VA, budget increases for ships and bases, and R&D for improving technology. Being thorough and straightforward is crucial. They are absolutely vital records and their importance really can't be overstated.”

The task is simple enough. What did your command do over the last year? Your COR will record permanently all major operations it conducted and major accomplishments it achieved. Whether you started workups, deployed, earned an award—anything of note, really—include it in your COR.

The NHHC website for CORs has all of the information you need: the governing instruction OPNAVINST 5750.12K CH-1, a fillable form and examples of reports from different types of commands.  The fillable form is already formatted and has guidance about the content and types of documents that must be included in each section. You can find all this information, as well as contact information for the NHHC Archives branch (who can answer specific questions about your COR) here:

Examples of documents often missing or incomplete include:

  • A commander's assessment that thoroughly discusses the command's performance, to include an honest discussion of the command's strengths, weaknesses, and plans for improvement.

  • Detailed chronologies that show the dates of movements and major operations of a command, with a narrative elaborating on the chronology

  • An accurate description of the command's mission

  • Supporting reports, which can be submitted "as is"

  • Operational and administrative chains of command listing at least commanding and executive officers and command master chiefs

  • Official records, such as medical logs, patrol reports, records about ship modifications, and message traffic.

  • Also, commands with rotational crews, such as some submarines and patrol craft, need to submit complete reports for each crew. 

Once you’ve compiled all the documents and completed the fillable form, it’s time to submit. The most updated submission instructions are included on the fillable form found on the NHHC website. 

Remember, you are telling the Navy’s story through your command’s actions. This is a record for future generations and should be complete and straightforward. Submit the report at the highest classification level necessary to completely describe your command’s activities during the year. NHHC can accept material up to and including TS and SCI, so keep this in mind while you are writing your report. 

For more information, or for any questions you may have, please contact the COR Program at NHHC_COR@navy.mil, NHHC_COR@navy.smil.mil, or 202-433-9873. 

The Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy's unique and enduring contributions through our nation's history, and supports the fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. NHHC is composed of many activities including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, nine museums, USS Constitution repair facility and the historic ship Nautilus. 

For more news from Naval History and Heritage Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navhist/.

Caption: WASHINGTON (Jan. 9, 2014) Dale "Joe" Gordon, lead reference archivist at Naval History and Heritage Command, searches archived records for a command operations report (COR) in Naval History and Heritage Command's Operational Archives. The Chief of Naval Operations-mandated CORs are yearly summaries of command's operations and major achievements permanently archived for future generations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric Lockwood/Released)