Banner advertising History of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. 

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Nelson

Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) announces the release of the hard copy edition of History of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations: 1915-2015.

The book, originally published as a digital edition (508-compliant PDF) in 2021, was written by Dr. Thomas Hone, a former senior defense official, and Curtis Utz, a historian at NNHC, and provides a significant historical account of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV), shedding light on the influential individuals who left an indelible mark on the U.S. Navy's history and strategic evolution.

Drawing on five years of research, the book offers readers a captivating narrative that goes beyond the battles at sea to uncover the bureaucratic battles that have shaped the Navy's organization, planning, policies, and strategies over the past century. It delves into the lives and legacies of admirals, especially the Chiefs of Naval Operations (CNO), who played pivotal roles in the development of OPNAV and the Navy itself. It also explores instances when Secretaries of the Navy, Secretaries of Defense, or even Presidents intervened to drive policy because of changing circumstances and their views of national imperatives.

“This book examines the challenges that CNOs and OPNAV have faced over a century, and it provides insight to how and why Navy leadership made policy decisions,” said Utz. “Although the authority of the CNO and the organization of OPNAV have changed over the years, they are still primarily responsible and accountable for shaping and fielding a naval force capable of implementing national strategy.”

One consistent theme throughout the book is the unwavering commitment of CNOs to leaving the Navy stronger and better managed than they found it. This book examines the strategies and measures employed by these leaders to achieve this goal and provides valuable insights into effective leadership within the U.S. Navy. While History of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations: 1915-2015 is not intended to be a manual of leadership, it offers readers an understanding of how leadership within the Navy evolved in response to an ever-changing environment, both in Washington, D.C., and the world.

“As a student of history, I believe that in order to move forward we should look to the past for insights and lessons on how we, as a Navy and a Nation, have navigated similar challenges,” said the 33rd Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Lisa Franchetti. “Our Navy has been most effective at driving change and developing warfighting advantage when successive CNOs move with urgency and commitment toward the same goal.”

To download a 508-compliant PDF version of the book visit:

Or scan or click on the QR code below.

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NHHC, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for preserving, analyzing, and disseminating 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 comprises many activities, including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, ten museums, USS Constitution repair facility, and the historic ship Nautilus

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Note to Media: For more information, contact the Naval History and Heritage Command public affairs office at 202-433-7880 or email:

CNO QR code