100th Anniversary of the CNO
Since the early days of its existence, different bureaucratic structures have been tried to manage the Navy’s wide range of functions over its broad geographic expanse. Between 1814 and 1842, a Board of Navy Commissioners served the Secretary of the Navy, but it had only as much power and influence as the Secretary allowed it. From 1842 to 1900, the Commissioners were replaced by five Bureaus, each with its sphere of responsibility, its Chief directly responsible to the Secretary of the Navy. Over time, rivalries developed between the bureaus.
In 1900, Secretary John D. Long created a General Board, which wielded considerable influence among the bureaus, though officially it was only advisory. Still trying to make administration of the Navy efficient, Secretary George von L. Meyer appointed four Aides to coordinate between the bureaus in 1909, but again, they did not have executive authority.