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Chief of Naval Operations OPNAV Organization Records

Dates: 1946-2000

Collection Number: COLL/552

Finding aid

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains memoranda and supporting documents relating to the organization of the various branches of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV).  These records document proposed and implemented changes to the bureaucratic organization of OPNAV, reflecting over the years the changes in the Navy’s priorities in arranging its programs, and as such are a discrete overview of the evolution of the central component of the naval bureaucracy during a period of profound technological change.  Many of the records represent the work of Mr. Charles A. Myers, the Director of Naval Administration from the late 1970s through the mid-1980s. 

As a research tool, the collection offers a unique grouping of documents from which organizational details and changes can be discerned, as well as the underlying rationales for organizational changes.  Furthermore, from the memoranda correspondence, a researcher can ascertain in many circumstances the names and positions of key officers and officials involved in managing the myriad Navy programs. 

The collection is arranged into 24 series, each containing organizational memoranda and supporting documents related to specific program offices.  Series I and II contain the organizational records for the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, OP-00.  Series I consists of files deemed by OPNAV to be of a general nature, relating to the entire OPNAV structure as a whole, while Series II contains the records directly related to OPNAV itself.  Series II also contains two sub-series, containing the records of two programs directly subordinate to OPNAV, the CNO Executive Panel and the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program. 

The remainder of the collection is organized in accordance with the original order in which it was maintained.  The series, as a general rule, conform to the major administrative subdivisions according to the ascending numerical order of the “OP” codes.  The major exception to this rule is for programs and offices under the Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO), the OP-09 group, whose sub-units are extensive enough in some cases to require their own series, so that the entire VCNO record grouping extends from Series III to Series XV. 

Series III consists of two sub-series, the files of the VCNO’s Office and the files of the immediately subordinate Fleet Master Chief for Navy Shore Activities.  Additionally, the Director, Navy Program Planning, whose office and programs originally had been subordinated to the VCNO until 1987 but subsequently were separated into their own division (OP-08), retained the old OP code for the older records.  In respect of the original order, this older designation has been retained as a group of sub-series to Series XXIII.  Similarly, OP-95, Director of Naval Warfare, was transferred to a new position in the organization, OP-07, in which the older files remained unmerged as a sub-series in Series XXII. 

Series IV, Special Assistants to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), consists of nine sub-series, each containing the organizational files of a specific assistant tasked with assisting the CNO in a particular area of expertise. 

Series V, Chief of Naval Information (OP-007), contains one sub-series for the Assistant for Audiovisual Management.  There are no other records for OP-007 in the collection. 

Series VI contains the files for the Naval Inspector General (OP-008), and offers useful insight into the oversight role played by this office. 

Series VII, Director Naval Personnel (OP-09B), comprises the largest series in the collection, reflecting the central role played by the office the handling of organizational matters.  In addition to the records of OP-09B itself, there are also 17 sub-series for the various sub-organizations and programs of overseen by the Director of Naval Personnel. 

Series VIII, contains the files of the Director, Test & Evaluation and Technology Requirements (OP-091), an office of relatively recent establishment, reflecting the growth and increasing complexity of technological systems in the Navy as a whole. 

Series IX, Director of Naval Intelligence (OP-092), contains the organization records of the Office of Naval Intelligence.  There is no sub-series. 

Series X, Director of Naval Medicine/Surgeon General of the Navy (OP-093), contains the organization records of the Navy’s medical program.  Related records can be found in Sub-Series XXIV.A, Reports, which contains organizational studies commissioned by the Bureau of Medicine. 

Series XI, Space and Electronic Warfare Directorate (OP-094), contains the organizational records of the Navy program dedicated to integrating cutting edge technology into the strategic framework of naval doctrine.  There are five sub-series for sub-programs supporting the Space and Electronic Warfare Directorate’s overall mission, and one can derive from these sub-programs the incorporation of newer information technologies in the 1980s to supplement the older programs related to communications and the military space program. 

Series XII, Director of Naval Reserve (OP-095), contains the organizational records of the program coordinating the Navy’s reserves.  There is no sub-series. 

Series XIII, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (OP-096), contains the organizational records of one of the Navy’s oldest technological and exploratory programs.  There is no sub-series. 

Series XIV, Director of Religious Ministries/Chief of Chaplains of the Navy (OP-097), contains the organizational records of the Navy’s program for the religious and spiritual support of the men and women in the naval service.  There is no sub-series. 

Series XV, Director of Research and Development Requirements, Test and Evaluation (OP-098), in addition to the records of the immediate office, also contains three sub-series supporting the program’s general mission of researching, developing and integrating technological systems into the naval service. 

Series XVI, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Manpower, Personnel and Training/Chief of Naval Personnel (OP-01), contains the organization files related to the OPNAV’s personnel administration functions.  In addition to the files of the office itself, the series contains seven sub-series, reflecting the more specialized sub-programs under the direction of the Chief of Naval Personnel. 

Series XVII, Undersea Warfare (OP-02), is a sparse group of records.  In addition to the immediate office files, it contains three sub-series, two devoted to the strategic and attack submarine divisions, respectively, in which there are very few records, and one for the submarine manpower and training division, which is more complete. 

Series XVIII, Surface Warfare (OP-03), in addition to the records of the immediate office, contains six sub-series for programs supporting the Navy’s surface warfare structure. 

Series XIX, Logistics (OP-04), in addition to the organizational records for the immediate office, contains in seven sub-series the records of sub-programs supporting the carrying out of the Navy’s logistical requirements. 

Series XX, Air Warfare (OP-05), contains the organizational records of the program tasked with overseeing naval aviation.  There are five sub-series. 

Series XXI, Plans, Policy and Operations (OP-06), contains the organizational records for the Navy program tasked with the mission of integrating naval operations into the larger strategic framework of U.S. policy.  There are six sub-series. 

Series XXII, Naval Warfare (OP-07), in addition to the immediate office records, contains 10 sub-series for the programs supporting naval warfare doctrine and planning.  The last of these sub-series, it should be noted, consists of the unmerged records of OP-95, Director, Naval Warfare, when the program was subordinate to the Vice Chief of Naval Operations. 

Series XXIII, Navy Program Planning (OP-08), as indicated above in the Series III description, contains the unmerged records from its previous incarnation as OP-090 in Sub-Series D through F.  From this atypical arrangement, one can get an idea of the kinds of reorganizations the OPNAV underwent over the years. 

Series XXIV, Reports, consists of reports produced by various organizational studies commissioned by OPNAV.  Furthermore, the Bureau of Medicine has a sub-series for three organizational reports it commissioned.

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as Organizational Records: The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 1946-2000, Archives Branch, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, DC.


Published: Fri Sep 10 12:22:21 EDT 2021