The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) is the Navy's senior flag officer, and takes precedence over all other officers in the naval service. He is the Navy representative on the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), keeps the Secretary of the Navy informed on JCS activities and decisions, and is reponsible to the Secretary for the management of the Navy.
The post of Chief of Naval Operations was established byAct of Congress in 1915 and Admiral William S. Benson was appointedas the first CNO. During World War II, Admiral Ernest J. Kingheld the dual titles of CNO and Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet,and directed the worldwide operations of the Navy in coordinationwith our allies. King was followed, shortly after the war ended,by Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, wartime commander of the PacificFleet. In 1955, President Eisenhower appointed Admiral ArleighA. Burke to the first of what would be an unprecendented three 2-year terms as CNO.
These officers have served as Chief of Naval Operations since the office was established 11 May 1915: