Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Executive Order Increasing Enlisted Strength of the U.S. Navy

Executive Order

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     By virtue of the authority vested in the President by the Act approved August 29, 1916, entitled “An Act Making appropriations for the Naval Service for the fiscal year ending June thirtieth, nineteen hundred and seventeen, and for other purposes,” it is hereby directed that the authorized enlisted strength of the Navy be increased to 87000 men.1

WOODROW WILSON

     The White House [Washington, DC],

               March 24, 1917.

Source Note: DS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. At the bottom of the page is printed “[No. 2559.]”

Footnote 1: The Naval Expansion Act of 1916, approved the “most dramatic fleet expansion in American history to that time.” The administration supported this dramatic increase in the size of the Navy. In one of his speeches, Wilson argued that the United States must have “incomparably the greatest navy in the world.” This particular bill emphasized building large capital ships—battleships and cruisers. The expansion also called for a modest increase in the size of the enlisted force (from 74,700 men to 87,000 men). See Kirschbaum, “The 1916 Naval Expansion Act,” 1: 138-39; and Adm. Henry T. Mayo to Atlantic Fleet, 27 March 1917, RG 45, Entry 517B.

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