United States Navy and Naval Armed Services of the U.S. Military

United States Navy

The United States Navy is a branch of the United States armed forces military that is responsible for conducting naval operations. The mission of the United States Navy is “to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces that are capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.” As of this writing, the U.S. Navy has nearly 500,000 personnel on active duty or in the Navy Reserve and operates 278 ships in active service and more than 4,000 aircraft.

The United States Constitution provided the legal basis for a seaborne military force by giving Congress the power “to provide and maintain a navy.”  In 1974, Congress passed the Naval Act of 179 which order the construction and manning of six frigate ships.

The U.S. Navy came into international prominence in the 20th century, especially during the second World War. Operating in both the European and Pacific waters, this branch of the military was a part of the conflict from the onset of American military involvement from the attack on Pearl Harbor to Japan’s official surrender aboard the USS Missouri.

The Navy played a key role in the Cold War, where it evolved into a nuclear deterrent and crisis response force while preparing for a possible global war with the Soviet Union.

The Navy maintains a sizeable and consistent presence in the world, deploying ships to such areas as East Asia, Southern Europe, and the Middle East.  The Navy’s ability to project a show of force to the regions of the world, engage in forward areas during peacetime, and rapidly respond to regional crises makes it an active player in American foreign and defense policy.

The Department of the Navy has three principal components:

  • The Navy Department, which consists of executive offices, located primarily in Washington, D.C.
  • The operating forces, including the Marine Corps, the reserve components
  • In times of war, the U.S. Coast Guard (in peace, a component of the Department of Homeland Security) and the shore establishment

Naval Websites

  • Official Website of the U.S. Navy – The official website provides information on the history, contact information, how to enlist, and much more.
  • Navy.com – Provides information about this important branch of the military, how to find jobs, start careers and how to pursue other opportunities.
  • The Naval Historical Center – The Naval History & Heritage Command is the official history program of the Department of the Navy. Its lineage dates back to 1800 with the founding of the Navy Department Library by President John Adams. The Command now includes a museum, art gallery, research library, archives, underwater archaeology and curator as well as research and writing programs.


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