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A modernization program beginning in the 1880s when the first steel hulled warships stimulated the American steel industry, and
brought a new respect for American technical quality. Rapid building of at first pre-dreadnoughts, then dreadnoughts brought
support vessels, dubbed the Great White Fleet, were showcased in a 14-month circumnavigation of the world. Ordered by
President Theodore Roosevelt, it was a mission designed to demonstrate the Navy's capability to extend to the global theater.
World War I and interwar years
The U.S. Navy saw little action during World War I. It concentrated on mine laying operations against German U-Boats.
Hesitation by the senior command meant that naval forces were not contributed until late 1917. Battleship Division Nine was
dispatched to Britain and served as the Sixth Battle Squadron of the British Grand Fleet. Its presence allowed the British to
decommission some older ships and reuse the crews on smaller vessels. Destroyers and U.S. Naval Air Force units contributed
to the anti-submarine operations. The strength of the United States Navy grew under an ambitious ship building program
associated with the Naval Act of 1916.
Naval construction, especially of battleships, was limited by the Washington Naval Conference of 1921–22. The aircraft
165,000 tonnes displacement, although this figure was nominally recorded as 135,000 tonnes to comply with treaty limitations.
Franklin Roosevelt, the number two official in the Navy Department during World War I, appreciated the Navy and gave it strong
support. In return, senior leaders were eager for innovation and experimented with new technologies, such as magnetic
torpedoes, and developed a strategy called War Plan Orange for victory in the Pacific in a hypothetical war with Japan that
would eventually become reality.
World War II
The U.S. Navy grew into a formidable force in the years prior to World War II, with battleship production being restarted in 1937,
commencing with USS North Carolina (BB-55). Though ultimately unsuccessful, Japan attempted to neutralize this strategic
threat with the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Following American entry into the war, the U.S. Navy grew
tremendously as the United States was faced with a two-front war on the seas. It achieved notable acclaim in the Pacific
new ships, including 18 aircraft carriers and 8 battleships, and had over 70% of the world's total numbers and total tonnage of
Doctrine had significantly shifted by the end of the war. The U.S. Navy had followed in the footsteps of the navies of Great
Britain and Germany which favored concentrated groups of battleships as their main offensive naval weapons. The
development of the aircraft carrier and its devastating utilization by the Japanese against the U.S. at Pearl Harbor, however,
shifted U.S. thinking. The Pearl Harbor attack destroyed or took out of action a significant number of U.S. Navy battleships. This
placed much of the burden of retaliating against the Japanese on the small number of aircraft carriers.
USS George Washington (SSBN-598), a ballistic missile submarine
advancement by developing new weapons systems, ships, and aircraft. U.S. naval strategy changed to that of forward
deployment in support of U.S. allies with an emphasis on carrier battle groups.
Navy conducted various combat operations in the Persian Gulf against Iran in 1987 and 1988, most notably Operation Praying
The U.S. Navy has also been involved in search and rescue/search and salvage operations, sometimes in conjunction with
vessels of other countries as well as with U.S. Coast Guard ships. Two examples are the 1966 Palomares B-52 crash incident
and the subsequent search for missing hydrogen bombs, and Task Force 71 of the Seventh Fleet's operation in search
for Korean Air Lines Flight 007, shot down by the Soviets on 1 September 1983.
under and reports to the Secretary of the Navy. At the same time, the Chief of Naval Operations is one of the Joint Chiefs of
although it only plays an advisory role to the President and does not nominally form part of the chain of command. The
Secretary of the Navy and Chief of Naval Operations are responsible for organizing, recruiting, training, and equipping the Navy
so that it is ready for operation under the command of the unified combat command commanders.
Relationships with other service branches
United States Marine Corps
Main article: United States Marine Corps
relationship with the USMC, partly because they both specialize in seaborne operations. Together the Navy and Marine Corps
form the Department of the Navy and report to the Secretary of the Navy. However, the Marine Corps is a distinct, separate
service branch with its own uniformed service chief – the Commandant of the Marine Corps, a four-star general.
Marine Corps units deployed to an operational environment they generally wear Marine camouflage uniforms, but otherwise
In the operational environment, as an expeditionary force specializing in amphibious operations, Marines often embark on Navy
ships to conduct operations from beyond territorial waters. Marine units deploying as part of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force
(MAGTF) operate under the command of the existing Marine chain of command. Although Marine units routinely operate from
amphibious assault ships, the relationship has evolved over the years much as the Commander of the Carrier Air Group/Wing
(CAG) does not work for the carrier commanding officer, but coordinates with the ship's CO and staff. Some Marine aviation
squadrons, usually fixed-wing assigned to carrier air wings train and operate alongside Navy squadrons; they fly similar
missions and often fly sorties together under the cognizance of the CAG. Aviation is where the Navy and Marines share the
most common ground, since aircrews are guided in their use of aircraft by standard procedures outlined in series of publications
known as NATOPS manuals.
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