After acquiring unprecedented power as Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Ernest King challenged the Navy Department administration—and the President—by trying to extend his power even further.
On 12 March 1942, in a process that had begun three months earlier, Admiral Ernest J. King became the most powerful naval leader on earth.1
In the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack, in recognition of his brilliant handling of the Atlantic Fleet before the United States entered World War II, 63-year-old King was appointed Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet. Not yet within his control at that point were war plans, strategic direction, shore logistics, and training, which were the responsibilities of Admiral Harold R. Stark, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO).