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By Norman Polmar, Author, The Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet
The Mother of Reorganizations
The most far-reaching reorganization of the U.S. Navy headquarters—the Office of Chief of Naval Operations or OpNav staff—in almost 50 years has destroyed the so-called “platform barons.”
in the world situation have dictated a reduction in the force structure of the U.S. Navy. This reduction also requires that the Navy review how its command and administrative structure
Figure 1: Chief of Naval Operations Staff Organization
Note: Ranks are indicated by stars.
AVCNO = Assistant Vice CNO (Captain) DCNO = Deputy CNO NavRes = Chief of Naval Reserve Oceano = Oceanographer of the Navy
Chief of Naval Operations
DCNO Manpower & Personnel
DCNO Policy, Strategy & Plans
Director Space & C4 System Requirements
Director Training & Doctrine
DCNO Resource, Warfare Requirements
The reorganization, regaled on 22 July 1992, also eliminates several f*ag billets, including four vice admirals, and j"uts the size of the headquarters staff by about 150 positions.
These changes are be'
N80 ★* 1
N81 ★★ 1
N82 ★★ 1
Special Programs 1
N84 ★/★★ I
N85 ★★ 1
N86 ★★ |
N87 ★★ |
N88 ★★ |
C3 Systems I
lr>g made, according Jo the Navy’s statement to Congress,
The dramatic changes that have taken Place and are continuing to take place
Defense] and [Joint Chiefs of Staff] as well as operational staffs.1
However, the reorganization reflects a long-standing desire by DoD officials, as well as senior Army and Air Force officers, to bring the Navy into line with the other services. The new organization also brings the Navy into closer alignment with the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The principal subordinates to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) under the new setup will be the Vice Chief of Naval Operations (now N9), four Deputy CNOs, and three directors.
The major organizational changes are the elimination of the “platform” sponsors at the three-star level—the Assistant CNOs for undersea warfare (OP-02), surface warfare (OP-03), and air warfare (OP-05). The concept for these offices, which sought to control their respective communities as fiefdoms, dates back to August 1943, when the Deputy CNO for air was established with responsibility for “the preparation, readiness, and logistic support” of naval aviation.
Until 1971, surface and submarine warfare matters were directed by a single Deputy CNO, who also had general sponsorship responsibilities for aviation ships. Pleas for “equality” from Admiral H. G. Rickover, the head of naval nuclear propulsion, and from the submarine community led the then- CNO, Admiral E. R. Zumwalt, to establish a separate Deputy CNO for submarine warfare (OP-02). Admiral Zumwalt believed that “setting up the Deputy CNO for Submarines made it easier to deal with the submarine community and with
is organized. Navy leadership has recognized for some time the need to have a tighter, leaner headquarters organization, better tailored and coordinated to deal with [the Department of
This led to OP-03 becoming the Deputy CNO for surface warfare, and initiated two decades of intra-Navy or “union” competition as the platform
*>r°cecdings / September 1992
barons competed for resources, political position, and even flag billets. For example, prior to the establishment of OP- 02, submarine-qualified officers could serve as OP-03, while the air and surface communities worked much more closely together. Beyond the competitive aspects of the new arrangement, it was easy for non-platform specific programs to become lost or underfunded—to fall through the cracks—especially mine warfare and certain C3 programs.
The 1992 reorganization—which downgrades the platform barons from three stars to two and inserts the intermediate Deputy CNO for resources, warfare requirements, and assessments (N8)—seeks to alleviate the disruptive competition between the air, surface, and submarine “navies.” Secretary of the Navy Sean O’Keefe, in announcing the changes, stressed.
One of my primary concerns is ending rivalries and jealousies between the various key warfare fighting communities in the Navy. . . . We believe there can be no jealousy among the fingers of a strong fist. This Navy reorganization will begin the process of bringing our warfare fighters together into a tighter, stronger fist.2
The downgrading of platform sponsors at headquarters will lead the Navy to rely more on fleet input to determine requirements, rather than driving those requirements from Washington.
Also downgraded are the current three- star positions of Director, Test and Evaluation and Technology Requirements (OP-091) and the Deputy CNO for Navy Program Planning (OP-08).
Other changes include the elevation of the Director of Naval Intelligence to a major staff position (N2), and the double-hatting of the Chief of Naval Education and Training as the Director for Training and Doctrine (N7). Accordingly, the principal offices of the Navy staff will be:
- Nl Deputy CNO Manpower & Personnel: the current Deputy CNO Manpower, Personnel & Training (OP-01), but with the training functions transferred to N7
- N2 Director of Naval Intelligence: the existing Director of Naval Intelligence (OP-92); however, a major consolidation of Washington-area naval intelligence activities into the National Maritime Intelligence Center under the Director of Naval Intelligence, coupled with the N2 being made a major staff office, makes naval intelligence a “winner” in the reorganization
- N3/5 Deputy CNO Policy, Strategy & Plans: essentially the existing Deputy CNO Plans, Policy & Operations (OP-06)
- N4 Deputy CNO Logistics: same as the current Deputy CNO Logistics (OP-04)
- N6 Director Space & C4 System Requirements: the current Director Space & Electronic Warfare (OP-094), plus certain OpNav C3 functions
- N7 Director Training and Doctrine: the Chief of Naval Education and Training at Pensacola, Florida (The Navy is seeking to establish a doctrine command like those of other services, but has not yet decided how to do so. The N7 will now oversee the doctrine part of the reorganization.)
- N8 Deputy CNO Resources, Warfare Requirements & Assessments: combines the Director, Test and Evaluation and Technology Requirements (OP-091), as well as the former platform sponsors (OP- 02/03/05), and the Navy’s financial staff
The changes announced in July will be implemented through the end of 1992. Additional changes can be expected next year, in part because of the expected retirement of Gerald Cann, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition; it is anticipated that his position will be divided (as it was prior to 1990) into the research and development and the acquisition functions. Other changes in the Navy secretariat and in the naval systems commands, as well as in the naval staff, can be expected in the next year.
During the discussions prior to the reorganization, the position of Chief of Naval Operations was considered for renaming as the Chief of Staff of the Navy, to bring the Navy further into alignment with the Army and Air Force. However, that change, according to one officer in the Pentagon, was not made but “will probably occur in the future ... we will see more changes in the headquarters staff and in the type commands.”3
Another factor driving the Washington area reorganization has been the need to eliminate 34 flag billets, including six vice admirals, by 1995. The Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Frank B. Kelso, has said that he prefers to cut the flag positions in Washington, to preserve leadership positions in the fleet. (There are currently some 250 admirals, with a requirement to have 216 by 1995.)
Unfortunately, the reorganization missed opportunities to return antisubmarine warfare programs and mine warfare programs to a realistic staff level. Considering their increasing importance for potential operations in littoral areas, they should have been placed at the same level within N8 as the C3 systems,
air, surface, and subsurface offices.
Secretary O’Keefe has declared that at the fleet level the current structures “positively will remain the way they are, because that’s where the requirements are driven.”4 But Admiral Kelso added, “I think you’ll see us do a lot of streamlining and consolidation in the fleet level, particularly in the shore establishment in the years ahead.”5
No major reorganization of Marine Corps Headquarters currently is envisioned, as it already reflects traditional military staff structures. However, the Navy headquarters changes will cause some “disconnects” with the Marine Corps. For example, the Deputy Chief of Staff for aviation in the Marine Corps is a lieutenant general, who in the past served as an Assistant Deputy CNO to the head of naval aviation. But the latter is now a two-star position within the N8 organization.
As this column was written, it was not clear who within the Navy supported and who opposed the reorganization. It was announced two weeks after Mr. O’Keefe became the acting Secretary of the Navy. Mr. O’Keefe came to the Navy post from the position of DoD comptroller at the personal request of Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. Further, the recent sex scandals that have plagued the Navy reduced the overall credibility of Navy officials who may have opposed the reorganization, making it impossible to lobby behind the scenes on Capitol Hill-
Bottom lines of the reorganization are difficult to ascertain at this point. However, coming on the heels of the resignation of Secretary of the Navy H- Lawrence Garrett, problems with several major naval aircraft programs, the Sca- vi'o//(SSN-21) submarine problems, sex ' scandals and the inept efforts by the Naval Investigative Service to track down the Tailhook culprits, alleged revelations about the Vincennes (CG-49) shootdown of the Iranian Air Bus, and other Navy difficulties, the reorganization certainly will have a negative impact on Navy morale and possibly effi- j ciency. Unfortunately, this occurs at a time when the importance and potential roles of the Navy are increasing in the post-Cold War period.
'Memorandum from Capt. J.R. McCIeary, USN. subject: “Reorganization of the Naval Headquarters Staff,” 22 July 1992.
’Secretary of the Navy Sean O’Keefe, press conference, the Pentagon, 22 July 1992.
’The position of the Chief of Naval Operations was j established on 11 May 1915.
’O’Keefe, op. cit.
sAdm. Frank B. Kelso, Jr., USN, press conference, the Pentagon, 22 July 1992.
Proceedings / September 1992