Vice Chief of Naval Operations
Flag of the Vice Chief of Naval Operations
Incumbent
Admiral William K. Lescher

since 29 May 2020[1]
United States Navy
Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
AbbreviationVCNO
Reports toChief of Naval Operations
AppointerThe President
with Senate advice and consent
Constituting instrument10 U.S.C. § 8035
Formation26 March 1942; 79 years ago (1942-03-26)
First holderFrederick J. Horne

The vice chief of naval operations (VCNO) is the second highest-ranking commissioned United States Navy officer in the Department of the Navy and functions as the principal deputy of the chief of naval operations and by statute, the vice chief is appointed as a four-star admiral.[2]

The current vice chief of naval operations is Admiral William K. Lescher.[3]

Role

The senior leadership of the U.S. Department of the Navy consists of two civilians, the secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) and the under secretary of the Navy (USECNAV), as well as the four senior commissioned officers on the two military service staffs: Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) and Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC).

The vice chief is the principal deputy of the chief of Naval operations (CNO). The vice chief may also perform other delegated duties that either the secretary of the Navy or the CNO assigns to him or her. If the CNO is absent or is unable to perform their duties, then the vice chief assumes the duties and responsibilities of the CNO. Within the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, while there are several Deputy Chiefs of Naval Operations (DCNOs) of either three or two star rank, there is only one VCNO.

The vice chief is appointed by the president of the United States, and must be confirmed via majority vote by the Senate. While there is not a fixed term nor a term limit in the statute; the historical precedent is that a vice chief of naval operations serves for a tenure of two to three years.

Historical background

The equivalent of the current VCNO position was called Assistant for Operations in 1915, and Assistant Chief of Naval Operations in 1922. In 1942 the title became Vice Chief of Naval Operations.[4]

List of Vice Chiefs of Naval Operations

No. Image Name Tenure Post(s) held after VCNO tenure
Began Ended
1
VADM (ADM) Frederick J. Horne 26 March 1942 2 September 1945 Retired, 1945
Promoted to admiral on 29 January 1945
2
ADM Richard S. Edwards Jr. 1945 1946 Commander, Western Sea Frontier (1946–1947)
Commander, Pacific Reserve Fleet (1946–1947)
Retired, 1947
3
ADM DeWitt Clinton Ramsey 15 January 1946 3 January 1948 Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command (1948–1949)
Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet (1948–1949
High Commissioner, Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (1948–1949)
Retired, 1949
4
VADM Arthur W. Radford January 1948 May 1949 Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command (1949–1953)
Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet (1949–1953)
High Commissioner, Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (1949–1951)
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1953–1957)
Retired, 1957
5
VADM John D. Price 1949 1950 Retired, 1950
Promoted to admiral upon retirement
6
ADM Lynde D. McCormick 1950 1951 Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command (1951–1954)
Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (1951–1954)
Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (1952–1954)
Retired, 1954
7
ADM Donald B. Duncan 1951 1956 Retired, 1956
8
ADM Harry D. Felt 1956 1958 Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command (1958–1964)
Retired, 1964
9
ADM James S. Russell 21 July 1958 September 1961 Commander in Chief, Allied Forces Southern Europe (1961–1965)
Retired, 1965
10
ADM Claude V. Ricketts 25 September 1961 6 July 1964 Died in office, 1964
11
ADM Horacio Rivero, Jr. July 1964 January 1968 Commander in Chief, Allied Forces Southern Europe (1968–1972)
Retired, 1972
12
ADM Bernard A. Clarey December 1970 Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet (1970–1973)
Retired 1973
13
ADM Ralph W. Cousins 1970 1972 Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (1972–1975)
Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command (1972–1975)
Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (1972–1975)
Retired, 1975
14
ADM Maurice F. Weisner 1972 1973 Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet (1973–1976)
Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command (1976–1979)
Retired, 1979
15
ADM James L. Holloway III September 1973 1974 Chief of Naval Operations (1974–1978)
Retired, 1978
16
ADM Worth H. Bagley June 1974 July 1975 Retired, 1975
17
ADM Harold E. Shear 1975 1977 Commander in Chief, Allied Forces Southern Europe (1978–1980)
Retired, 1980
Administrator of the Maritime Administration (1981–1985)
18
ADM Robert L. J. Long July 1977 April 1979 Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command (1979–1983)
Retired, 1983
19
ADM James D. Watkins April 1979 1981 Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet (1981–1982)
Chief of Naval Operations (1982–1986)
Retired, 1986
Secretary of Energy (1989–1993)
20
ADM William N. Small 1981 1983 Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces Europe (1983–1985)
Commander in Chief, Allied Forces Southern Europe (1983–1985)
Retired, 1985
21
ADM Ronald J. Hays 1983 1985 Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command (1985–1988)
Retired, 1988
22
ADM James B. Busey IV September 1985 1987 Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces Europe (1987–1989)
Commander in Chief, Allied Forces Southern Europe (1987–1989)
Retired, 1989
Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (1989–1991)
Deputy Secretary of Transportation (1991–1992)
23
ADM Huntington Hardisty 1987 1988 Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command (1988–1991)
Retired, 1991
24
ADM Leon A. Edney August 1988 May 1990 Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (1990–1992)
Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command (1990–1992)
Retired, 1992
25
ADM Jerome L. Johnson May 1990 July 1992 Retired, 1992
26
ADM Stanley R. Arthur 6 July 1992 1995 Retired, 1995
27
ADM Joseph W. Prueher April 1995 1996 Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command (1996–1999)
Retired, 1999
U.S. Ambassador to China (1999–2001).
28
ADM Jay L. Johnson April 1996 August 1996 Chief of Naval Operations (1996–2000)
Retired, 2000
29
ADM Harold W. Gehman, Jr. September 1996 September 1997 Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (1997–2000)
Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command (1997–1999)
Commander in Chief, U.S. Joint Forces Command (1999–2000)
Retired, 2000
30
ADM Donald L. Pilling October 1997 October 2000 Retired, 2000
31
ADM William J. Fallon October 2000 August 2003 Commander, Fleet Forces Command/U.S. Atlantic Fleet (2003–2005)
Commander, U.S. Pacific Command (2005–2007)
Commander, U.S. Central Command (2007–2008)
Retired, 2008
32
ADM Michael G. Mullen August 2003 August 2004 Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe (2004–2005)
Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples (2004–2005)
Chief of Naval Operations (2005–2007)
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (2007–2011)
Retired, 2011
33
ADM John B. Nathman August 2004 February 2005 Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command (2005–2007)
Retired, 2007
34
ADM Robert F. Willard 18 March 2005 5 April 2007 Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (2007–2009)
Commander, U.S. Pacific Command (2009–2012)
Retired, 2012
35
ADM Patrick M. Walsh 5 April 2007 13 August 2009 Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (2009–2012)
Retired, 2012
36
ADM Jonathan W. Greenert 13 August 2009 22 August 2011 Chief of Naval Operations (2011–2015)
Retired, 2015
37
ADM Mark E. Ferguson III 22 August 2011 1 July 2014 Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe (2014–2016)
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa (2014–2016)
Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples (2014–2016)
Retired, 2016
38
ADM Michelle J. Howard 1 July 2014 31 May 2016 Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe (2016–2017)
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa (2016–2017)
Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples (2016–2017)
Retired, 2017
39
ADM William F. Moran 31 May 2016 10 June 2019 Retired, 2019[5]
40
ADM Robert P. Burke 10 June 2019 29 May 2020 Commander, United States Naval Forces Europe-Africa (2020–present)
Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples (2020–present)
41
ADM William K. Lescher 29 May 2020 incumbent

See also

References

  1. ^ Vice Chief of Naval Operations Changes Office
  2. ^ "10 USC 5035. Vice Chief of Naval Operations". Retrieved 6 November 2007.
  3. ^ "Adm. William Lescher Now Vice Chief of Naval Operations". navy.mil. United States Navy. 29 May 2020. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  4. ^ "Vice Chief of Naval Operations". Lists of Senior Officers and Civilian Officials of the US Navy. Naval History and Heritage Command. 22 June 2016. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  5. ^ Burns, Robert (7 July 2019). "Admiral to lead Navy instead will retire; bad judgment cited". La Crosse Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved 8 July 2019.