U.S. Navy by the numbers
The United States Navy was formed in 1775 to fight the British in the Revolutionary War, with just two vessels in use and 13 approved for production. Today, the Navy has hundreds of ships and more than a half million total personnel at the ready.
The 2020 budget request by the Pentagon for the U.S. Navy is $205.6 billion. The department application is reportedly the most considerable service request for any federal department for the fiscal year. This year, the Pentagon requested $3.5 billion for infrastructure, $20.4 for research and development, $52.1 for personnel, $68.5 for operation and maintenance and $61.1 for procurement. Funding for the U.S. Marine Corps, which is part of the U.S. Navy, is also included in this budget.
When oversight of the Navy was placed with the Secretary of Defense under the National Security Act of 1947, the Secretary of Defense became the single supervisor for all of the armed forces. The Department of the Navy also oversees the Marines and assumes operational control of the Coast Guard from Homeland Security during wartime. They are responsible for transporting Marines to war, as well as launching air and sea attacks from miles away. In times of peace, the presence of the Navy helps keep American and global shipping interests safe.
The official blog of the U.S. Navy reported in March that, of the $68.5 billion budget request for operation and maintenance, “$57.8 billion would be used specifically for the Navy, including ship operations ($19.1 billion) and air operations ($11.7 billion).” The Navy is currently in the process of integrating its new Virginia-class group of nuclear attack submarines into the fleet, with the first of these subs delivered in 2017 and slated to be in operation until the 2060s.
There are several specialized groups within the Navy, from the Blue Angels, a group of 16 aerobatic fighter pilots, to the Navy Seals, who are responsible for stealth operations around the globe.
Regardless of the present numbering in the Navy, their recruitment and overall force continue to meet and exceed expectations.
Read on to find out more about the U.S. Navy by the numbers.
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332,507 active duty personnel
As of June 2019, the Navy reported 332,507 active personnel—that's about half the population of Vermont. Making up the Navy’s general workforce are 273,832 enlisted sailors spread across dozens of jobs; 54,263 officers with college degrees in diverse fields; and 4,412 midshipmen (a junior-rank naval cadet in training).
1,052 in the 2019 Naval Academy graduating class
Superintendent Vice Adm. Walter “Ted” Carter told the 1,052 graduating midshipmen in May that, “by almost every measure,” they were the top graduating class of the United States Naval Academy, the Capital Gazette reported. The class attained a record graduation rate of 89.9% and boasts a record 81 graduates already enrolled in graduate school.
$34.7 billion requested by the Pentagon for 2019
In April, CNBC reported the Pentagon's request of $34.7 billion this year was “the largest request in more than 20 years for shipbuilding, to grow and modernize the Navy's fleet.” Three vehicles the Pentagon is pushing for are a trio of Virginia-class submarines worth $10.2 billion. The Virginia class, one of three Navy submarine types including the Los Angeles and Seawolf, is a cutting-edge vessel designed to remain operational its whole life, reports the U.S. Navy.
10 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers
Ten nuclear-powered aircraft carriers make up the Nimitz class, which began with the ship USS Nimitz in 1975 and ended with the aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush (CVN 77) in 2009. The most massive warships ever constructed, the Nimitz class requires more than 6,000 personnel to service. These aircraft carriers are named after a former U.S. president and important Naval figures, with the first named after U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.
289 deployable ships
While there are 289 deployable ships at the ready, only 170 Navy ships are actively deployed. Ships fall under three categories while on a mission: battle force submarines, ships underway, and ships for local ops and training. The U.S. Navy Institute May 2019 Fleet and Maritime Tracker watches all U.S. Navy ships, which are presently stationed around the world, specifically in the Gulfs of Alaska, Oman, and Aden.
1,177 killed on the USS Arizona in attack on Pearl Harbor
Of the 2,341 U.S. military personnel killed in the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, almost half served on the USS Arizona. There were 37 sets of brothers on the USS Arizona when the Japanese bombed it, prompting the Navy to release a bulletin warning family members away from serving on the same ship together.
11 U.S. Navy officer ranks
The highest rank in the U.S. Navy is a five-star fleet admiral, a rank which hasn't been used since World War II and is reserved for wartime purposes only—but there are 10 other titles to conquer after becoming a commissioned officer. Junior officers, from an O-1 classified ensign to an O-4 lieutenant commander, can make up to $92,000 per year, while an O-5 or O-6 senior officer can earn upwards of $135,000. Michelle Howard was the first woman to achieve a ranking of O-10 Four-Star Fleet Admiral.
The 21-gun salute, a famous U.S. military custom, comes from the Navy: ships volley fired with soldiers on shore to confirm peace. “Land batteries, having a greater supply of gunpowder, were able to fire three guns for every shot fired afloat, hence the salute by shore batteries was 21 guns,” reports the U.S. Army Center of Military History. Furthermore, Naval laws only allow 21-gun salutes nominated by the Secretary of the Navy for specific ships or stations they govern as the leader.
7 past U.S. Navy torture methods
There were seven methods of past torture for sailors, including confinement with only bread and water, which was finally outlawed in 2019, according to reporting from the New York Times. Other methods included mast-heading, sending a sailor to sit at the head of the ship alone; caning, hitting the sailor in the head with a walking stick; birching, hitting sailors with bunches of birch sticks; flogging, whipping sailors with cat ‘o nine tails while tied to the mast; keelhauling, dragging a sailor underneath a ship; and hanging. Suprisingly, there are no actual records of forcing prisoners to walk the plank.
274,854 Navy Department civilian employees
You do not have to be in the Navy or Marines to work for the U.S. Armed Forces, as 274,854 Americans are not. As a matter of fact, the Secretary of the Navy encourages civilians to consider employment with them on the department website, citing jobs as varied as zoologist and pipefitter. The DoD presents the Distinguished Civilian Service Award at a Pentagon ceremony for any non-militant department member who displays excellent value to the military branch.