WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Johnathan Greenert, along with prior CNO's, service members and civilians gathered at the Navy Museum at the Washington Navy Yard to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the appointment of the first CNO and the creation of the office of the chief of naval operations staff May 11.
The CNO is the senior military officer of the Department of the Navy, a four-star admiral and is responsible to the Secretary of the Navy for the command, utilization of resources, and operating efficiency of the operating forces of the Navy and of the Navy shore activities assigned by the Secretary.
"The presence we provide right now requires us to have Sailors, Marines and platforms that are ready to perform missions at any moment — that's what the CNO makes happen," said Mabus.
As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CNO is the main naval adviser to the President and to the Secretary of the Navy on the conduct of war, and is the principal adviser and naval executive to the Secretary on the conduct of activities of the Department of the Navy. Assistants are the Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO), the Deputy Chiefs of Naval Operations (DCNOs), the Assistant Chiefs of Naval Operations (ACNOs) and a number of other ranking officers. These officers and their staffs are collectively known as the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV).
"The CNO hasn't done it alone," said Greenert. "He has an OPNAV team, as I have an OPNAV team. When it all started the CNO had three subordinates. In 1916 there was legislation to remedy this and it said it will enlarge the staff to no less than 15."
Greenert went on to commend his staff for their hard work and dedication.
"The office today defines the requirements for the future fleet and it does it pretty darn well,"
Greenert said. "It resources for production and it knows that its job is to organize, train and equip. I'm very proud to lead the OPNAV staff of today, and what you do today is important and the fleet knows you're here for them. It helps us be ready for war."
Greenert also spoke of prior CNO's accomplishments during their terms in the office, including that of the first CNO, Adm. William S. Benson.
"Admiral Benson oversaw the largest ship building program in history, at that time, and that was the expansion of our Navy for World War I," said Greenert.
Adm. William S. Benson was the first CNO, taking the position on May 11, 1915, holding the position through World War I, and overseeing the operations of more than a half million Sailors and two thousand ships.
The ceremony included music from the U.S. Navy Band, parading of the colors from the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard, striking of the bells to close the first 100 years of office operation and a cake cutting to commemorate the occasion. Greenert, along with Adm. James Holloway III, cut the cake together. Holloway, the twentieth chief of naval operations, is the oldest living CNO.
Greenert thanked Adm. Holloway for his dedication as CNO, adding his deep appreciation for the mentorship from Holloway during his own tenure while CNO.
Beginning on May 11, and continuing through the remainder of the year, the Navy will commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the CNO and OPNAV staff through a number of initiatives.
Commemorative events, material and information can be found at http://www.history.navy.mil/.