The New International Encyclopædia/Navy, Department of the
NAVY, Department of the. One of the nine executive departments of the United States Government, created by act of Congress of April 30, 1798, and charged with the general control and administration of the navy. From 1789 to 1798 the management of naval affairs was under the control of the War Department. At the head of the department is a secretary, who is a member of the Cabinet, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, and receives an annual salary of $8000. As the President is by the Constitution the commander-in-chief of the navy, the Secretary is generally subject to his direction. It is his duty to execute such orders as the President may give relative to the administration of naval affairs, including the procurement of naval supplies and the construction, armament, equipment, and employment of vessels of war. A variety of specific duties are imposed upon him by law, in which cases he is not subject to the direction of the President. He makes annual report to the President of the operations of the Navy Department. His deputy is the Assistant Secretary, who is appointed by the President, and who during the absence or incapacitation of the Secretary acts in his stead, taking the title of acting Secretary. An act of June 8, 1880, authorized the appointment of a judge-advocate-general of the navy from the marine corps or the navy with the rank of colonel or captain. It is his duty to receive, revise, and record the proceedings of courts-martial, courts of inquiry, boards for the examination of officers for retirement and promotion in the naval service, and to give opinions on such legal questions as arise in the course of the administration of the navy. Another officer of importance attached to the Navy Department is the commandant of the marine corps.
By an act of July 5, 1862, eight bureaus were established in the Navy Department, at the head of each being a chief, appointed by the President from among the officers of the navy. These are, the bureaus of (1) Yards and Docks; (2) Equipment; (3) Navigation; (4) Ordnance; (5) Construction and Repair; (6) Steam Engineering; (7) Medicine and Surgery; and (8) Supplies and Accounts. See Navy, under United States.