The United States Navy is the nautical services branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. Established on October 13, 1775 by the Continental Congress, the U.S. Navy today consists of seven active fleets that employ more than 400,000 active duty and reserve service members. It is the second-largest navy in the world, behind China.
The U.S. Navy is a part of the U.S. Department of Defense. The Navy is managed by the Department of the Navy, the government organization that oversees the branch's functions. The Department of the Navy's seniormost military officer is the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), a four-star Admiral who, in turn, answers to the Department's leader, the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV for short). The Department of the Navy's current CNO and SECNAV are Admiral Mike Gilday and Carlos Del Toro, respectively.
The U.S. Navy considers October 13, 1775, its official founding date, after the Continental Congress passed legislation designating one vessel of ten guns and another of fourteen guns to be national cruisers. Congress would go on to purchase more ships as tensions with Great Britain grew during the American Revolution, establishing the first American Navy as a result. After the Revolutionary War ended, the navy fell into oblivion and disuse, as congress did not have the power of taxation or a way to collect funding for a Navy. Congress would reestablish a navy in 1794, after the U.S. Constitution had been ratified. Congress established the Department of the Navy four years later, an organization with the power to make contracts, manage the fleet, and distribute funds.