Historically a national navy operates from one or more bases that are maintained by the country or an ally. The base is a port that is specialized in naval operations, and often includes housing for off-shore crew, an arsenal depot for munitions, docks for the vessels, and various repair facilities. During times of war temporary bases may be constructed in closer proximity to strategic locations, as it is advantageous in terms of patrols and station-keeping. Nations with historically strong naval forces have found it advantageous to obtain basing rights in areas of strategic interest. Navy ships normally operate with a group, which may be a small squadron of comparable ships, or a larger naval fleet of various specialized ships. The commander of a fleet travels in the flag ship, which is usually the most powerful vessel in the group. Prior to the invention of radio, commands from the flag ship were communicated by means of flags. At night signal lamps could be used for a similar purpose. Later these were replaced by the radio transmitter or the flashing light when radio silence was needed.
A navy is the branch of a nation's military forces principally designated for naval warfare and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions. It includes anything conducted by surface ships, amphibious ships, submarines, and seaborne aviation, as well as ancillary support, communications, training, and other fields; recent developments have included space related operations. The strategic offensive role of a Navy is projection of force into areas beyond a country's shores (for example, to protect sea-lanes, ferry troops, or attack other navies, ports, or shore installations). The strategic defensive purpose of a Navy is to frustrate seaborne projection-of-force by enemies. The strategic task of the navy also may incorporate nuclear deterrence by use of nuclear missiles.
A navy will typically have two sets of ranks, one for enlisted personnel and one for officers. Typical ranks for commissioned officers include the following, in ascending order (Commonwealth ranks are listed first on each line):
- Acting Sub-Lieutenant / Ensign / Corvette Lieutenant
- Sub Lieutenant / Lieutenant Junior Grade / Frigate Lieutenant
- Lieutenant / Ship-of-the-Line Lieutenant / Captain Lieutenant
- Lieutenant Commander / Corvette Captain
- Commander / Frigate Captain
- Captain / Ship-of-the-Line Captain
- Commodore / Flotilla Admiral (in USA only: Rear Admiral (lower half)
- Rear Admiral (in USA only: Rear Admiral (upper half))
- Vice Admiral
- Fleet Admiral or Admiral of the Fleet or Grand Admiral
"Flag officers" include any rank that includes the word "admiral" (or commodore), and are generally in command of a battle group or similar flotilla of ships, rather than a single ship or aspect of a ship. However, commodores can also be temporary positions. For example, during World War II, a Navy captain was assigned duty as a convoy commodore, which meant that he was still a captain, but in charge of all the merchant vessels in the convoy. The most senior rank employed by a navy will tend to vary depending on the size of the navy and whether it is wartime or peacetime, for example, few people have ever held the rank of Fleet Admiral in the U.S. Navy, the chief of the Royal Australian Navy holds the rank of Vice Admiral, and the chief of the Irish Naval Service holds the rank of Commodore.
There are many career fields (listed below) available as an Officer in the Navy.
- Oceanography / Meteorology
- Public Affairs
- Civil Engineering
- Special Operations
- Warfare Supply,
Born in Los Angeles, California, a graduate of Notre Dame High School (Sherman Oaks) in 1964, and also a 1968 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Mullen have served in a wide range of assignments at sea and ashore, in Allied, Joint and Navy positions, overseas and in both the Atlantic and the Pacific Fleets. As a junior officer, he served in various leadership positions aboard USS Collett (DD-730), USS Blandy (DD-943), USS Fox (CG-33) and USS Sterrett (CG-31). He has commanded three ships: the gasoline tanker USS Noxubee (AOG-56), the guided missile destroyer USS Goldsborough (DDG-20), and the guided missile cruiser USS Yorktown (CG-48); and has also commanded Cruiser-Destroyer Group Two and the George Washington Battle Group. Mullen's last command at sea was as Commander, U.S. Second Fleet/Commander, NATO Striking Fleet Atlantic (COMSTRIKFLTLANT).
Ashore, Adm. Mullen served as Company Officer and Executive Assistant to the Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy. He also served in the Bureau of Naval Personnel as Director, Chief of Planning and Provisions, Surface Officer Distribution and in the Office of the Secretary of Defense on the staff of the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation. On the Chief of Naval Operations' staff, Adm. Mullen served as Deputy Director and Director of Surface Warfare and as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Resources, Requirements, and Assessments (N8). He was the 32nd Vice Chief of Naval Operations from August 2003 to October 2004.He was recognized by his peers in 1987 with the Vice Admiral Stockdale leadership award for leadership skill. He is one of 53 naval officers to be recognized by this award since its inception in 1980.In 1985, Mullen graduated from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., with a Master of Science degree in Operations Research, and in 1991, he completed the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program. As Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Mullen had operational responsibility for NATO missions in the Balkans, Iraq, and the Mediterranean. As Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, he was responsible for providing overall command, operational control, and coordination of U.S. naval forces in the European Command area of responsibility. He assumed these duties on 8 October 2004 and was relieved of them upon his becoming Chief of Naval Operations.
Admiral Sir James Michael Burnell-Nugent
Admiral Sir James Michael Burnell-Nugent KCB, CBE, ADC was the Commander-in-Chief Fleet of the Royal Navy. Burnell-Nugent joined the Royal Navy in 1971 after reading Mathematics at Cambridge. He has commanded in every rank from Lieutenant to Admiral, including flying his flag in all three aircraft carriers. He took up his final post in November 2005. As Commander-in-Chief Fleet he was responsible for operation of the ships, submarines and aircraft of the Royal Navy. He also has a NATO appointment as Commander Allied Maritime Component Command Northwood. He was awarded the CBE in 1999 and KCB in 2004.He commanded the conventional submarine HMS Olympus 1979-80 and the nuclear powered submarine HMS Conqueror 1984-86, carrying out many Cold War patrols. In command of the frigate HMS Brilliant 1992-93, he was involved in the early stages of the Bosnia Crisis. He was in command of the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible when she made two joint operational deployments to the Gulf for air operations over Iraq and then conducted further air operations during the Kosovo War. As Commander UK Maritime Forces 2001-02, he was Maritime Commander of the UK Joint Force and the Deputy Maritime Commander of the Coalition for the first 6 months of the War on Terror, a force of 40,000 men and women in 104 ships.
In between these operational duties he has served in several appointments in the Ministry of Defence, both on the Central and Naval Staffs, and gained
cross-Whitehall experience while seconded to HM Treasury for a year. In most of these appointments he has been involved in leadership and management of change issues. In 1999-2000 he was on the Navy Board as the Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff. On promotion to Vice Admiral, he took up the post of Second Sea Lord and Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command. On 15 November 2005, he was promoted to Admiral and took up his position as Commander-in-Chief Fleet. He stood down from this position in November 2007 in which he was replaced by Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope.
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