Adm. Lisa Franchetti takes the helm as 1st woman to run the US Navy

On 14 August, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti took over the helm as acting chief of naval operations and the first woman to run the US Navy.

US Navy

Adm. Mike Gilday relinquished the office of the Chief of Naval Operations after successfully concluding his four-year tenure as the Navy’s top military leader in a ceremony at the United States Naval Academy.

Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti, who has been nominated by President Biden to be the next CNO, will perform the duties of the CNO until someone is formally appointed to that role in accordance with law.

Gilday became the 32nd CNO in August 2019. As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CNO acts as an advisor to the President of the United States, the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense. Under direction of the Secretary of the Navy, the CNO is responsible for the command, utilization of resources, and operating efficiency of naval forces and shore activities.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke at the ceremony highlighting the importance of the navy, and the increasingly critical role the service plays in strategic competition.

“To tackle the national security challenges of the 21st century, we need our Navy more than ever,” said Austin.

“We rely on our Navy to project American power, to protect American interests; we rely on our Navy to bolster our unmatched network of allies and partners, from the South China Sea to the Caribbean; and we rely on our Navy to deter conflict and keep the peace.”

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro acted as the presiding officer and keynote speaker of the ceremony. Similar to Austin, Del Toro emphasized Gilday’s “transformational leadership” and prioritization of readiness during an era of strategic competition.

For his part, Gilday reflected on the adaptation and change the Navy has undergone in adjusting to a new and challenging security environment, while also calling for the Department to “act with urgency and purpose” in order to maintain maritime superiority. 

In the absence of a confirmed 33rd Chief of Naval Operations, and in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 8035, Franchetti assumes the responsibilities of the CNO as the current Vice Chief of Naval Operations.

Adm. Franchetti was nominated by President Biden to be the 33rd Chief of Naval Operations this past July. If confirmed, she would be the first woman service chief and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.