Two-Ocean Navy Act

Last updated
Two-Ocean Navy Act
Great Seal of the United States (obverse).svg
Other short titlesVinson-Walsh Act
Long titleAn Act to establish the composition of the United States Navy, to authorize the construction of certain naval vessels, and for other purposes.
NicknamesNavy Construction Act of 1940
Enacted bythe 76th United States Congress
EffectiveJuly 19, 1940
Public law Pub.L.   76–757
Statutes at Large 54  Stat.   779, Chap. 644
Titles amended 34 U.S.C.: Navy
U.S.C. sections amended34 U.S.C. §§ 494-497, 498-498k
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the Houseas H.R. 10100 by Carl Vinson (D-GA) on June 19, 1940
  • Committee consideration by House Naval Affairs, Senate Naval Affairs
  • Passed the House on June 22, 1940 (Passed)
  • Passed the Senate on July 10, 1940 (Passed) with amendment
  • House agreed to Senate amendment on July 11, 1940 (Agreed)
  • Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on July 19, 1940

The Two-Ocean Navy Act, also known as the Vinson-Walsh Act, was a United States law enacted on July 19, 1940, and named for Carl Vinson and David I. Walsh, who chaired the Naval Affairs Committee in the House and Senate respectively. The largest naval procurement bill in U.S. history, it increased the size of the United States Navy by 70%. [1]



Modest naval expansion programs had been implemented by the Vinson-Trammell Act of 1934 and the Naval Act of 1938. [2] [3] In early June 1940, the U.S. Congress passed legislation that provided an 11% increase in naval tonnage as well as an expansion of naval air capacity. [4] On June 17, a few days after German troops conquered France, Chief of Naval Operations Harold Stark requested four billion dollars from Congress to increase the size of the American combat fleet by 70%, adding 257 ships amounting to 1,325,000 tons. [5] On June 18, after less than an hour of debate, the House of Representatives by a 316–0 vote authorized $8.55 billion for a naval expansion program, that put emphasis on aircraft. Rep. Vinson, who headed the House Naval Affairs Committee, said its emphasis on carriers did not represent any less commitment to battleships, but "The modern development of aircraft has demonstrated conclusively that the backbone of the Navy today is the aircraft carrier. The carrier, with destroyers, cruisers and submarines grouped around it[,] is the spearhead of all modern naval task forces." [6] The Two-Ocean Navy Act was enacted on July 19, 1940.

The Act authorized the procurement of: [1] [5]

The expansion program was scheduled to take five to six years, but a New York Times study of shipbuilding capabilities called it, "problematical" unless proposed, "radical changes in design" were dropped. [7]

See also

Related Research Articles

Cruiser Type of large warships

A cruiser is a type of warship. Modern cruisers are generally the largest ships in a fleet after aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships, and can usually perform several roles.

<i>Kriegsmarine</i> Naval warfare branch of Germanys armed forces (1935–1945)

The Kriegsmarine was the navy of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It superseded the Imperial German Navy of the German Empire (1871–1918) and the inter-war Reichsmarine (1919–1935) of the Weimar Republic. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches, along with the Heer and the Luftwaffe of the Wehrmacht, the German armed forces from 1933 to 1945.

United States Pacific Fleet Theater-level component command of the United States Navy

The United States Pacific Fleet (USPACFLT) is a theater-level component command of the United States Navy, located in the Pacific Ocean. It provides naval forces to the Indo-Pacific Command. Fleet headquarters is at Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, with large secondary facilities at North Island, San Diego Bay on the Mainland.

Ship class Group of ships of a similar design

A ship class is a group of ships of a similar design. This is distinct from a ship type, which might reflect a similarity of tonnage or intended use. For example, USS Carl Vinson is a nuclear aircraft carrier of the Nimitz class.

Imperial Japanese Navy Naval branch of the Empire of Japan

The Imperial Japanese Navy was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1868 until 1945, when it was dissolved following Japan's surrender in World War II. The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) was formed circa 1952-1954 after the dissolution of the IJN.

Warship Ship that is built and primarily intended for naval warfare

A warship or combatant ship is a naval ship that is built and primarily intended for naval warfare. Usually they belong to the armed forces of a state. As well as being armed, warships are designed to withstand damage and are usually faster and more maneuverable than merchant ships. Unlike a merchant ship, which carries cargo, a warship typically carries only weapons, ammunition and supplies for its crew. Warships usually belong to a navy, though they have also been operated by individuals, cooperatives and corporations.

History of the United States Navy Aspect of history

The history of the United States Navy divides into two major periods: the "Old Navy", a small but respected force of sailing ships that was notable for innovation in the use of ironclads during the American Civil War, and the "New Navy", the result of a modernization effort that began in the 1880s and made it the largest in the world by 1943.

Capital ship Leading ship of a naval fleet

The capital ships of a navy are its most important warships; they are generally the larger ships when compared to other warships in their respective fleet. A capital ship is generally a leading or a primary ship in a naval fleet.

Home Fleet

The Home Fleet was a fleet of the Royal Navy that operated from the United Kingdom's territorial waters from 1902 with intervals until 1967.

Carl Vinson American politician

Carl Vinson was an American politician who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for over 50 years and was influential in the 20th century expansion of the U.S. Navy. He was a member of the Democratic Party and represented Georgia in the House from 1914 to 1965. He was known as "The Father of the Two-Ocean Navy". He is the longest-serving member of the United States House of Representatives from the state of Georgia.

Soviet Navy Martime service branch of the Soviet Armed Forces

The Soviet Navy was the naval warfare uniform service branch of the Soviet Armed Forces. Often referred to as the Red Fleet, the Soviet Navy made up a large part of the Soviet Union's strategic planning in the event of a conflict with the opposing superpower, the United States, during the cold war period between the two countries. The influence of the Soviet Navy played a large role in the events involving the Cold War (1945-1991), as the majority of conflicts centred around the American-led NATO alliance in western Europe or power projection to maintain its sphere of influence in eastern Europe.

The names of commissioned ships of the United States Navy all start with USS, for United States Ship. Non-commissioned, primarily civilian-manned vessels of the U.S. Navy under the Military Sealift Command have names that begin with USNS, standing for United States Naval Ship. A letter-based hull classification symbol is used to designate a vessel's type. The names of ships are selected by the Secretary of the Navy. The names are those of states, cities, towns, important persons, important locations, famous battles, fish, and ideals. Usually, different types of ships have names originated from different types of sources.

The Cruiser Act is a United States federal law passed by the U.S. Congress on February 13, 1929. It authorized the construction of 20 new United States Navy ships: 19 cruisers and 1 aircraft carrier.

The United States Navy's Bureau of Ships (BuShips) was established by Congress on 20 June 1940, by a law which consolidated the functions of the Bureau of Construction and Repair (BuC&R) and the Bureau of Engineering (BuEng). The new bureau was to be headed by a chief and deputy-chief, one selected from the Engineering Corps and the other from the Construction Corps. The chief of the former Bureau of Engineering, Rear Admiral Samuel M. "Mike" Robinson, was named BuShips' first chief, while the former chief of the Bureau of Construction & Repair, Rear Admiral Alexander H. Van Keuren, was named as BuShips' first Deputy-Chief. The bureau's responsibilities included supervising the design, construction, conversion, procurement, maintenance, and repair of ships and other craft for the Navy; managing shipyards, repair facilities, laboratories, and shore stations; developing specifications for fuels and lubricants; and conducting salvage operations.

Japanese aircraft carrier <i>Chiyoda</i>

Chiyoda was a light aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. Originally constructed as the second vessel of the Chitose-class seaplane tenders in 1934, she continued to operate in that capacity during the Second Sino-Japanese War and the early stages of the Pacific War until her conversion into a light aircraft carrier after the Battle of Midway. She was sunk during the Battle of Leyte Gulf by a combination of naval bombers, cruiser shellfire and destroyer-launched torpedoes.

Treaty battleship Battleship built in the 1920s or 1930s under the terms of one of a number of international treaties governing warship construction

A treaty battleship was a battleship built in the 1920s or 1930s under the terms of one of a number of international treaties governing warship construction. Many of these ships played an active role in the Second World War, but few survived long after it.

Naval Act of 1938

The Naval Act of 1938, known as the Second Vinson Act, was United States legislation enacted on May 17, 1938, that "mandated a 20% increase in strength of the United States Navy". It represented the United States' response to the Japanese invasion of China and the German annexation of Austria.

United States battleship retirement debate

The United States battleship retirement debate was a debate among the United States Navy, Marine Corps, Congress, and independent groups over the effectiveness of naval gunfire support (NGFS) provided by Iowa-class battleships, and whether or not an alternative should be implemented. The debate centered on the best way to provide fire support for amphibious assault and other troops near a shoreline.

Naokuni Nomura

Naokuni Nomura was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy, and briefly served as Navy Minister in the 1940s.

Division (naval)

A naval division is a subdivision of a squadron or flotilla. It can also be a subdivision of a fleet. A division is the smallest naval formation, most commonly numbering between two to four ships.


  1. 1 2 Hutcheson, John A., Jr. Encyclopedia of World War II: A Political, Social, and Military History. p. 1541.
  2. Allan R. Millett, "Assault from the sea: The development of amphibious warfare between the wars—the American, British, and Japanese experiences," in Williamson R. Murray, Allan R. Millett, eds., Military Innovation in the Interwar Period (Cambridge University Press, 1996), 83
  3. "Vinson-Trammell Act of 1934 - P.L. 73-135" (PDF). 48 Stat. 503 ~ House Bill 6604. Legis★Works. March 27, 1934. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 3, 2015. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  4. David C. Evans and Mark R. Peattie, Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941 (Naval Institute Press, 1997), 356
  5. 1 2 The Decline and Renaissance of the Navy, 1922-1944, Senator David I. Walsh, 78th Congress, Session 2, Document No. 2,
  6. Trussell, C.P. (19 June 1940). "8 1/2 Billion is Voted for 1,500 Warships" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  7. "New Navy Building Proceeds Swiftly" (PDF). New York Times. 21 July 1940. Retrieved 9 August 2012.