Congress established the Bureau in the Department of the Navy by an act of July 5, 1862 (12 Stat. 510), which transferred the hydrographic functions of the Navy's Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography (1842-1862) to the newly established Bureau of Navigation. During the early 20th century, BuOrd became involved in the development of aerial weapons. This often led to friction with the Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer), which had responsibility for the development of Naval aircraft. BuAer's work on "pilotless aircraft," or drones, conflicted with BuOrd's development of guided missiles. After World War II, the Navy examined ways to improve coordination between the two bureaus; ultimately, the decision was made to merge the two organizations into a new bureau, to be known as the Bureau of Naval Weapons (BuWeps).
BuOrd was disestablished by Congress by an act of August 18, 1959 (73 United States Statutes at Large 395), and its functions were transferred to the newly established Bureau of Naval Weapons. BuAir merged with BuOrd to form BuWeps. BuWeps, in turn, was disestablished in 1966 when the Navy overhauled its material organization, and was replaced with the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). Other system commands included the Naval Ship Systems Command and the Naval Ordnance Systems Command. Ship and Submarine ordnance functions fell under the new Naval Ordnance Systems Command while Air Ordnance stayed with the Naval Air Systems Command. In July 1974, the Naval Ordnance Systems Command and Naval Ships Systems Command merged to form the Naval Sea Systems Command. Traditional Naval Ordnance functions are now conducted at the Naval Surface Warfare Center which falls under the command of Naval Sea Systems Command.
Chiefs of the Bureau of Ordnance
- Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren, 1862-1863
- Captain Henry Augustus Wise, 1863-1868
- Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren, 1868-1869
- Rear Admiral Augustus Case, 1869–1873
- Commodore William N. Jeffers, 1873–1881
- Commodore Montgomery Sicard, 1881–1890
- Captain William M. Folger, 1890-1893
- Commodore William T. Sampson, 1893–1897
- Rear Admiral Charles O'Neil, 1897-1904
- Rear Admiral George A. Converse, 1904-1904
- Rear Admiral Newton E. Mason, 1904-1911
- Rear Admiral Nathan C. Twining, 1911-1913
- Rear Admiral Joseph Strauss, 1913-1916
- Rear Admiral Ralph Earle, 1916-1920
- Rear Admiral Charles B. McVay, Jr., 1920-1923
- Rear Admiral Claude C. Bloch, 1923-1927
- Rear Admiral William D. Leahy, 1927-1931
- Rear Admiral Edgar B. Larimer, 1931-1934
- Rear Admiral Harold R. Stark, 1934-1937
- Rear Admiral William R. Furlong, 1937-1941
- Rear Admiral William H. "Spike" Blandy, 1941–1943
- Vice Admiral George R. Husey, Jr., 1943-1947
- Rear Admiral Ablerg G. Noble, 1947-1950
- Rear Admiral Malcom F. Schoeffel, 1950-1954
- Rear Admiral Fredric S. Withington, 1954-1958
This article incorporates public domain material from the National Archives and Records Administration website http://www.archives.gov/.
- National Archives - Records of the Bureau of Ordnance.
- . - Commander, Naval Surface Warfare Center Home Page.
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