Naval Sea Systems Command


Ship Naming On 3 March 1819 an act of Congress formally placed the responsibility for assigning names to the Navy's ships in the hands of the Secretary of the Navy, a prerogative which he still exercises.

Keel Laying This is the formal recognition of the start of a ship's construction. In earlier times it was the "laying down" of the central or main timber making up the backbone of a vessel.

Stepping the Mast The placement of the mast into the hull in ancient times signified the moment when a "shell" truly became a ship. To commemorate that moment, the Romans placed coins under mast for good luck or to help deceased Sailors into the afterworld. Today, coins, often reflecting the ship's hull numbers, are typically placed under or near the mast for good luck in a small ceremony.

Launching This is the point when the ship enters the water for the first time. Traditionally, it coincides with the ship's christening with the ship sliding down the ways into the water with a splash.

Christening The official launching ceremony recognizing the "floating" of a ship by name and marked with the traditional breaking of a bottle of champagne across the bow.

Sail Away The ship's final departure from the construction yard for its homeport or commissioning site. It signifies the end of the new construction period and the beginning of its life preparing to perform the mission it was designed to undertake.

Commissioning The commissioning ceremony marks the acceptance of a ship as a unit of the operating forces of the United States Navy. At the moment of breaking the commissioning pennant, the ship will "come alive" and the crew will ceremonially run aboard ship. Thereafter the ship is officially referred to as a United States Ship (USS).
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Team Ships

PEO Ships

As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft. PEO Ships was created in November 2002 as part of a realignment of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition (ASN RDA) directorate. The reorganization created a stronger business focus and a more flexible and cost-effective management approach for developing and integrating technologies and systems across multiple ship classes


NAVSEA 21, the dedicated life-cycle management organization for the Navy's in-service surface ships, is currently embarking on critical modernization and maintenance programs to ensure that the surface fleet is upgraded with the latest technologies and will remain mission-relevant throughout each ship's service life. In addition, SEA 21 maintains more than 50 inactive ships for future disposal, donation, or transfer; and actively provides follow-on technical support to more than 150 ships in more than 50 partner navies.
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