Former SECNAV Nitze Dies

Story Number: NNS041021-09Release Date: 10/21/2004 12:19:00 PM
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From Secretary of the Navy Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Paul H. Nitze, whose distinguished government career included serving as Secretary of the Navy from 1963 to 1967, died Oct. 20 at his home in Washington, D.C.

"The thoughts and prayers of the men and women of the Navy and Marine Corps team go out to the Nitze family at this time of loss," Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England said. "Paul Nitze's life was one of service to America and the cause of freedom. He was one of America's greatest public servants, and a patriot who played many important roles in our nation's history and the cause of world peace."

During his time as the Navy secretary, Nitze raised the level of attention given to quality of service issues. His many achievements included establishing the first Personnel Policy Board and retention task force (the Alford Board), and obtaining targeted personnel bonuses. He lengthened commanding officer tours and raised command responsibility pay.

Nitze became a strong advocate for officers' advanced education opportunities and worked to enhance greater integration of senior Navy staff by moving the Chief of Naval Operations' office next to his own. He also worked to ease unnecessary burdens on Sailors by relaxing in-port duty section requirements and hiring civilian custodial workers.

Following his term as Secretary of the Navy, Nitze served as deputy secretary of Defense (1967-1969), as a member of the U.S. delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) (1969-1973), and assistant secretary of Defense for International Affairs (1973-1976). Later, fearing Soviet rearmament, he opposed the ratification of SALT II (1979). He was President Reagan's chief negotiator of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty (1981-1984). In 1984, Nitze was named special advisor to the president and secretary of State on Arms Control.

For more than forty years, Nitze was one of the chief architects of U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union. President Reagan awarded Nitze the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985 for his contributions to the freedom and security of the United States.

"Paul Nitze stood the watch and bravely defied the fascists and communists who threatened freedom during World War II and the Cold War," England said. "For this, and so much more, our nation and the world owe him a deep debt of gratitude.

In April of this year, the Navy christened a guided missile destroyer named for Nitze. The ship is the 44th of 62 Arleigh Burke class destroyers currently authorized by Congress.

"Today, the brave Sailors who serve in his namesake ship, USS Nitze, continue to honor Paul Nitze's commitment to freedom as they defend America." England said. "Paul Nitze's contributions to America are legendary. We shall always remember him."

Recent photos of Nitze with crewmembers of the ship can be found on the Navy News Stand Web site at

For related news, visit the Secretary of the Navy Navy NewsStand page at

Pentagon announces naming of the USS Nitze DDG 94.
Official U.S. Navy file photo of former Secretary of the Navy Paul H. Nitze (right) and former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen looking at a model of an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer at a Pentagon press conference in 2001, following the announcement that a destroyer will be named in honor of Nitze.
September 27, 2002
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