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The Navy plays an important role in helping to maintain the freedom of the seas. It defends the right of our country and its allies to travel and trade freely on the world's oceans and helps protect our country and national interests overseas during times of international conflict through power projection ashore. Navy cruisers, destroyers, frigates, submarines, aircraft carriers, and support ships are ready to maintain the freedom of the seas. Navy sea and air power make it possible for our country to use the oceans when and where our national interests require it.

The Navy is a large and diverse organization. It is made up of over 360,000 officers and enlisted sailors. Nearly 53,000 officers serve on active duty in the Navy. They may be in a variety of assignments on ship, submarine, and shore facilities or in the air as pilots or flight officers. They serve as nuclear power instructors, and special warfare officers.

Others perform specialized duties in intelligence, engineering, law, medicine, and scientific careers. Between 5,000 and 6,000 men and women join the Navy as officers every year. Navy people operate and repair nearly 300 ships and over 4,000 aircraft; they serve in such diverse fields as radio operators, network systems administrators, dental specialists, seamen, computer programmers, photographers, ship electricians, and gas turbine systems technicians and work in many other exciting careers.

Navy people serve on ships at sea, on submarines under the sea, in aviation positions on land and sea, and at shore bases around the world. The Navy recruits over 40,000 people each year to fill openings in Navy career fields.