10 U.S. Code § 8662 - Naming

Not more than one vessel of the Navy may have the same name.
Each battleship shall be named for a State. However, if the names of all the States are in use, a battleship may be named for a city, place, or person.
The Secretary of the Navy may change the name of any vessel bought for the Navy.

Historical and Revision Notes

Revised section

Source (U.S. Code)

Source (Statutes at Large)


34 U.S.C. 462.

R.S. 1532.


34 U.S.C. 461.

May 4, 1898, ch. 234, 30 Stat. 390 (2d sentence under “Armor and Armament”); May 13, 1908, ch. 166, 35 Stat. 159; June 29, 1949, ch. 278, 63 Stat. 300 (6th par.).


34 U.S.C. 463.

R.S. 1533.

In subsection (a) the words “care shall be taken that” are omitted as surplusage.

In subsection (b) the words “first class” are omitted as obsolete.

In subsection (c) the words “by authority of law” are omitted as surplusage.

Prior Provisions

A prior section 8662, act Aug. 10, 1956, ch. 1041, 70A Stat. 533, provided for military training, organization, and equipping of prisoners who have been sent to United States Disciplinary Barracks, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 90–377, § 6(3), July 5, 1968, 82 Stat. 288.


2018—Pub. L. 115–232 renumbered section 7292 of this title as this section.

2015—Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 114–92 struck out subsec. (d) which read as follows:

“(1) The Secretary of the Navy may not announce or implement any proposal to name a vessel of the Navy until 30 days after the date on which the Secretary submits to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives a report setting forth such proposal.

“(2) Each report under this subsection shall describe the justification for the proposal covered by such report in accordance with the standards referred to in section 1018(a) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.”

2014—Subsec. (d)(2). Pub. L. 113–291 substituted “section 1018(a)” for “section 1024(a)”.

2013—Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 112–239 added subsec. (d).

Effective Date of 2018 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 115–232 effective Feb. 1, 2019, with provision for the coordination of amendments and special rule for certain redesignations, see section 800 of Pub. L. 115–232, set out as a note preceding section 3001 of this title.

Effective Date of 2013 Amendment

Pub. L. 112–239, div. A, title X, § 1018(c), Jan. 2, 2013, 126 Stat. 1911, provided that:

“This section [amending this section and enacting provisions set out as a note under this section] and the amendment made by this section shall go into effect on the date that is 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act [Jan. 2, 2013].”

Pub. L. 112–239, div. A, title X, § 1018(a), Jan. 2, 2013, 126 Stat. 1910, provided that:

Congress makes the following findings:
The Navy traces its ancestry to October 13, 1775, when an Act of the Continental Congress authorized the first vessel of a navy for the United Colonies. Vessels of the Continental Navy were named for early patriots and military heroes, Federal institutions, colonial cities, and positive character traits representative of naval and military virtues.
An Act of Congress on March 3, 1819, made the Secretary of the Navy responsible for assigning names to vessels of the Navy. Traditional sources for vessel names customarily encompassed such categories as geographic locations in the United States; historic sites, battles, and ships; naval and military heroes and leaders; and noted individuals who made distinguished contributions to United States national security.
These customs and traditions provide appropriate and necessary standards for the naming of vessels of the Navy.”