Secretary of the Navy. He served as civilian head of the Navy prior to and during WW2. During his tenure as Secretary of the Navy he led the unprecedented US naval build-up that produced the 1,000-ship-plus Navy, a crucial element of the Allied victories over Germany and Japan in May and August 1945. A Republican, he was appointed Secretary of the Navy in an effort to achieve bipartisan political unity by Democratic President Franklin ROOSEVELT. He served in that position from 1940 to 1944, providing the astute political and organizational leadership of the global naval force that led to the Allied victory over the Axis powers.