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Release No: 1047-04
October 20, 2004

Death of Paul H. Nitze, Former Secretary of the Navy

Paul H. Nitze, whose distinguished government career included serving as Secretary of the Navy from 1963 to 1967, died last night at his home in Washington, D.C.

Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England said, "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. Today, the brave sailors who serve in his namesake ship the USS Nitze continue to honor Paul Nitze's commitment to freedom as they defend America."

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.

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. Recent photos of Nitze with crewmembers of the ship can be found on the Navy News Stand website at http://www.news.navy.mil .

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