Some navies reserve specific names for their capital ships. Names reserved for capital ships include chiefs of state (e.g. Bismarck), important places, historically important naval officers or admiralty (e.g. De Ruyter), historical events or objects (e.g. USS Constitution), and traditional names (e.g. HMS Ark Royal). However, there are some exceptions to the rule.
Beginning with USS Texas (the first U.S. battleship), U.S. capital ships have traditionally been named after U.S. states[a]. Lesser vessels are named after U.S. territories (e.g. Alaska-class cruisers just before and during World War II), major U.S. cities (e.g. cruisers), or U.S. presidents (e.g. early attack submarines and late aircraft carriers). Prior to and during World War II the Imperial Japanese Navy also followed the practice of naming battleships after provinces (e.g. Yamato).
Beginning with the first class of Trident-equipped ballistic missile submarines (i.e. the Ohio class), state names have been applied to U.S. nuclear submarines, indicating their status as capital ships. Previous ballistic missile submarines (e.g. Poseidon missile-equipped submarines) had not been named for states. After the completion of the last Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, state names were applied to attack submarines (e.g. Virginia class). Earlier attack submarines had been named for major cities (e.g. Los Angeles class) – as was previously the practice for cruisers (e.g. USS Indianapolis).