From June, 12 2013 Congressional Research Service report: Navy Ship Names
For ship types now being procured for the Navy, or recently procured for the Navy, naming rules can be summarized as follows:
• Aircraft carriers are generally named for past U.S. Presidents. Of the last 14, 10 were named for past U.S. Presidents, and two for Members of Congress.
• Virginia (SSN-774) class attack submarines are being named for states.
• Destroyers are named for deceased members of the Navy, Marine Corps, and
Coast Guard, including Secretaries of the Navy.
• Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs) are being named for regionally important U.S. cities and communities.
• Amphibious assault ships are being named for important battles in which U.S. Marines played a prominent part, and for famous earlier U.S. Navy ships that were not named for battles.
• San Antonio (LPD-17) class amphibious ships are being named for major U.S. cities and communities, and cities and communities attacked on September 11, 2001.
• Lewis and Clark (TAKE-1) class cargo and ammunition ships were named for famous American explorers, trailblazers, and pioneers.
• Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) ships/Afloat Forward Staging Bases (AFSBs) are being named for famous names or places of historical significance to U.S. Marines.