Ask Noam. He uses this expression in his Hegemony or Survival and attributes it to an unnamed American admiral.
If it really did originate with an American admiral my bet is on William Sims, who after the War engaged in a public dispute with the Wilson administration about what he felt were the deficiencies of the U.S. Navy during the War -- among these deficiencies, convoy protection against U-boats. The weak circumstantial case it that he'd have had occasion to say something like "boil the ocean", either repeating someone else's witticism or coining it himself
Discuss word origins and meanings.
End of topic.