Home » Education Legislation » Navy Looking to Add Rigor to SWO Candidate Training Ahead of Assignment to Ship Crew

Navy Looking to Add Rigor to SWO Candidate Training Ahead of Assignment to Ship Crew

Adm. Philip S. Davidson, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, presents a surface warfare officer pin to Midshipman 1st Class Jacob Wirz, recognizing his achievement as the first midshipman to select a ship during the U.S. Naval Academy’s Ship Selection Night in Alumni Hall. During ship selection, first class midshipmen assigned to the surface warfare community choose their first ship and homeport. US Navy photo.

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Navy is taking a serious look at its Surface Warfare Officer candidate training, with the hopes of creating more proficient officers before assigning them to ship crews, the commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command said today.

Adm. Phil Davidson said that, after leading a 60-day effort to compile the Comprehensive Review of Recent Surface Forces Incidents after several surface ship collisions last year, he is dedicated to adding more rigor to individual and unit-level assessments – with a particular eye on the seamanship and navigation training and assessments for SWO candidates.

“If you don’t have the underpinning foundation across the board – SWO candidates, your qualified SWOs on the ship, department head, [executive officer], [commanding officer] – then you’re short of an element of the team,” Davidson told reporters after giving a keynote speech at the annual Surface Navy Association symposium.
“My assessment of the team assessment, and SWO candidate training especially, it’s not sufficient enough when it comes to seamanship and navigation. You end up with conning officers and JOODs (junior officers of the deck) who [don’t] have sufficient depth to be part of the team from the outset, and that’s what we want to get to. JOOD is a role, conning officer is a role. They have to be competent in those roles when they step aboard a ship, and to have them be students aboard those ships is too much of a burden.”

This need for young officers to be proficient from their first day on an operational ship’s crew was highlighted by the fatal collision between destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) and a merchant ship last summer. At the time of the collision, Davidson said during his speech, “there were only two ranks on watch: the CO, and ensigns.”

As a result, Davidson said SWO candidate training would be lengthened and would include more rigorous training and assessment on seamanship and navigation, damage control, risk assessment and other fundamentals.

He also called for a correction of the number of SWO candidates in the fleet. On the one hand, the Navy’s need for qualified SWOs is going up: due to dual-crewing of Littoral Combat Ships and other factors, the Navy needs more SWOs to serve as department heads, and as a result “there are a lot of people in the officer SWO candidate category aboard our destroyers now.” However, Davidson said some destroyers have nearly 40 SWO candidates in the crew, compared to about two dozen in the 1990s, and “that’s going to mean SWO candidates without jobs, and it’s competing for qualification time, it’s competing for time on the bridge.”

Adm. Phil Davidson, right, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, asks Sailors questions about steering control console procedures in the pilothouse of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52). Barry is forward deployed to Yokosuka Japan, supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. Davidson toured fleet concentration areas around the world while leading a 60-day comprehensive review of the surface forces. US Navy Photo

In addition to the length of training and the number of officers being trained, Davidson said there’s some talk about how to train the officers, whether at sea or using high-fidelity simulators. The Comprehensive Review goes into detail about the need for better simulators to train and assess SWOs throughout their careers – from SWO candidate training to an assessment ahead of a CO assignment – and a recent junior officer of the deck course that was created relies heavily on giving young officers reps and sets on a simulator.

Still, there are some things an officer can only learn by being at sea on a warship. On Jan. 10 at the SNA event, House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee chairman Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) suggested that no young officer should be assigned to a crew until he or she had significant at sea experience – much the way some foreign navies handle their new officer training.

“I think that ensigns should have to spend a year on a merchant ship and obtain their third mate’s license before reporting to a U.S. warship,” he said.

Davidson said he planned to talk to Wittman in the coming weeks about this idea – which Wittman acknowledged might not be feasible but could provide food for thought as the Navy considers how to better train its newest officers.

Hedid say he would be willing to give the Surface Warfare Officer’s School (SWOS) some fleet ships to train on, if requested. Operational aircraft carriers often take time from their own training schedules to conduct carrier landing training and qualifications for student pilots in T-45C Goshawks, and Davidson said something comparable for the surface navy would be worth considering.

“We’ve had that happen in the past – as a CO I provided the school a ship, as a [prospective CO] I’ve been on a ship for a week doing that kind of stuff, and I’d like to get back to it,” he said.

  • John A Barnes

    The Navy could easily conduct a retrospective study of the competency level of US Merchant Marine Academy Mids who end up in the Navy as Ensign and in SWO (~25% of grads go active duty in some capacity vs the rest go Merchant) with the new Ensigns from other commissioning means. Pull SWO school records, pull evals as SWO Candidates as to how they performed on ships, and pull post-SWO evals? Kings Point (USMMA) Deck Grads come out 3rd Mate License and already have a year at Sea on Merchant, MSC and Navy ships when they graduate. If data shows a difference, then perhaps the Navy can learn from KP and how they actively train their Mids to navigate and conn a ship. KP Engine Grads come out of school with a license, a year at sea, and hands-on skills. KP and the State Maritime Academies (SMA’s) have never stopped teaching Celestial, those officers would not be literally lost if GPS was hacked…. The Navy may want to benchmark KP and SMA standards of training versus their own. In fact, the Navy may want to take the new Navy Ensigns coming on active duty from KP and develop a different pathway to get them through SWO school/qualified quicker since they have more practical experience at sea.

    • John Byron

      The surface navy has benchmarked itself against the requirements to get a driver’s license in a slack state.

    • Stephen Hampton

      Great thought, or at least some variation of the idea. I was blessed with great XOs when I had Command …. So critical to ship training plan for Sailors both Enlisted and Officers. One of them was a Merchant Marine guy, and he was the best mariner in the ship. I learned from him everyday, and he (like the other great XOs) tirelessly schooled the ship through all phases of operations. In that case …. It appeared to me that by the time the merchant marine officers reached the XO level, that deeper roots of the beginning had an impact. That said ….. Officer capability is so dependent on so many other variables and habits built over time. A good schoolhouse and simulator foundation so critical, but just as important is the critical assessment and continued training in the ship, constant review and application of lessons, and a return mechanism to training in the most complex situations. And lastly, complete and deep understanding of ship system and operating modes/procedure. In my life, there is an interesting parallel to seamanship and warfare performance, versus skiing and instrument flying; both require perfection of fundamentals and system understanding and then proficiency and periodic re-training to maintain a high level of performance.

    • kapena16

      Yes, excellent observation. Maritime Academy grads come out after 4 years of intensive training in ‘specific’ areas of work. You’re either on deck or in the engine room. THAT is the first thing the navy needs to figure out. This idea of a broad based multiple billet career path is a monumental waste of time, energy, and limited people resources. Civilian Academy Grads have a real 4 year college education in addition to industry specific training AND HANDS ON EXPERIENCE. That cannot be emphasized enough and is frequently misunderstood by many people everywhere. When a man/woman leave the Academy after graduation, their training and education creates a person ‘ready to stand a watch’ upon walking aboard the ship. There isn’t more training involved. Everyone else onboard expects you to TURN TO and do your job. Obviously, there is some degree of observation and learning for some unique ships or the ‘routines’ unique to any one ship. But the basics of standing a bridge watch at sea (or in the E/R) is a given. Nobody stands there and holds your hand for the full four hours you are on duty. It’s the “expectation” and reality of your four years at an Academy. Compare that to any bridge or ECR on any Navy ship and the Ensigns that are there with all the other crew with them. Here too, it’s worth remembering that a commercial vessel is operating at sea in heavy traffic, fog, etc, with 2 people on the bridge, maybe 3 if the Captain feels compelled to be there (or is asked), Same in the Engine Room. Logbooks, weather reporting, vessel traffic management, navigation, all of it being safely accomplished by 1 individual, with the lookout keeping tabs on things out the window. Amazing, isn’t it? I have advocated for Navy leadership to seriously re-evaluate just what all these people are doing on the bridge of your average Navy vessel going in and out of port. There are far too many people involved in too little being done and the fact that there have been so many accidents with death and destruction is prima facie evidence that….that style of bridge management and manning clearly (and is painfully obvious) does NOT work. Let us do something different. I think, finally, many people get this. Lets see what they come up with next.

    • MarlineSpikeMate

      Right on the money, however the USN mindset was (getting better) far from this. They operated in the “sea warrior” mentality, with seamanship really having no bearing or prominent mindset in the SWO community. Steaming and driving the ship was a collateral. Fighting the ship was primary and the unbreakable connection between the three was weak.

      Could you imagine a fighter pilot who thought that flying was a collateral, but his mentality was that he was an air warrior (take the pilot part out). They failed miserably to realize that this is the foundation that must be mastered and built upon to be a successful combatant. A ship is a ship, weapons and tactics are built upon the ship.

      As John Paul Jones said, “It is by no means enough that an officer of the Navy should be a capable mariner. He must be that, of course, but also a great deal more.” Well if he isn’t a capable mariner, he definitely isn’t a great deal more.

  • John Byron


    And how about of the rest of the training sequence, you know, the surface equivalent of the months and months and months of beat-your-brains-in training in a true training environment that submariners and aviators have as mandatory on the path to command.

    In training and readiness, it’s pay me now or pay me later.

    Invariably the modern surface navy picks pay-me-later, because, well, you know, it’s cheaper and our culture eats its young.

    • J C Harvey, Jr ADM, USN (Ret)

      John, please give me a call (703) 575-4530. Your Pers 412N shipmate from days gone by, John

    • NavySubNuke

      Careful – next thing you know the SWO community will start doing intelligent things like actually trying to balance out their wardrooms with a mixture of talent based on how well they do in the training pipeline like the Sub force does instead of just letting people randomly pick where they want to go for 18 months before randomly reshuffling them again….

  • RDF

    As an aviator we had every cruise in the summer a gaggle of midshipmen check into the squadron for a month or two. We always sent them ashore to have a good time in the med.

  • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

    Why is there no mention of looking at how foreign navies train their SWOs? I’ve been on an Aussie ship. Those guys seemed really confident and proficient.

    There’s something just a bit off with the USN SWO leadership. They seem to be suddenly “learning” an awful lot of things that seem to be common sense.

    Initial training, seamanship, warfighting proficiency and crew rest are actually important and we should emphasize them. Wow. Brilliant.

    • Curtis Conway

      THAT is the Ivy League Mindset. They know and you don’t. Growing up on a farm has no value in these people’s minds, in fact it is probably disqualifying in their minds. By age 13 (if you survive that long), everyone who grew up on a ‘family farm’ has already demonstrated more leadership and responsibility, prioritization of what is important like concern for others (LIFE), then equipment, than shown by the JOOD and OOD on the Destroyers in question that had their accidents, who were obviously preoccupied with trivial things in comparison. Safety of the ship and its crew is PARAMOUNT, compared to anything else in your life . . . otherwise, you don’t get to stand this watch. It’s not just a qualification you must achieve in your career path, and if you think in those terms, then you belong in another realm of human endeavor, NOT serving on the Bridge of a Man-O-War.

      • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

        Perhaps. I tend to think it’s more that the SWO community tends to gets the bottom-third of the various commissioning sources.

        SWOs tended to be the folks who cannot qualify for aviation, submarines, etc. At least that was my experience as an NROTC mid in the mid-90s.

        • Curtis Conway

          there is some truth there, and that is why the training program that had been established and proven for decades, and was discarded, was so untoward and irresponsible of the powers that be, particularly just to streamline training and save money. Cost us a lot.

    • MarlineSpikeMate

      This is not only true with just the Aussies! It is true with EVERY western Navy except the United States. We embarrass ourself, and everyone will tell you that.

  • Curtis Conway

    Well, the concern is there and a desire to improve the system with some good ideas and programs to do so have been discussed. However, every ship is a family, and an organism that must train, operate and sustain itself. Good candidates aware of the basics should be provided by the pipeline and come from primary schools, and the ship with its individual operational qualities must rise to the challenge. Personnel Qualification & Standards on each class of ship has not been mentioned here, and (I’m sure already exist). As systems migrate on the ship, those requirements must also change to include demonstration of proficiency in appropriate environments. On USS Ticonderoga (CG-47) The First Aegis Cruiser, the CIC Team and many others in the Operations Department had to qualify in all console modes all the way to Flag TAO. Understanding their responsibilities was the beginning of their training. Functioning in a Combat Team Environment was the goal, and it doesn’t ‘just happen’. That qualified team with experts in requisite areas is trained, evaluated and nurtured, and all feeding other systems and anticipating and reacting to other stimuli. These teambuilds are perishable too. If you lose too many qualified individuals, and have not trained replacements, and have them waiting in the wings competing for the spot, then you end up with steel bending, or worse. The equipment will NOT do everything. The equipment sets are the tools provided to accomplish the task by a thinking human being. Competition, competition, competition within a team environment. When it ‘Clicks’ it’s not a secret, and everyone sees it, and agrees. That is what Peer Reviews are all about. EVERYONE has a vested interest in Survival in Combat (and normal operations). Our ‘Charlie Oscars’ must rise to the challenge. THAT is why that selection board and career path is so important.

    After reading the article and contemplating the comments, it is clear that a Unit REFTRA prior to COMPTUEX is required.

    • Stephen Hampton

      Excellent point in the qualification mechanism, and what I was trying to touch on in my comment to John Barnes and John Byron. The building block approach and requirement of fundamentals is so critical. I am still most proud of my entry level qualification …. Like Midshipmen Cruise Dive Officer Qual, my Sounding and Security, After-Steering, and log-keeping Qualification on my way to EOOW. And of my Boat Officer Qual, and my CIC Plotter, RADNAV, and Console Quals enroute to my OOD Qual; the same ones that enlisted Sailors had as thier foundations. In my JO tours, my Chiefs, DHs, XOs, and COs expected, and celebrated those simple but fundumenytal watch station Quals as part of the building blocks. I think it left me with better understanding of team responsibility, and it certainly left my appreciation for what young Sailors do everyday for the team, and the work/performance required. In my career, and in Command, I observed the Surface community expect less of that from both Officers and Senior Enlisted — the metric of fashion was speed of the Qualification, and having the end Qual —- vice having the depth, or experience in the building blocks. I recall the translation of JO survey results into “get your officers Qualified faster with less oversight” (the micro management thing) by CNO Clark and the TyCOM. And watching the community bypass Qaulification building blocks. Just one Example — Senior Enlisted OOD Quals: leverage a very group and get watch bill flexibility (and great experience). But many would do it without requiring the CPOs to also have all the Pre-requisite Quals in CIC and Engineering. In some cases, CPO experience and maturity could overcome that critical shortfall. But msybe not under duress/complex situations (take risk sez the leadership). But here is the rub …… That standard of skipping or shorting the foundation then crept into other areas of shipboard Qualification ….. And into the timeline and experience of the Officer qualifications. Best intention to speed the qualification and feel good, or get some added capacity ….. But unintended and poorly thought consequence.

      • Curtis Conway

        Lack of (competent) leadership, and ‘building a house on sand’ is what you just described. No way to fix that once it is this deep, and institutionalized. Got to start over. Bringing back REFTRA in the Surface Navy would be a good start, but not the whole solution. Shipboard life in the constant growth environment.

    • Stephen Hampton

      As a PS, the small, building block Quals are also the Surface equivalent to the training ground for small team leadership so critical to the OOD, EOOW, and TAO positions at a later point … And eventually unit and ship leadership. So, as one example, having the JO trained and qualified, and actually standing watch as the Piloting/RADNAV or a Surface Module/SWC team leader is critical to eventually being a good CIC Watch Officer, and then an OOD. Small team leadership and system expertise performance a critical build block.

  • Former_Naval_Person

    I was lucky that my NROTC unit had a simulator (albeit primitive as this was the mid 1970’s) in which we could model a ship vs a submarine. While it did not have visuals, it did get us thinking in terms of maneuvering through space and gauging a ships reaction times. The ability to think ahead is important as ships do not respond as quickly as motor vehicles.

    On my first ship, the old flagship out of Japan, I was drilled while on watch on the bridge by more senior officers, presented a situation and each time I gave orders regarding the steering or speed of the virtual ship he would tell me the results. In this way he simulated the need to correct for wind or current while maneuvering in a channel, avoiding other shipping, and other scenarios that one might face at sea. I was also shown how to do rough maneuvering board calculations on the radar scope using grease pencils, and I became rather proficient at this. Our training also involved running maneuvering exercises (often with foreign naval vessels), and as a young Ensign (under proper supervision, of course) I was able to plan the maneuvers, determine the proper signals to send, communicate them to the other ships in the formation, execute the maneuvers, and track the progress of the movements of the other ships.

    When I returned to CONUS, the training atmosphere for JO’s was very different. During a maneuvering exercise with just one other ship (from within our squadron), it was all JOs on deck who were not on watch in engineering. Each officer was assigned a task, very similar to what we did at SWOS. Because no one had to handle more than one task, they never developed the ability to multi-task, and never put all the pieces together in their minds. This kind of training did not instill responsibility or develop the mental picture that a SWO needs to have in order to navigate safely while performing the other necessary tasks.

    Perhaps because of my earlier training, I quickly became the go-to guy for taking the ship in and out of port, conducting beachings (it was an LST), or other special situations. (Perhaps I had some native talent in this area, but if so it was balanced by my deficiencies when it came to the engineering plant.) As an OOD, I tried to replicate the sort of training I had received, but I know from speaking with other officers that this was not a common practice. Unfortunately, even more senior officers were not comfortable maneuvering their ships in confined areas, especially in the face of a strong current or stiff breeze. I had one CO who was getting overly excited at the angle of the bow as we went through the channel into Pearl Harbor. Fighting the current and the wind, I had to steer quite a few degrees off from our intended course in order to maintain the proper track through the channel. (I had briefed the probability of having to do this in our navigation discussions prior to entering port.) He calmed down when I had him look at the track on the harbor chart and he could see that we were tracking down mid-channel. I thanked the OOD from my first ship for drilling me on just this sort of circumstance, and others which helped me navigate through places like the Shimonoseki Strait or the Strait of Malacca, or react quickly in the event of a downed aircraft.

    I can’t help but think that part of the problem may be due to the lack of practical training on the bridge for the youngest JOs, and while more advanced simulator training might help, the other commenters are correct in stating that nothing really equals being at sea.

    • Curtis Conway

      I wonder how many JOOWs do not know or appreciate Advance & Transfer?

      • Former_Naval_Person

        Good point. Given the recent spate of accidents, one wonders how many OOD’s truly know or appreciate them, either.

  • NavySubNuke

    It really shouldn’t surprise people to find out that the same CNO that oversaw the shutdown of SWOS as unnecessary is also the same CNO who decided that “optimally” manning ships such that there weren’t enough crewman to stand watch and perform maintenance was a good idea.
    The same CNO also decided that instead of building actual warships the Navy should invest it’s resources into virtually unarmed ships with “combat” in the name instead of in the actual capabilities of the ship.
    But hey at least it looks like we have finally turned the corner. Getting SWO training back to something worthwhile would be a great start. Welding a 4 ASCM launcher onto the front of the LCS so it can at least do SOMETHING in a fight is also a good start.
    After all the best thing about hitting rock bottom is there is nowhere to go but up.
    Thanks for nothing Vern…

  • John Byron

    Geez. In the BELKNAP-class of same tonnage, 23 officers in the wardroom total.

    A). Maybe part of the problem is as noted above: too many kids fighting for too little qual time,.

    B). Looks like there are about 10 to 15 baby-ducks who ought to be in school rather than filling SLJO slots at sea … if the surface navy hadn’t CNX-ed all the schools.

    • USNVO

      Putting them in schools only postpones the pain. Eventually they get back to the ship and need to qualify. The issue is numbers of DIVOs. Of course if they came trained better, it would speed up the qualification time as well as make everyone’s life easier. Better would be to not have as many ships that don’t have enough DIVOs to eventually grow department heads.

  • publius_maximus_III

    Airline pilots train on simulators all the time. And not just for the routine, they’re often beng thrown curve balls by evaluators like seeing how they react to emergencies: an engine fire on takeoff, a bird or lightning strike, etc.

    The USN should place simulators at multiple USNR centers around the country, not just for use by start-up Ensigns, but also for Continuing Education of all SWO’s, maybe every four years. And at least two of the exercises should be realistic re-enactments of the Fitz and McCain collisions, hopefully with different outcomes for each session. A staff at each center could fill many of the dozen or so assignments inside the bridge, with only key positions like OOD being filled by trainees rotating through each position. Very important for a new officer to have plenty of simulator time before ever being entrusted with the helm of a USN vessel.

    • kapena16

      Yes, but…. commercial aviators FIRST learn how to fly, very well, then utilize simulators for a variety of reasons and frequently. But they have a foundation of good experience first. Many comments here about “simulation” use. All good and well. But it doesn’t replace real time training on a bridge of a ship. Simulators, much used in the commercial maritime world are used more specifically to deal with problems or emergencies or unusual situation assessment. But the routine of standing watch ‘competently’ is best left to placing the inexperienced men/women on watch with senior officers and made to do the repetitive and yes, boring, regular stuff each hour. Thenn, as in the real world, they come up one night and running through the rigs of the gulf of Mexico, dodging fishing boats in the Inland Sea of Japan, or managing ship traffic in Malacca Straits. Thats real life.

      • MarlineSpikeMate

        Merchant Mariners, European Navies and Civilian Pilots all utilize simulators heavily in their training BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER they learn how to sail and fly very well..

        Look at any maritime academy or flight school…

        • kapena16

          Uh, yea, been there, done that. Manned models too. Three different times. Every 5 years. It’s what “we” commercial seafarers do.


    Numbers seem pretty skewed to me as well (maybe he meant 40 SWO officers total?) but there is a couple of factors in play that increases the number of ensigns on DDGs.

    1. An LCS doesn’t have many ensigns assigned but you have to have something like 3 DIVOs per DH to make the numbers work, so other ships like DDGs make up the difference. Double crewing on your smaller ships makes the problem worse. If you have 10 LCS, each with a ensign deficit of 6, that means 120 ensigns (10x6x2) need to go somewhere to make up the numbers to arrive at the right number of ensigns. Not just LCS, but PCs and MCMs have ensign deficits.

    2. Prior to the “SWOS in a box” paradigm ensigns had pipelines that often approached 8-10 months, often more. With less training, they report to the ship with little to no delay (or training), so you have them as ensigns for longer. Doesn’t change the experience level so much but the number of ensigns goes up. So more ensigns, fewer JGs.

    3. Finally is the need to look into the future. You have a situation that the MHCs, FFGs, and a few MCMs are already gone, but the LCS is just really entering the fleet. So you had to plus up the number of ensigns to get DHs 5 years or more before the ships enter the fleet. Most of those ensigns start in the pipeline 4 years before. Go wrong somewhere in those 9 years and you may have a sudden pulse of ensigns looking for a home.

    However, the numbers still seem skewed a little to me.

  • James B.

    Apparently the number of “DIVO” Ensigns and JGs has gone way up in recent years, in increase the number of potential future DHs. Unfortunately, the number of LTs getting out before their DH tour has also gone way up, and the play to maintain DH numbers just results in decreased quality DHs, decreased morale in the DIVOs, and a worsening of the problem.

  • MarlineSpikeMate

    MARAD has many ships laid up, and maritime academies have large ships that do not get a lot of use during the school semesters. Why not send midshipman out on these?

    Additionally, US flagged merchant ships take cadets regularly. Why not send midshipman out as well to get some real training during the summer months. Just like the cadet, they will have real assessments, projects, line items, and real work, instead of sailing on a USN ship and eating ice cream and playing video games for two weeks (which they then decide they want to be a pilot instead of a SWO).

  • James B.

    Ship Selection Night is a tradition at the Academy, but it really needs to end.

    First class midshipmen going anything other than SWO–prospective aviators, Marines, SEALs, etc–only get to pick class-up dates. I was informed of my future squadron the day before I winged (and not the one I wanted), over two years after commissioning, because saving a spot that long is ridiculous, and not everyone passes flight school.

    Selecting ships before commissioning and SWOS gives the impression that all midshipmen selecting SWO will make it through the training pipeline, but not all of them should. In addition to a longer training pipeline, a noticeable number of student SWOs need to fail, both to remove the duds and to motivate the rest.

    I recommend a Ship Selection Night where midshipmen chose placards like “DDG – San Diego”, “DDG – TBD”, or “TBD”: high class rank will give a future Ensign some choice, assuming they pass every phase of training, but they know there is someone waiting to take their spot if they don’t make it.

    • John Byron

      Perhaps use the needs of the navy as first assignment criterion. Priority to the needs of the navy. What a novel concept.

      • Curtis Conway

        I don’t ever see competition coming out of the mix, and rightly so. However, when mastering all the Departments, and systems on a Man-o-War any individual is ready to lead almost any organization. Greatest leadership training in the world.

  • WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot

    Talk about lack of SWO’s, this duel crewing of the LCS is pure bull s h i t. At what’s best a senior O-4 command, a single LCS needs TWO O-5’s and two seperate crews. So in reality the real crew size of a single LCS is 200+, with TWO O-5’s. So tell me, where’s the manpower savings, where’s the cost saving with all of it’s vaulted ‘automation’ and shiny stuff. A single LCS costs more per anun to operate than a Frigate and almost as much as a destroyer.

  • Pete Novick

    Prior to reporting to their first operational command, new officers of the three largest components of the Navy’s operating forces must successfully complete initial training. Below is the training pipeline for junior officers in submarines, naval aviation and surface ships.


    – Officer Candidate School – 12 weeks *
    – Nuclear Power School – 24 weeks
    – Nuclear Power Training Unit (Prototype) – 26 weeks
    – Submarine Officer Basic Course – 12 weeks

    Total: 74 weeks


    Naval aviation (pilot & naval flight officer)

    – Officer Candidate School – 12 weeks *
    – Aviation Preflight Indoctrination – 6 weeks
    – Preliminary Flight Training – 26 weeks
    – Advanced Flight Training – 34 to 78 weeks
    – Fleet Replacement Squadron – 26 to 52 weeks

    Total – 104 to 174 weeks


    Surface warfare:

    – Officer Candidate School – 12 weeks *
    – Basic Division Officer Course – 9 weeks

    Total: 21 weeks

    * Officers commissioned via US Naval Academy and university NROTC programs do not attend OCS, and begin their training pipeline at the next listed school.

    Can you spot the difference?

    From a career SWO…..CDR, USN (Ret.)

  • Pete Novick

    Here’s a link to probably the best article concerning the Navy’s disastrous changes to SWO junior officer training over the past 25 years or so, written by a career SWO and published by the Center for International Maritime Security (CIMS):

    CIRCLES IN SURFACE WARFARE TRAINING, By Steve Wills, (April 6, 2016)


    “Surface fleet leadership engaged in a number of innovation attempts beginning in the 1970s and culminating with the commissioning of the Basic and Advanced Division Officer Courses (BDOC) program in 2012.”

  • Joe Blow

    My personal opinion is people who join the military are murders who are too stupid, poor, or both to make it on their own in the private sector. The military is not a vehicle for social class mobility to improve your lot in life nor a legitimate way to kill people.