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SWO Career Paths

#1
I've been reading about the different career paths available to SWOs and I'm still trying to fully understand them. So if anyone has an insight or experience with these, I would appreciate any insight.

Traditional:
swoT.jpg
Accelerated Warfighter:
swoAW.jpg
Enhanced Readiness:
swoER.jpg
Accelerated Skillset:
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#5
No personal experience, but PERS-41's website will have some more materials on the program. Their facebook also puts out updates to policies in a timely manner.
 
#7
You dont have to worry about all of this, you will be going to your first ship as a SWO and then being briefed on your options, none of these will be an option until you are well into your first tour.
 
#8
You dont have to worry about all of this, you will be going to your first ship as a SWO and then being briefed on your options, none of these will be an option until you are well into your first tour.
Thanks. I was imagining that this was all going to be a whirlwind experience with a ton of information thrown at me and decisions that affect myself and my family needed to be made immediately.

Why are you studying SWO career paths instead of studying rates and knowledge for OCS?

Here's a good start, much of it will be confusing, but you'll get briefed and learn more at OCS and of course when you get to your first ship.

http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/officer/Detailing/surfacewarfare/Pages/default.aspx

Concur with Bergers, PERS-41 and Surface Warriors FB pages are other good resources.

To my own detriment, I suppose, I want to know all of the ins and outs in preparation for things that may affect my spouse's life. He's already putting his career on hold for me to do this, so any decision I make regarding where the Navy takes us, I want to make sure that it's good for him too.
 

AllAmerican75

Back to School!
None
#10
I've been reading about the different career paths available to SWOs and I'm still trying to fully understand them. So if anyone has an insight or experience with these, I would appreciate any insight.

**PRETTY POWERPOINT SLIDES**
Be aware that these are newish programs and they are still working out the kinks, especially with how they will manage the WTIs and re-integrate those who do the career intermission or private industry gig. Honestly, any of these programs are highly competitive and your chances for selection are driven by timing (you'll soon learn how important this is), Needs of the Navy, and your performance. Your performance is usually measured in soft breakouts (as an ensign and JG) and how quickly you achieve your SWO pin and advanced quals (EOOW, TAO, etc.).

If I was you, I would learn as much as I can about different ship classes and types and training to brush up on general Navy knowledge. The pretty powerpoints that PERS-41 has put out are subject to change and when the time comes, your detailer and CO/XO will have the gouge on what's available to you. Furthermore, once you're in the Fleet, you'll have the opportunity to talk to PERS-41 actual when he does his waterfront visits (usually about once or twice a year).
 
#11
BLUF - Several of those options don't exist anymore, and by the time you're in a position to take advantage of any of them they'll have probably changed again. The best you can do is bust your ass aiming for the #1 or #2 on your ship and hope that it opens some doors for you.

Keep in mind that a lot of the data on JO career paths is pretty out of date.

At this point it's almost impossible for a SWO to do anything other than 48 months of straight sea time after they commission - back to back 30 month and 18 month divo tours. There were a lot more options until pretty recently, but PERS slammed the door on it this year when they reverted to the 30/18 vice 24/24, stopped billeting 1st tours to MCM/LCS/CVN, removed all second tour jobs not on ships (i.e. DESRON, MCMRON, PHIBRON), and made a bunch of other sweeping changes that are crushing the 16/17 YG.

I recall seeing most of those same slides in 2016, but when PERS visited a few months ago they were dead set on everyone doing 48 months of sea time to start your career. They've also stopped counting your BDOC / ADOC / holding times against your sea time, so most DIVOs are going to roll off their second tour closer to the 55-60 month mark in their career than the 48. Fleeting up (i.e. staying on the same ship) remains an option if the CO wants to keep you around AND there is an open billet for you to fill AND you talk about it early.


Honestly, any of these programs are highly competitive and your chances for selection are driven by timing (you'll soon learn how important this is), Needs of the Navy, and your performance. Your performance is usually measured in soft breakouts (as an ensign and JG) and how quickly you achieve your SWO pin and advanced quals (EOOW, TAO, etc.).
Lots of truth to the timing thing. Sometimes you simply get screwed by when you get to your ship, when you commission, your year group, new program initiatives, what jobs you land (it can be really hard to stand out with a completely made up job that has no real responsibility or meaning), and so forth. That said, a huge amount can still depend on your willingness to bust your ass and be that breakout guy or gal. If you're willing to put in the hours to be the #1 on your ship you can beat the odds on your year group / get what you want. Helps if you go to an O-6 command vice O-5 as well.

As for all you do that, performance and SWO pin is really a question of ship. Some ships are going to rate their fastest qualifying JO above all others no matter what. Others weigh it to varying extents. Our #1, #2, and #3 ensigns (out of 17) all lacked SWO pins and got rated above multiple shitbag peers with pins. Other side though was all three of them were super high achievers that worked hours later than everyone else pretty consistently and that held jobs with significant responsibilities and/or limited support (AUXO, 1st, TURBO).

Bottom line, if you are willing to put in long hours, play the game a little, and can figure out how to get things done on a ship whatever doors still exist can be opened, but you're going to have to put in the time and effort to get there.
 

AllAmerican75

Back to School!
None
#12
BLUF - Several of those options don't exist anymore, and by the time you're in a position to take advantage of any of them they'll have probably changed again. The best you can do is bust your ass aiming for the #1 or #2 on your ship and hope that it opens some doors for you.
I remember when all of these programs came out and everybody, including PERS-41 actual, were pimping it pretty hard. I'm not surprised that they've killed them, though. While they were new and "innovative", there's no way you can pull someone from the Fleet for two years or more, especially after their first sea tour, and still expect to have an experienced, well-rounded SWO.

Are they at least keeping the WTI program? That was the best idea out of the bunch.
 
#14
I remember when all of these programs came out and everybody, including PERS-41 actual, were pimping it pretty hard. I'm not surprised that they've killed them, though. While they were new and "innovative", there's no way you can pull someone from the Fleet for two years or more, especially after their first sea tour, and still expect to have an experienced, well-rounded SWO.

Are they at least keeping the WTI program? That was the best idea out of the bunch.
As of right now WTI is still a thing, and I think you can in some cases still do WTI school after your first tour and before your second (though those opportunities were always limited). The WTI program though as a whole was the love child of the old SWO boss, Vice Admiral Rowden, and with him out I'll be interested to see if it hangs around or continues to get any traction. As of right now (or at least last briefed) they're aiming for 110 WTI's a year.

All the charts above though are pretty much horse shit though. It used to be that yes, you could get gained before BDOC and start your time onboard counter there, with it running while you were at school, but these days they throw the BDOC months out and are aiming for a no shit 48 months of sea time, plus all your schools. Again, for most SWOs that means the earliest your heading for shore duty is probably between 55-60 months (i.e. 5 years), and if you land on an LCS with 8 months of school you may not hit shore until the 5.5 year mark or later. With that you might get two years of shore duty before you head off to do Department Head no later than the 7.5 year mark to support a DH FITREP before you screen for O-4.

It's only likely to get worse going forward as they roll out the new schools and trainers in the pipeline / turn more previously sea tours into 'shore' tours. It's plausible now to roll from a 30 month divo tour, to an 18 month divo tour, to a 2 year stint as DES/PHIBRON that enjoys a deployment, to 27 weeks of department head school and right back out to back to back 18 month sea tours as a department head afloat.... and then potentially get tapped for another DES/PHIBRON or strike group job that calls for deployment. I've watched people roll off a sea tour right to a 'shore job' that sends them on deployment, and not a single one of them has had anything polite to say on the matter.

They're (and you're) completely right that more time at sea produces more capable officers on warships, but I'm really curious to see just how many SWOs are going to be left standing when we're talking about a 4-1 ratio of sea to shore time for JOs (over your first 10 years), especially given what looks like a looming shortfall in JOs signing for department head as they've missed the mark for the number of JOs signing department head every year since YG2011 and have recently rolled out a bunch of new DH billets to shove all the excess from YG 2008/2009/2010.

For what it's worth, may be the answer is not asking SWOs to be middle managers, maintenance mangers, program mangers, ship drivers, engineers, tacticians, logisticians, and in-port security watchstanders at the same time?
 
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AllAmerican75

Back to School!
None
#15
MORE REASONS WHY I'M GLAD I'M NO LONGER A SWO. . .

For what it's worth, may be the answer is not asking SWOs to be middle managers, maintenance mangers, program mangers, ship drivers, engineers, tacticians, logisticians, and in-port security watchstanders at the same time?
That DH bonus is about to be insane. That's if PERS-41 will admit there's a problem, which they've always been reluctant to do. I was one of the last YGs to do the baby SWOS, 30 month tour w/ ASAT, then 18 month tour pipeline. That 30 month tour was rough on people. Luckily, my XO was a saint and worked to get me off the ship 6 months early. I can't imagine that this new move to promise near-endless sea time is going to be good for retention.

I really think we need to adopt a career path similar to the way the Royal Navy and many of our partner nations do theirs. You qualify as a jack-of-all-trades during your first tour and then choose operations/combat systems or engineering for the rest of your career. That way you get folks who are extremely proficient ship drivers and warfighters and folks who can run the plant and manage maintenance with their eyes closed. It takes two different mindsets and not everybody can do everything.
 
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