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NFO Postgraduate Education

I've not been able to find any solid gouge on this for NFOs specifically. Does anyone know when the best time to apply to NPS is? Ive heard that 1st shore tour is best if you're getting a degree elsewhere but from my understanding NPS is like a tour in itself where it doesn't have to be balanced with regular duty so I'm not sure when the best time to go would be. Also, which masters degrees do well to set one up well for advancement later down the road? I'm not an engineer so I was thinking MBA in finance would be valuable knowledge at the senior end of my career in the navy. Much Thanks!
 

ea6bflyr

Working Class Bum
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Depends. If you are on the path to command, the Navy will send you for your post-grad education. By and large this depends on timing, and your community. Most aviators either get a masters while on shore duty (on your own time) or after your Department Head job. Lots of great places to go...Naval War College, or any of the other service's war colleges. Most likely not NPS.

Now if your are not on the golden path to command, then NPS is an option. The only way to get NPS and stay on track, is to get a competitive number 1 Early Promote during your first sea tour, even then you are still subject to the needs of the Navy and quite possibly not make Department Head due to getting Non Observed FITREPS for 2 years. It's your career and it may be a gamble to do NPS for your first shore tour....
 

wink

VS NFO. Blue and Gold Officer
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Super Moderator
Contributor
Now if your are not on the golden path to command, then NPS is an option. The only way to get NPS and stay on track, is to get a competitive number 1 Early Promote during your first sea tour, even then you are still subject to the needs of the Navy and quite possibly not make Department Head due to getting Non Observed FITREPS for 2 years. It's your career and it may be a gamble to do NPS for your first shore tour....
I have heard this on AW before so I don't really doubt it. But when did this start to become the case? I had peers that went to NPS, first shore tour, in the 80s that not only went on to major command but one was a squadron skipper, CV XO, deep draft skipper and walked away from a CV command opportunity just because he had enough about then. Also had DHs that had been to NPS and went on to major operational command. I think it was considered a useful ticket punch back then. Why not now? Isn't NWC unobserved? Certainly other service schools would be unobserved.
 

Brett327

Well-Known Member
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Super Moderator
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It tends to be easier to absorb a year of NOB time at NWC (if your timing is right) as a post DH because you'll likely be in your follow on joint job prior to the O5 and command screen board. Absorbing 2-3 years of NOB during your first shore tour leaves the typical person with very little room for error. Doesn't mean there aren't people with NOB tours that screen (I'm one of them), but it does decrease the odds.
 

ea6bflyr

Working Class Bum
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
I have heard this on AW before so I don't really doubt it. But when did this start to become the case? I had peers that went to NPS, first shore tour, in the 80s that not only went on to major command but one was a squadron skipper, CV XO, deep draft skipper and walked away from a CV command opportunity just because he had enough about then. Also had DHs that had been to NPS and went on to major operational command. I think it was considered a useful ticket punch back then. Why not now? Isn't NWC unobserved? Certainly other service schools would be unobserved.
Was there a DH screening board back in the 80s? As of late, DH has been very competitive through the DH screening board. Hence my advice about getting a #1 EP...
 

wink

VS NFO. Blue and Gold Officer
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
No. Don't know when they came along. My DH tour was in the Reserves and we didn't have one then. SWO and Sub had a board and I seem to remember VP starting selecting DH by board before TACAIR and Helo.
 

Renegade One

Well-Known Member
None
I've not been able to find any solid gouge on this for NFOs specifically. Does anyone know when the best time to apply to NPS is?
I would opine that there is no difference between NAs and NFOs WRT "what's best" for your first shore tour…production, production, production. FRS or TRACOM or something similar. You want to break out, OBSERVED, again. Yes, if you can get a Masters during that time, cool for you. Just know that not all MAs are really equal.
Depends. If you are on the path to command, the Navy will send you for your post-grad education. By and large this depends on timing, and your community. Most aviators either get a masters while on shore duty (on your own time) or after your Department Head job. Lots of great places to go...Naval War College, or any of the other service's war colleges. Most likely not NPS.

Now if your are not on the golden path to command, then NPS is an option. The only way to get NPS and stay on track, is to get a competitive number 1 Early Promote during your first sea tour, even then you are still subject to the needs of the Navy and quite possibly not make Department Head due to getting Non Observed FITREPS for 2 years. It's your career and it may be a gamble to do NPS for your first shore tour....
Lots of good stuff here…I mostly agree.
It tends to be easier to absorb a year of NOB time at NWC (if your timing is right) as a post DH because you'll likely be in your follow on joint job prior to the O5 and command screen board. Absorbing 2-3 years of NOB during your first shore tour leaves the typical person with very little room for error. Doesn't mean there aren't people with NOB tours that screen (I'm one of them), but it does decrease the odds.
I agree with this as well.
Was there a DH screening board back in the 80s? As of late, DH has been very competitive through the DH screening board. Hence my advice about getting a #1 EP...
Again, NO (my timeframe)…and yes, it's now become a very competitive hurdle. Good advice…as far as it goes. I think you need some number of years/tours…OBSERVED…under your belt/in your record to be really competitive.
 

wink

VS NFO. Blue and Gold Officer
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Super Moderator
Contributor
The whole DH screen thing brings up a question, why? The Navy is smaller then my day but the number of DH jobs should be relative to the size of the Navy. Are there really fewer DH jobs to go around, hence requiring a board for competitive reasons? Did someone wake up one morning and say "hey, we need to screen our DHs better, lets have a formal board"? Cuz I'd swear we had fewer skippers relieved that were products of the old no board system then we do now. I know, we beat the canned CO thing to death. Different day, different challenges. Don't want my thread jack to go that far. But to put a point on it, do you really thing holding a board for DH is producing a better DH than back in the day? I mean really. Sure we occasionally had some uninspired DHs. But they also were never the Ops O or MO, or usually even Training. Can't think of any guys that spent their entire DH tour in Safety or Admin that screened for command.
 

IKE

Nerd Whirler
pilot
The whole DH screen thing brings up a question, why?
I thought one major reason was the shift from Wings+6 to Wings+8 MSRs, at least for us NAs.

Also, the "tough to make DH" thing is community-dependent n'est pas? I've heard from -18 drivers that the DH screen is a token process for them these days.
 

MIDNJAC

is clara ship
pilot
I would opine that there is no difference between NAs and NFOs WRT "what's best" for your first shore tour…production, production, production. FRS or TRACOM or something similar. You want to break out, OBSERVED, again. Yes, if you can get a Masters during that time, cool for you. Just know that not all MAs are really equal.
Only thing I would add, and I am certainly not experienced in this topic, just an observer really. But it would seem that there aren't nearly the production opportunities for VFA WSO's that there are for pilots. VT-J kingsville/meridian are pilot only, the RAGs have a few but not nearly as many (we had 4 total at -101, I think there are more at -106 or -122), and obviously primary is out since they can't do pilot primary, and can't fly an SNFO around in VT-4/10. So I'd guess that leaves pretty much just VT-86 and VAQ-129 for the most numbers. Lot of guys gunning for a few billets between those places and the limited RAG billets. Maybe that is just the reality for NFO, that unless you get pulled for those gigs, you are done, but I have to believe that there are some other career enhancing options just due to the limited numbers they have working in their favor. Thoughts?
 
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Renegade One

Well-Known Member
None
But don't we have fewer NFOs in a "typical air wing"than in the past? Let's assume the VAW/VAQ loading is fairly level…maybe even better with the advent of the Growler?...I dunno…
For the most part (I think…), there's only one 2-seat Hornet squadron per air wing..GW excepted. Am I wrong? Better odds than in my day (2 x VF squadrons for the same number of FRSs…). Yes, TRACOM opps may be more limited…always have been…but now there aren't any S-3 TACCOs or Vigi RANs or A-6 B/Ns to clobber up the manning. Maybe manning opps are better? Can't speak to other communities…TACAMO, VP, etc, but again, doesn't seem much has changed in their regard.
My basic point remans germane…in my opinion. FLY as long as you can, getting observed/competitive tickets when you can. There's always time for grad school at a later time.
 

Pags

Pope of Chili Town
pilot
R1 said it earlier, but I think it bears being broken out of the DH screen conversation:
Not all MA/MSs are equal.

For instance, just because the NPS EMBA is the degree du'jour, and it checks the masters box, and it can be easier to get on your shore tour with command support doesn't mean that it has the same value as, say, a Wharton School of Business MBA.
 

BigRed389

Registered User
None
R1 said it earlier, but I think it bears being broken out of the DH screen conversation:
Not all MA/MSs are equal.

For instance, just because the NPS EMBA is the degree du'jour, and it checks the masters box, and it can be easier to get on your shore tour with command support doesn't mean that it has the same value as, say, a Wharton School of Business MBA.
But value in the "real world" aside, does the Navy care?
 

Flash

SEVAL/ECMO
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
The whole DH screen thing brings up a question, why? The Navy is smaller then my day but the number of DH jobs should be relative to the size of the Navy. Are there really fewer DH jobs to go around, hence requiring a board for competitive reasons?
I thought one major reason was the shift from Wings+6 to Wings+8 MSRs, at least for us NAs......
That in conjunction with a huge surge in retention of aviators past their MSR. I saw the shift from no DH screen to one from my one squadron to the next and from my perspective it had to do almost all with the retention of aviators after 9/11. That was a combination of patriotism and the airlines not hiring and I think we are just starting to see the effects of that largely wearing off. Combine that with the 8 year commitment and you had a perfect storm that resulted in way too many O-4s and too few slots for them in some communities. My $.02 at least.
 
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