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Advice on Planning out my future

#1
I've been thinking about my future recently ever since I got to my first command. When I was in high school, I didn't have any goals set out for me and I knew that I didn't want to end up taking out loans for college. Right now I'm E-1 (E-2 this month), 19 years old, went straight to the military after catholic high school, and I've been thinking about officer programs and looking into Computer Science major.
The thing is that, I want to work as an Intel Officer or work in the intel field so that can transition later on if I decide to work for the government. I know my goal sounds a bit farfetched but I want to work in the Intel Community (FBI, CIA, NSA), performing counterintel and counterterrorism in the field. I was also hoping to travel more often (that's the reason why I joined the navy)
I've been thinking about either STA-21 and USNA.
Reading some of the topics about USNA on this forum, people have said that it's not a good idea to be prior enlisted, why?
Someone told me that STA-21 is more competitive and I would stay in the navy longer if I made it in the program (if I was 30-32 years old when I get out that would be fine)
Right now I'm trying to work on my SAT score by reviewing some Math right now, then I'll work on Critical Reading.
If you have more than 24+ months on your contract, you don't have to extend your contract when you graduate but does it add up or only leaves you with 5 years active and 3 years reserve?
Honestly, I don't know what it's like to be an officer because I've never asked one yet.

I'm still thinking about what I should do after the military.
 

llnick2001

it’s just malfeasance for malfeasance’s sake
pilot
#2
I think what is often said is enlisting as a means of getting to the academy isn't a good plan. If you're enlisted and you want to go there though, definitely go for it. Being a prior, from what I could tell, wasn't a disadvantage at all (I wasn't a prior, so you'll have to wait for one of them to respond for a first hand account). That said, the academy generally doesn't commission intel o's unless the mid somehow ends up medically dq'd from unrestricted line jobs. So if your heart is set on Navy Intel, go STA-21. Good luck.
 

BackOrdered

Well-Known Member
Contributor
#3
I was told that if you are prior, you really don't want to spend 4 years being treated like an E-1 all over again at USNA. Throw a wife/family into the equation and it is not a good choice at all as far as standard of living. Annapolis was and still is a beautiful town and treat the military population very well, but you won't get to enjoy it.

I seen the STA-21 priors' life in action when I was in college and it is a good GOOD life. The hardest NROTC day has nothing on the fleet and they get to go home to their beds and families everyday.
 

Spekkio

He bowls overhand.
#4
I thought you had to be under 24 and single to attend USNA?

Tiz is correct that the stigma for attending the USNA after serving as an enlisted Sailor is that you will essentially be in boot camp for 4 yrs while attending college, and if you have the credentials to attend USNA you probably can get the cushier and higher paying STA-21 gig.

I also think you have a misconception about what military intelligence does vs. the 3 letter agencies. Military intel is to provide a tactical/operational picture to the commander so he can best employ his unit(s). The 3 letter agencies are focused on a more macro picture than that to allow the civilians to make informed policy decisions.
 

Machine

Super *********
pilot
None
Site Admin
#5
Your profile mentions you're an AO...Why'd you do that? If you have the ASVAB scores, another option would be to crossrate over as a CT. That would get you more integrated with the TLAs. If you can get into the Academy, then you should be able to get STA-21 or ROTC. Either way, as an E-1 it's going to be a few years until you get to that point. You don't want to go to the Academy with that much time already in the military. Since you have some time, prepare as much as you can to make your board package favorable.
 

smittyrunr

Staff Weenie
pilot
Contributor
#7
Talk to your career counselor about the requirements for each program. I don't have the instructions in front of me, but if memory serves, you need 30 hours of college credit for STA-21, so you need to think about CLEP and how long it will take you to earn those credits before you are eligible- especially if you are looking to be out by 32.
USNA does not have the same requirements (though showing you did well in a college class would certainly help your application). Agree with Machine that you don't want to go into USNA with a lot of time already in. You'll spend 4 years in Annapolis, then owe 5 years active after graduation.
 

Spekkio

He bowls overhand.
#8
You don't need any college credit to be eligible for STA-21; they will expect you to complete the degree in 3 years, which means taking summer and winter classes.

Another reason why priors favor STA-21 over USNA is because the former, up until recently, counted as time in active duty service. Now they both count the same -- they let you jump from 20 to 23/24 years when retiring.

I also think you should discuss your plans with someone who works for a 3-letter agency and whether or not becoming a Navy intel officer will give you a leg up on the competition.
 

llnick2001

it’s just malfeasance for malfeasance’s sake
pilot
#10
Another reason why priors favor STA-21 over USNA is because the former, up until recently, counted as time in active duty service. Now they both count the same -- they let you jump from 20 to 23/24 years when retiring.
When did this happen? Hadn't heard that.
 

Spekkio

He bowls overhand.
#11
Very recently. Someone pointed it out in another thread. It makes sense...the majority of STA-21 guys in my community stayed in to be a terminal O-3/O-4 and bolt after a cushy post-DH shore tour.
 
#12
Your profile mentions you're an AO...Why'd you do that? If you have the ASVAB scores, another option would be to crossrate over as a CT. That would get you more integrated with the TLAs. If you can get into the Academy, then you should be able to get STA-21 or ROTC. Either way, as an E-1 it's going to be a few years until you get to that point. You don't want to go to the Academy with that much time already in the military. Since you have some time, prepare as much as you can to make your board package favorable.
I didn't know too much about the military at the time and since I was handed 5 papers on rates to choose from (HT, EN, Undesignated Seaman, AO, ABF), I chose AO. I had a 50 on my ASVAB and I was thinking about retaking it. All I could think about was IT or IS at the time. I figured since I went to MEPS already and went through the process, I wouldn't be able to retake the ASVAB. It was either that or maybe I just wanted to go as soon as possible. Should have done some research on the navy but I guess I didn't get too far. It's not bad being an AO, only thing I'm worried about is heavy lifting. The Navy isn't bad, I've had a 20-year PS1 talk to me about the navy, the one thing that caught my interest was traveling
 
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