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Life after SWO/pentagon question?

tcc8988

Member
I've done a lot of searching and can't really find an answer to this.

What kind of career opportunities tend to be available for SWOs who do 4 years and leave? Is there a lot of private sector work for them? What kind of government jobs/agencies tend to be on the lookout for SWOs?

Also, second question while I have your attention. I read in another thread that SWOs can sometimes be assigned to the pentagon? When can that happen? Any chance of that happening immediately post-OCS?

I'm a recently pro-rec'd SWO candidate and I'm pretty excited
 

RecruitingGuru

Making Recruiting Great Again
I've done a lot of searching and can't really find an answer to this.

What kind of career opportunities tend to be available for SWOs who do 4 years and leave? Is there a lot of private sector work for them? What kind of government jobs/agencies tend to be on the lookout for SWOs?

Also, second question while I have your attention. I read in another thread that SWOs can sometimes be assigned to the pentagon? When can that happen? Any chance of that happening immediately post-OCS?

I'm a recently pro-rec'd SWO candidate and I'm pretty excited
It really depends. There isn't a specific field SWO junior officers typically pursue when they get out. For those that I have seen get out at the 4-6 year mark, I've seen more and more going back to business school, medical school, or some sort of graduate program to pursue their masters. Most want to tie their SWO experience along with an MBA from a top program to earn a good entry level position on the civilian sector.

For those who didn't go back to school, I've seen many work as program managers, supervisors for major organizations tied to engineering and manufacturing. Some with an engineering background will work as software/engineering developers for the tech/engineering firms out there. I've seen some get into the sales field though not too many.

To answer your question, it just depends on what you'd like to pursue along with your education/SWO background.

As for shore duty assignments, there's some in the pentagon. I've seen a few work for the Chief of Naval Operations as a briefer/support staff, I've seen others work on the SWO Financial Side (N96) working on numbers crunching to make sure the SWO community's budget is prepared or set for the fiscal year. I'm sure @AllAmerican75 and @azguy can answer more about JO Pentagon assignments than I.

My personal recommendation, avoid the Pentagon and enjoy a Shore Duty assignment that might not be offered down the road.
 

Uncle Fester

Robot Pimp
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
You'll need to do some sort of prep for a career outside, whether that's a specialty career track, grad school, what have you. Just whatever you do, don't coast on shore duty*. Sea duty is rough, and don't burn yourself up when you're ashore, but use it to prepare yourself for whatever's next, whether that's in the Navy or out of it.

As for the Pentagon - if an unqualified Ensign is assigned there, it's usually temporary duty for unique circumstances (e.g., extended med hold). It's not in line with a normal career track to go there before your first ship. Plus, these days they're loath to pay for PCS even when it is normal career progression.

*see what I did there?
 

azguy

Well-Known Member
None
Life After SWO
As @RUFiO181 alluded to, there's a lot of variety in post-SWO life. Grad school (mostly B-School, some law school), consulting, and GS work/gov contracting, account for the majority of follow-on options I've seen JO's pursuing in DC. Many grad schools recruit a quota of military JOs and you can get incentives on top of the GI Bill, making it a really good deal to knock out a masters. Same goes for companies recruiting JOs into middle management, GE's JOLP program for instance.

In terms of federal departments and agencies: if you can name it, I pretty much guarantee there are former SWOs working there. The FERS retirement program lets you buy back your military time, the GS world is very reservist-friendly, the DC JOPA is pretty good at gaming the USAJobs site, and being stationed in DC gives you a lot of access to network with people in the offices/jobs you want to work in. So yeah, shore duty in DC is very conducive to becoming a lifelong bureaucrat.

Working in the Pentagon
There are many SWO LTs running around the puzzle palace. They can be broken into two groups: aides and action officers (AOs).

Aides are basically 'the Admiral's bitch.' Seriously though, they run his personal schedule, take care of compiling his notes, briefs, read aheads, etc; kind of like a personal secretary. It can be a pretty career enhancing job (if there is such a thing for a SWO on shore duty) and you learn a lot because they typically get to sit in on very high level stuff that the JOPA proletariat isn't usually privy to. All that said, if you are planning to get out you don't want to be an aide.

AO/ROs work in a shop running a portfolio for their boss. OPNAV N96, as @RUFiO181 mentioned, is the SWO Mecca of the Pentagon, though certainly not where all SWOs work. An N96 LT may own an account, say, DDG modernization or Standard Missiles. He talks to the program offices and stakeholders, assesses need, costs, and (in theory) helps the N96 Admiral and staff budget for that portfolio. Outside of 96, there are SWO LTs running around working as AOs/ROs in many OPNAV branches. Pros and cons to everything; some very boring jobs where you work great hours and can telecommute once a week; and very interesting jobs- the daily OPS briefers for CNO, VCNO, SECNAV, and the 3*s are all LTs- cool job, but the hours absolutely suck.

For your last question, you won't see the inside of the Pentagon until you're done with your DIVO tours.
 
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azguy

Well-Known Member
None
My personal recommendation, avoid the Pentagon and enjoy a Shore Duty assignment that might not be offered down the road.
My personal preferences aside, I agree with this. There are many one-off great deals offered to SWO LTs for shore duty. Do your research.
 

RecruitingGuru

Making Recruiting Great Again
Another thing of note, if you're a SWO and intend on getting out/go reserves, do it on shore duty. Getting out after a sea tour at the four year mark is incredibly difficult, not impossible but difficult. Give yourself the two years at a shore assignment to figure things out, polish the resume, take the GMAT/GRE/etc. and prepare for post-military.
 

tcc8988

Member
Another thing of note, if you're a SWO and intend on getting out/go reserves, do it on shore duty. Getting out after a sea tour at the four year mark is incredibly difficult, not impossible but difficult. Give yourself the two years at a shore assignment to figure things out, polish the resume, take the GMAT/GRE/etc. and prepare for post-military.
Thanks! Interesting. So let's say my 4 years is coming to an end and I'm coming off of a sea tour. Is there a way I can extend my contract just 2 more years? Could I specifically ask only for shore duty at a certain point?
 

Uncle Fester

Robot Pimp
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Thanks! Interesting. So let's say my 4 years is coming to an end and I'm coming off of a sea tour. Is there a way I can extend my contract just 2 more years? Could I specifically ask only for shore duty at a certain point?
Officers don't have contracts. You stay in until you resign your commission, retire, or have to leave due to failure to promote.
 

RecruitingGuru

Making Recruiting Great Again
Officers don't have contracts. You stay in until you resign your commission, retire, or have to leave due to failure to promote.
Beat me to the punch. Officers have an initial service obligation, though some assignments like getting your masters at Naval Postgraduate school might require additional service time. Aside from that Uncle Fester nailed it.
 

azguy

Well-Known Member
None
Thanks! Interesting. So let's say my 4 years is coming to an end and I'm coming off of a sea tour. Is there a way I can extend my contract just 2 more years? Could I specifically ask only for shore duty at a certain point?
As stated above, you don't have a new contract, but it's very common for JOs to leave sea duty and do one 2-3 year shore tour, then get out.
 

elliottm2

Member
So I came across this while doing some research for my brother who's getting out. A few pieces of this information has been updated since the last post. Here goes:

1. Shore Tour is no longer a guarantee - in accordance with the PERS 41 updates, it's now called "Shore/Sea Tour. Bottom line: afloat commands such as Destroyer Squadrons, Phibron Squadrons, CSG staff, etc. are now on your shore slates as billets the detailer SHALL fill. Combine this with the fact that one way or another, those who have signed DHRB (are staying in) ultimately get preference in one way or another, the result is that the odds in many ways are stacked against you- you likely will be in an afloat job, possibly (likely) deploying, if you have not yet declared your intent and commitment to be a department head. Don't necessarily count on having oodles and oodles of time to figure all this out on shore duty. Have the plan together and in progress by the time you step off your second sea tour if getting out at 4-6 years is truly your heart's desire.

2. Volume - this one is more controversial, but from my perspective, it seems like a TON of us are getting out once we hit O-3.... most recent O-4 selection board was well above 93%, meaning that the quotas available were close to the total of who was up for it. In short, not that many are sticking around to O-4, which means if this is you right now in 2-3 years, there will be a larger pool of ex-SWO's looking for work.

3. Pentagon, really? - Just curious, but why work at the pentagon, if you really want to set yourself up for DOD post-navy, you may want to consider non- pentagon areas of concentration. Example: get a billet at the intermediate/depot maintenance facilities, those are far more common, make bank, and can leverage the prospects.

let me know if you have any other questions.

-Moto
 

RecruitingGuru

Making Recruiting Great Again
So I came across this while doing some research for my brother who's getting out. A few pieces of this information has been updated since the last post. Here goes:

1. Shore Tour is no longer a guarantee - in accordance with the PERS 41 updates, it's now called "Shore/Sea Tour. Bottom line: afloat commands such as Destroyer Squadrons, Phibron Squadrons, CSG staff, etc. are now on your shore slates as billets the detailer SHALL fill. Combine this with the fact that one way or another, those who have signed DHRB (are staying in) ultimately get preference in one way or another, the result is that the odds in many ways are stacked against you- you likely will be in an afloat job, possibly (likely) deploying, if you have not yet declared your intent and commitment to be a department head. Don't necessarily count on having oodles and oodles of time to figure all this out on shore duty. Have the plan together and in progress by the time you step off your second sea tour if getting out at 4-6 years is truly your heart's desire.

2. Volume - this one is more controversial, but from my perspective, it seems like a TON of us are getting out once we hit O-3.... most recent O-4 selection board was well above 93%, meaning that the quotas available were close to the total of who was up for it. In short, not that many are sticking around to O-4, which means if this is you right now in 2-3 years, there will be a larger pool of ex-SWO's looking for work.

3. Pentagon, really? - Just curious, but why work at the pentagon, if you really want to set yourself up for DOD post-navy, you may want to consider non- pentagon areas of concentration. Example: get a billet at the intermediate/depot maintenance facilities, those are far more common, make bank, and can leverage the prospects.

let me know if you have any other questions.

-Moto
The guy posted more than 2 years ago...
 

UInavy

Registered User
pilot
Super Moderator
Contributor
The guy posted more than 2 years ago...
....And he updated it with more recent and relevant information. A 'BZ' or 'Thanks' would've taken less typing than your condescending and unnecessary response. I believe it's been stated on here before: "When given the choice between being an a$$hole or not, try not to consistently choose the former."

Edited to add: Wow, I guess it was two weeks ago someone said that... to you:

 
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HAL Pilot

Well-Known Member
None
Contributor
....And he updated it with more recent and relevant information. A 'BZ' or 'Thanks' would've taken less typing than your condescending and unnecessary response. I believe it's been stated on here before: "When given the choice between being an a$$hole or not, try not to consistently choose the former."

Edited to add: Wow, I guess it was two weeks ago someone said that... to you:

Aren’t you also being a dick calling him out publicly?

Not saying you’re wrong, just saying....
 
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