A few weeks ago you may have heard that the Navy announced several new career track options for Surface Warfare Officers (SWOs) in an effort to retain only the most talented. In case you didn’t, here is an overview of the many new opportunities that will help SWOs continue their growth and development. These new options are meant to move SWOs away from a linear path to a more flexible, option-based plan that is values-driven and invests more in the SWOs themselves. The intent of the new career tracks is to raise the level of talent in the SWO community and develop future leaders who can think, lead, operate, and win in multiple future environments. Growing Warfare Tactics Instructors is also a priority.
Traditionally, SWOs follow what’s known as a command-at-sea career path. The new career tracks offer opportunities for the early development of skillsets and accruing experience at sea, underscored by opportunities emerging from Sailor 2025 initiatives and supporting the principle of Warfighting First.
- Accelerated Warfighter
- Enhanced Readiness
- Accelerated Skillset Development
- Nuclear Power
Benefits of the new career tracks may also include opportunities to attend fully-funded graduate education at America’s elite institutions without fear of career progression disruption; to take up to three years away from the Navy in the Career Intermission Program; to spend time working at Fortune 500 companies contributing experience to the private sector and capturing key lessons that can be applied in the Navy under the new SECNAV Industry Tour Program (starting in 2016); a restructured bonus proposal that rewards performance; and pro-active outreach to retain the top 50%.
Another benefit is a reinforced and expanded commitment to military spouse co-locations, with spouse co-location being the standard and doing everything possible to co-locate dual military couples of any rank and service.
As part of a cultural shift from retaining the most available officers to retaining the most talented, the Navy is working to replace traditional career advancement zones with weighted milestone achievements to ensure the best officers are promoted regardless of zone placement and prior selection board decisions. This would allow those who are not ready for promotion to continue to serve in same paygrade longer, or for those ready, to advance through the system faster. In addition, selectivity for first look selection to serve as department heads is being lowered to 50-60% by next year. This will ensure future department heads, commanding officers and major commanders will be the best possible.
For more information on the new careers paths check out this handy Surface Warfare Career Chart powerpoint.
For more SWO related news check out the Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Naval Surface Forces, or Surface Warfare Magazine websites.