Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Navy NUPOC Recruiting Video

Check out this video from the Navy on the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate (NUPOC) program:

I've always thought NUPOC was one of the better programs the Navy has -- students join around their junior year of college, get a $15,000 "selection bonus" and $2,990 to $5,000 a month for up to 30 months (up from $1,000 back in the '80s), and go to OCS after they graduate. I didn't find any recent numbers, but I know that about 10 years ago about 30% of nuclear officers came in via the NUPOC route. I really don't know of a program that pays better for going to college -- plus you have a really good job waiting for you when you graduate.

So what do you think is the best deal -- NECP/STA-21, Naval Academy, NROTC, or NUPOC? And which program provides the best officers? (Being somewhat prejudiced, I vote STA-21/NECP.)

Totally Unrelated Plea For Votes: Remember to vote for The Stupid Shall Be Punished for "Best Up And Coming Blog" in the 2008 Weblog Awards. Click here to vote until 2200Z Tuesday. You can vote every 24 hours from every computer to which you have access. As of Sunday night, I have about a 400 vote lead, so let's keep the momentum going. Thanks again for all your support!

Best Up And Coming Blog

Update 2114 12 Jan: An E-mail from the National Director of the NUPOC program provided some good numbers on accession percentage, and offered some interesting insights. Excerpts:

"...I will say confidently that NUPOC is the best deal available for any officer program in all of DOD, not just the nuclear Navy (with possible exception of some of the medical programs). In all honesty, one of the problems we have when we present the program at schools is that students think it's "too good to be true" and there must be some catch. Of course, the majority of college students are either ineligible or will not even consider military service, but for those who fit the profile it's the best deal out there.
"To answer a question from your post, we get about 1/3 of our sub and surface nuke officers from USNA, about 1/3 from NROTC, and 1/3 from NUPOC. NROTC and NUPOC also provide staff engineers to work at NR, and NUPOC provides all officers for the NPS instructor program.
"Most of our awareness comes from student presentations, career fairs, local advertising, and word of mouth, but we are launching a new initiative that my interest you and your fellow bloggers: A naval nuclear propulsion micro website and facebook fan page. The site will be up at the end of February..."

I'll be really interested to check out those new web sites when they come on line.


Blogger Joel said...

Definitely NUPOC. (Note that I may be somewhat prejudiced as I am a NUPOC)

1/11/2009 10:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For NUPOC, the years spent in college count towards retirement.

1/12/2009 12:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

nupoc years count towards retirement but usna or nrotc dont? i don't have anything against any commissioning source, they all have pros and cons, but that doesn't seem right unless i'm missing something.

anyone know how many sub guys are commissioned outside of rotc and usna which produce somewhere above 100 a year?

1/12/2009 12:16 AM

Blogger 630-738 said...

NUPOC is a great program no doubt (it has to be- the target market is a pretty sought after group of folks), but STA-21 is nothing to sneeze at either. Let's analyze:

1. Up to $10,000 per month paid to the university for tuition, books and fees.
2. If you're eligible for SRB, and you reenlist prior to selection (I'm pretty sure it's a condition of acceptance into the program, anyway), you get the SRB. Really no different than the service obligation a NUPOC candidate would incur, and depending on your rating or NEC, the SRB could be much more than a 15K bonus.
3. Let's say you're a PO1 entering STA-21. You draw full pay and allowances while attending college full time.
4. Eligible for base housing, depending on area (or BAH for living off base).

I didn't do a dollar-for-dollar comparison, but I'm pretty sure STA-21 stacks up pretty well against NUPOC. I'm certain it's the best program EVER offered to enlisted personnel!

1/12/2009 6:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

NUPOC was definitely the way to go in the 80's.

1/12/2009 7:14 AM

Blogger C said...

NUPOC is a pretty sweet deal and OCS was a more brutal rite of passage than I think some realize. But I've always thought that we miss out in the inability to do midshipman cruises and experience different aspects of the Navy. We choose our designator ahead of time and at OCS spend the majority of our time with a marine corps gunny.

1/12/2009 7:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as the best officers, I think the prior-enlisted program picked the best. I wish I had the experience going in.


1/12/2009 7:24 AM

Blogger J120 Bowman said...

I was ROTC. No retirement years, but at the time we received USN commissions.

If I had to do it over and 1) could afford the first couple of years on my own and 2) had better grades, I would go NUPOC. In addition to the retirement years (long term benefit), they also earn (used to anyway) leave days. Huge short term beneift during the nuke pipeline when you can burn up a lot of leave days between duty stations. They get an active duty ID card during college as well (used to anyway) and make decent pay.

I agree with "C" above that I think those guys would have benefitted from some type of middie cruises ahead of time. As "630-738" said, the program needs to be good to attract people who could write their own ticket for a lot of jobs. A lot of the NUPOCS I knew unfortunately were way too far into the realm of total engineering geek. Beam me up Scotty!

ROTC was okay because you could have a normal college life yet still get enough Navy exposure to be prepared and not embarass yourself as an Ensign (oxymoron??)

I would say my observation for the Academy is that even if you leave the Navy the social and professional networking is the big long term benefit. In the short term, at least in Submarines, I think the "Ring Knocker" monicker actually hurts an Ensign. I tis something to be overcome.

As for any of the enlisted commissioning programs, I think they have the capability to produce the most well-rounded, level-headed officers.

My two cents!

1/12/2009 7:59 AM

Anonymous l-t said...

I'm going to have to say NROTC, but it depends. Middie cruises are a huge boondoggle (Puerto Rico? OKAY!!), you have some sort of real world college exposure before hitting the fleet, you might get to do some research in school. And if you go all out, you can get a premier education and really use that free tuition--I got an education that would have cost me about $130K. It would have been a stretch for me to even GO to college without an ROTC scholarship, and the degree I received (combined with the subs background) landed me an excellent job now that I'm out.

Oh, and I just learned that ROTC middie cruises count towards retirement points in the reserve! It's not much, but it's a nice little perk.

1/12/2009 9:11 AM

Blogger Sandy Salt said...

NUPOC was really worth it and it paid pretty well. It did suck on the experience factor, but it paid pretty well.

STA-21 is a great program and it is great for promoting within. I have seen some really deserving candidates make it.

1/12/2009 3:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Going through STA-21 as a prior Chief in Chicago making 70K a year.. full ride to a school that runs 120K+(IIT NROTC 30k STA-21 + the rest written off by IIT)....coming out with 75 days of leave on the books and 3 years closer to retirement makes my vote for STA-21 :) I would take experience wearing a blue shirt over a little middie pleasure cruise any day...

1/12/2009 4:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

NESEP was probably the best...due to a glitch I actually got P-3 nuke propay for one year while I was in college. Regular advancement (made E-7 while in school, got uniform bonus to pay for my new officer unis). Full pay, all fees, books, etc. Hit the fleet as an experienced JO, frocked to LT (with pay) at 2 years commissioned service. Sweet!

1/12/2009 9:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happens if you’re accepted to one of these programs and can’t keep the grades up. Do they revert or send you into the enlisted ranks?

1/13/2009 8:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Going through STA-21 as a prior Chief ."

Did you have to take a paycut going from E7 to O1E? Always wondered that, but never had the cuts to ask the (very) few OC's who had been Chiefs. I guess its the same deal with LDO and people certainly do that.

"What happens if you’re accepted to one of these programs and can’t keep the grades up. Do they revert or send you into the enlisted ranks?"

I work with a guy who tubbed out of NECP and got sent to a carrier (gulp) to finish his obligated service. Almost happened to me, and certainly happened to some friends. The big problem is the GPA requirement - in certain majors, its very very tough. I knew some guys who picked their major because they KNEW they would keep a high GPA and the nuc officer at the ROTC unit encouraged it because it counted on his fitrep. Bad outcome for the Navy, though - the easy major was less useful than others.

1/13/2009 10:59 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Not much there for helping the kids escape the clutches of poverty...their advertisement is all geared towards picturing the upper middle class and the rich.

Wouldn’t that be a neat stimulus come up with a program where they would boost the educational skills of these kids from say 12 to 18 years old. We could turn low income housing project kids into the finest officers the world has ever known.

I actually was in air force ROTC beginning in my first year of high school...but it wasn’t enough torque to get me out the mentality of the low income housing projects. I only lasted two years in it. You know it was the early 70's and this wasn't popular.

It probably planted the seed that helped me to decide to enter the enlisted naval nuclear program. I really wasn’t academically prepared for this program.

So how do we capture those lost children?

1/13/2009 11:00 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

You know, the nuke industry is facing a serious shortage of skilled and educated employees. Why don’t’ we come up with a consortium, the nuclear utilities and other, the government and the Navy....we could start producing and shaping those needed skills and education, say beginning at age 12. When you get out of the Navy, or even if you didn’t go into the military, you would be assured of having a job in the utility and nuclear industry.

You could start feeding those young children culturally enriching activities, pay them to work that creates education, or even pay them for gaining could create incentives that would cause these children to be attached to this organization. Bail them out of a jam. You be their friend and helper.

It doesn’t have to be limited to the poor.

1/13/2009 11:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barring a late "XO in the scullery" half-way night rush of votes...
We'll win Best Up and Coming Blog!
Way to go Joel!

1/13/2009 2:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike, the Navy is not a social outreach program.
If you want that, go to the Salvation Army.

1/13/2009 5:35 PM

Anonymous NomNomNom said...

congratulations SSBP! polls have closed for blog voting & you have won best up and coming blog.

1/13/2009 6:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which program produces the best officers? I'm assuming that you left out the LDO/CWO program because it was too obviously the right answer. As far as which program is the most preferable/cost effective, you should specify if it is from the individual's standpoint or the Navy's.
For the Navy, LDO/CWO is the most cost effective. It requires no out of pocket cost for college, no up front bonus, and the annual bonus is a little more than SDAP would be , but still much less than SWO's get.
Nuclear trained SWO's are the least cost effective. 4 years of the Academy (or ROTC affiliated college), a 2 year JO tour on a small boy where they learn nothing, a year in the nuclear pipeline, followed by a 2 year JO tour on a CVN (6 months of quals, 10 or so months of watchstanding, 4 months of qualifying engineer, and 4 months of attending TAP, terminal leave, completing the checkout process). All said and done, 8 years of training (and feeding and housing) them to culminate in 10 months of actual nuclear watchstanding, so they can subsequently get out and take a 6 figure job somewhere. Like I said, good for the SWO, not so much for the Navy, but we did this to ourselves.

Just my two cents.

1/14/2009 9:21 PM

Blogger Jay said...

I always resented NUPOCS, with their additional years of service, getting paid more and being 2-3 years closer to retirement. And, while it is true you can count your middie cruises towards retirement points in the reserve, you have to have your orders to prove it. What 21 year old kid remembered to keep those? Not me, sadly.

1/14/2009 11:23 PM

Anonymous Ross Kline said...

You know, those kids have the same option I had...join the navy, take on a challenging program, pass, do well in the fleet and then leave the navy and get hired as a civilian nuke....or they can go the full 20, as I chose to do, and still get hired as a nuke...

The civilian plants are also hiring those without a navy nuclear background.

But this isn't russia. One has to volunteer, or ask. Nobody hands it to you.

1/15/2009 1:57 PM


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