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.)

Friday, September 09, 2011

Selectivity -- A Good Thing?

A reader wrote in to ask if I had any insight into the best way to increase one's chances of getting into the Navy as an officer. Excerpt:
I have been trying for over a year now, increased my GPA, lost over 50 pounds, and added additional community services to my resume. From my understanding, there just aren’t any spots for young men and women who are just getting out of college.
To be honest, I hadn't realized just how picky the Navy had become. I knew the services had been meeting their accession goals recently (I'm sure the state of the economy contributes to that), but didn't know just how few slots there really were. Some entries from this blog by a New York Navy Officer recruiter has some interesting posts, including this one and this one, excerpted:
Today I saw NRD NY's goal or quota for Fiscal Year 2012 which starts this October. I did a double take. Active Duty General Officer (Pilot, NFO, SWO, Intel, Nuke, CEC, Supply, SEAL, etc.): The goal for ALL of NRD NY is ten. That's right, T.E.N. Out of those ten four were Nukes. What does that mean to me? Well to put it into perspective last year my personal goal was 24, the year prior 31 while the goal for the district has been 65 and 71 respectively. It means that I highly doubt there will be a board for any of these designators until September of next year. There are twenty-six NRDs in the US. Do the math and you'll see they only need 260 Officer Candidates this year which is a joke, in the past it has been well over a thousand.
I knew the Navy was drawing down, but this sounds much more serious than I'd realized. Sure, it seems like it would be nice to be able to pick and choose which people you want to join your organization, but I'm worried that we'll end up with several year groups in a row composed only of the people who the recruiters think would make the best Officers -- which, to be honest, might not reflect the characteristics and personality types with whom the non-recruiters among us would most like to serve.

Do you have any advice for the reader about what he might be able to do to impress the recruiter? (Input from current and recent recruiters would be especially useful.) And do you have any concerns about potential blowback from the Navy's new-found freedom to "pick and choose"?

Off topic, kind of: Also on the recruiters blog, here's a report of an E-mail he got from a young officer in the middle of the Nuke pipeline that I thought was interesting. Excerpts:
As it turns out nukes are much needed in the fleet but huge holds are building up in the pipeline. If you recall I was attached to NRD NY for 15 weeks and that was shorter than most people who graduated OCS and were designated as sub nucs (There were ensigns who were on hold for up to 24 weeks). Throughout the 24 weeks here in Charleston no one knew where or when we would be going to prototype or SOBC. For my class, we were issued 3 sets of orders the week before graduation which changed constantly. As of now, everyone took 2 weeks of leave and the sub nukes have to report back to Charleston for 2 months of quality assurance training (some assignment they're experimenting with so we don't go back to OHARP or just sit around and muster daily). Most of us are going to prototype in NY after we report to SOBC with a few who are staying in Charleston (mainly those with families who do not want to keep moving around).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uhm...the recruiters are Navy men and likely still straight, right? Yes?

Alcohol might work, but is likely too dicey in these days of DUI-shortened careers.

Seems pretty straightforward to bring along the best-looking woman(women) possible when visiting said recruiter(s). End of problemo.

9/09/2011 2:42 PM

Blogger SubIconoclast said...

Interestingly enough, promotions are also getting tighter. Not only are we only considering about half of a year group (YG) "in zone" at a time now, but even then the selection rate for submariners to O4 was just over 60% this year. "Just finishing your tour without getting fired" is no longer sufficient to promote toward the next milestone - a healthy development as I see things. Of course this is probably only a brief phase as the pendulum shifts direction, and we'll be accessing and promoting everyone with a pulse in another few years to make up for overcorrection right now.

My advice for your friend: keep trying, and find a silver lining in the thought that - once accepted - being in an under-accessed YG has career advantages (e.g., a fairly clear path to Command).

9/09/2011 4:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was an instructor at NNPTC last year, I can confirm that the pipeline is simply hosed right now. Not just for officers either. There aren't enough prototypes, and those that are available keep shutting down due to 'unplanned' maintenance and other screw-ups inherent to training on 50-year old reactors.

9/09/2011 5:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My advice is enlist as a nuc then go STA-21 at earliest opportunity. Officer pickups from the nuc side are pretty easy.

9/09/2011 6:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

{My advice is enlist as a nuc then go STA-21 at earliest opportunity. Officer pickups from the nuc side are pretty easy.}

Horrible advice if the individual already has a degree. Not terrible advice if you are both very smart and very hard working. The problem is that it is somewhat difficult to predict excellence in the pipeline, which is absolutely required for STA-21. Top 10% enlisted power school? Sure, its pretty easy. At least, it was in my day.

9/09/2011 7:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Officers are on hold for the first time ever at Ballston Spa. I am in the pipeline now, and will put on LTJG maybe two weeks after I finally get to a boat. This is after I spent two months at SOBC following prototype, and two months on OHARP after that. From what I hear, the classes after mine are even more screwed, with an expected 6 month hold between power school and prototype. Someone effed up royally and it is costing an ungodly amount of time and money.

9/09/2011 10:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoops, mistyped back there. Two months at SOBC following power school.

9/09/2011 10:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

doesn't this just mean that canoe u. and NROTC are filling the pipelines (all of them)? that's still a lot of JOs. does it matter if there aren't as many (or any) NUPOCs?

9/09/2011 11:43 PM

Blogger Curt said...

Enlisted in 1978 and 'go to' spend 6 months on a Destroyer in San Dog, waiting for Class 7907 to form up, in Orlando.

I was an ET3 in EW Div, and the guys were begging me to walk down the pier at 32nd St., to talk to the Nucs on Bainbridge...

9/10/2011 4:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know of a friend's son who was signed up for the NUPOC program, received the pay for quite a while, then was held before going to OCS and was ultimately involuntarily separated because they didn't have a slot for him at NNPS. He was extremely well qualified, very intelligent and industrious; I had finally convinced him to go submarines (he had originally been signed up to go surface). Then the Navy told him he would have to pay back the accession bonus. Very strange, but matches what we're seeing in here.

9/10/2011 8:28 AM

Anonymous T said...

Glad I got out when I did! Sounds like the boats and my peers are in for a rough ride!

If you are worried about putting on O-4, go to the reserves. We are still very undermanned, and you can put on o-4 quite easily, and O-5 pretty easily as well (if you even want to).

At this rate, I will put on O-4 in the reserves before my served DH peers.

9/10/2011 8:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

{There aren't enough prototypes, and those that are available keep shutting down due to 'unplanned' maintenance and other screw-ups inherent to training on 50-year old reactors.}

Perhaps if you had spent some time at the NPTU's, you would have a better idea of what you're talking about. The vast majority of our mistakes have been during a maintenance period. Yes, there have been shutdowns due to mistakes (mostly in NY), but to categorize them as inherent to training on aging platforms is irresponsible. What is inherent, is the fact that just like an operational ship, there is vital equipment that must be functional in order to continue power operations. If anything, the fact that we are training on 50 year old reactors is a testament to how well they were engineered and maintained, given the perpetual cycling of the plant.

But, I suppose I shouldn't expect a classroom instructor to realize that the NPTU's are more susceptible to problems because we do considerably more in a day than an operational ship does in a week.

9/10/2011 8:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the budget issues coming to head in the next decade or so, I would, unfortunately, recommend against a Navy career (or any military one) at this time.

Even if you get in, instead of battling bad guys you are going to be focused on money instead. Retirement benefits are going to shrink and we may even see a DECREASE in military pay. You also mentioned you lost 50lbs...great! However, if you even think there is a slight chance of that coming back, being in the Navy with a weight problem is an additional problem you don't need.

Anyway, if you can make it through some of the bad things mentioned above, you may have a great career. Who knows, things could turn significantly and China goes hot if we are "lucky".

Good luck in your decision and future.

9/10/2011 10:09 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Makes me wonder what the enlisted accession goals are at this point. I know when I was NF recruiter at NRD LA back in the late 90's a NF goal of 170-180 was about average, even though we rarely made it--people were more focused on just making overall goal.

Also curious to see what the waiver process looks like now. We weren't afraid to put in full-kit waivers for borderline candidates. Can't imagine that would fly now--either an enlisted candidate is a telephonic or don't bother (unless naturalized, then they go DEN while awaiting full-kit.)

9/10/2011 10:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, are recruiters getting RIFed and budget slashed or do we continue to pay people for no work?

The flight community has been letting people go home after ROTC and NA for years because of no available positions. Free four year education and no commitment?

Best part is no accountability in HR folks. Forge numbers from previous year, collect pay check, get promoted, life is grand.

Why do sub guys still work 80+ hour weeks?

9/10/2011 8:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Officers are on hold for the first time ever at Ballston Spa.

Anon at 1035, was that a joke? When you get there, ask around.

9/10/2011 10:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Echo the comment about the aviators. Work now at an NAS and they are sending academy grads home to the IRR until they can find a training quota. This on top of aviators stashed to the gills.

9/12/2011 10:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon at 1035 is still a NUB, how could we expect him to think that this problem hasn't existed before. There's probably some LT's from the 0602/0603 class who are at prototype as instructors and can comment on that disaster at S8G.

9/14/2011 11:08 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems like a good time to be a minority female or openly gay.

All three and you'll get a LT. command!

9/14/2011 11:00 PM

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10/02/2011 9:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The drawback in quotas is for non-nukes only as the nuclear community continues to be critical to operation of the Navy's most critical ships (CVNs and Subs). The NUPOC program continues to provide over 33% of the new ENS each year with USNA/NROTC and enlisted commissioning programs filling the rest. The NUPOC program is competitive as always and the quotas have continued to increase year after year for the last 4 years. The program is however very healthy and as a result very selective. If you cant get a decent recruiter, bypass the local recruiter and go straight to Recruiting Command.

10/19/2011 6:43 PM


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