SWO Reserve Component Issues: Career Path

While the Surface Reserve Component (SRC) Career Path is not nearly as entrenched as our AC counterparts, the senior SRC leadership has constructed a generic model of things that correlate to successful SRC career management.  We all arrive at 1115 as an O-3 with DIVO experience under our belts. As it happens, O-3 is the first pay grade where we get a shot at command.  As with the AC, apply for command early and often, this is the best way to move up in the SRC ranks.  As you continue on, apply for Navy Officer Billet Codes (NOBC’s – ie. OPS, Traino, XO, etc.)  and Additional Qualification Designator’s (AQD’s) to demonstrate proficiency and skill in the broad reaches of the SRC.

One of the most important things that you can do as a SRC JO is to find a good mentor.  Someone who can help you navigate your transition from AC to RC.  We cannot overstress the importance of linking up with someone who has been down the road before you, who can tell you where the hazards are and how to avoid them.  There is a developing mentor network through the reserve component with over 100 Captains as well as regional lead mentors and deputies.  Each NOSC should have a senior SWO that is reaching out to all the JO’s.  On the Navy Reserve Homeport private side there is a community dedicated to the SRC.  Remember, this is your career and no one will manage it for you.  If you’re not getting the help you need then you’ll have to go get it from somewhere else.   

While these are good general tips, there are some specifics that you can hone in on to achieve that will increase your chances of moving on up in the SRC community.

  • Within 5 years of Affiliating:
    • Complete Appropriate Specialty Qualifications / Apply for NOBC/AQD’s
    • Take hard jobs, break out in traffic
    • Complete Advanced Officer Leadership Course (AOLC)
    • Complete Navy Reserve Unit Management Seminar (NRUMS)
    • Complete JPME I
    • Complete Advanced Degree
    • Serve as Assistant Recorder on a Promotion or Apply Board
    • Compete for Command at EVERY opportunity

  • First 3 Years as an O-5
    • Complete appropriate specialty qualifications
    • Take hard jobs and break out in traffic
    • Complete Senior Officer Leadership Course (SOLC)
    • Complete AJPME/JPME II
    • Serve as a recorder or Member of a Promotion or Apply Board
    • Apply for Navy Reserve Advanced Management Seminar (NRAMS)
    • Compete for Command at EVERY opportunity

  • Nice to Have’s
    • Gain hardware unit experience
    • Complete Martime Staff Operators Course
    • Complete Advanced Specialty Courses
    • Obtain your Joint Qualification
    • Realize that cross-specialty opportunities exist at both the O-4 and O-5 levels

As always, if you’ve got gouge or have learned from experience how to accomplish these things efficiently please feel free to share with the group.  

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