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.  

The Quick and Dirty on the Four Paths to Success in the SWO ReserveComponent

The Quick and Dirty on the Four Paths to Success in the SWO Reserve Component:
Why you care: 

The AC SWO career path is clear.  We can all quote it from memory.  DIVO Tours, Shore Tour, DH, O-4 Command, Joint Tour, O-5 XO-CO Fleet Up, Major Staff Tour, Major Command, etc.   Now you’re an RC SWO.  Unless you live near a Fleet Concentration, you’re alone  and unafraid.  Unless you’re activated, you haven’t been near anything haze gray in years.  There aren’t reserve ships anymore and unless you’re going to forego a civilian career and be a professional reservist, the career path is clear as mud.  
Fortunately, the Senior RC SWO’s recognized that and have spent three years hammering it out so that you can have a framework of milestones while you manage both your reserve and civilian career paths.  The items listed below are career tracks or specialty career paths.  There are four of them and in this post, we’ll touch on who they are and what they do.  Follow on posts will go further in depth on their details.  Since you now have a clearer idea of the RC SWO force structure, you can set about figuring out where you want to fit in and how to get there from here.
 
What they are:
  1. Naval Expeditionary Combatant Command:  provides rapid deployable and agile expeditionary forces, made up of active duty and reserve mission specialists, to warfare commanders in support of maritime security operations around the globe.  This is for all you SWO’s that initially thought about being Marines, but hated yelling Oorah all the time and wearing the high and tight.  Commands include:
    1. Coastal Riverine Force
    2. Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training Command
    3. Navy Construction Force (Seabees)
    4. EOD Groups 1 and 2
    5. Navy Expeditionary Intelligence Command
    6. Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group
    7. Expeditionary Combat Readiness Command  


  • Military Sealift Command: Support our nation by delivering supplies and conducting specialized missions across the world’s oceans.  This is for all you SWO’s who thought that the active Navy didn’t provide you with enough opportunities to be at sea and wanted to prove to SUPPO that you can do his job better than he ever could.  Commands include:
  1. Cargo Afloat Rig Teams
  2. Expeditionary Port Units  
  3. TRANSCOM Detachment
  4. MSC Training Group
  5. MSC HQ


  • Operational Level of War: focused on delivering Surface Warfare Officers to the fleet and Combatant Commands who are skilled in operations and operational planning and able to apply maritime power effectively throughout the full spectrum of military operations.  For all you Alfred Thayer Mahan wannabe’s.  Commands include:  
  1. Numbered Fleets
  2. Navy Information Operations Command
  3. Combined Task Forces/Carrier Strike Groups/Expeditionary Strike Groups
  4. Commander Naval Forces Korea/Commander Naval Forces Japan
  5. TACGRU’s/TACRON’s
  6. PACOM, SOUTHCOM, EUCOM, etc.


  • Surface Specialty: provides strategic reserve surface warriors for fleet and waterfront support missions. For all you SWO’s who are in withdrawal for a good old Surface Navy fix. We have three flavors: small boy, amphibious, and bird farm.  Commands include:
  1. Littoral Combat Ship
  2. Beach Group
  3. Surface Readiness
If you’ve got great gouge or experience please share at http://www.swotivater.blogspot.com  Any comments and criticism of the information are greatly appreciated so that we can build a better resource for everyone to benefit from.