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Senior Enlisted Academy Program Overview

The Senior Enlisted Academy is a part-resident, part-online program dedicated to developing adaptive, ethical leaders—and preparing them for greater responsibilities. In fact, successfully completing SEA has long been a requirement for promotion to command master chief or chief of the boat and, now, for advancement to E-9.

Advancing Your Career at SEA

SEA’s academic programming provides senior enlisted personnel with a solid understanding of national security strategy, joint force operations, and leadership skills. Coursework focuses on communications, management, ethics, and mission accomplishment in a global environment.

The SEA program lasts 11 weeks, including a three-week residency in Newport, Rhode Island, a one-week nonacademic period between phases, and seven weeks of facilitated distance learning before arriving on campus.

Distance Learning Phase – Seven weeks

During the distance learning phase, you will read, write papers, participate in activities, explore case studies, and interact with classmates and faculty members via our online learning system. Topics of focus include critical thinking, national security, commander’s intent, and threat.

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In-Residence Phase – Three weeks

The in-residence portion of your SEA experience builds upon what you have learned through distance learning. While on campus, you will attend seminars, hear from guest speakers, participate in group activities, work on physical conditioning, and, sometimes, take field trips.

Specific lessons include topics such as group dynamics, feedback skills, counseling and mentoring, and impromptu speaking.

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E-7 Eligibility Requirements (Mandatory)

We allow a limited number of Navy E-7s in each class with these eligibility requirements to attend SEA:

  • Pay grade E-7 must provide a Commanding Officer’s (CO) endorsement letter that certifies the following:
    1. Member has completed Professional Military Education (PME) prerequisite.
    2. Member is time-in-rate eligible for E-8.
    3. Member is recommended for advancement by the current CO.
    4. Member is an Early Promote (EP), or is the #1 or #2 Must Promote (MP) on their most recent competitive chief's evaluation.
    5. Additionally, the CO's endorsement must include the statement "I fully support CPO Sailor to attend the SEA and I acknowledge s/he meets all eligibility requirements (e.g., PME prerequisite completed, BCA within standards, etc.") or explain the reason for not meeting any of the above requirements.
  • Email CO’s endorsement letter to the SEA registrar at the same day you register for an Empower account.

For a sample CO's endorsement letter for E-7s, click here.

E-8/E-9 of Any Service

The SEA course is for E-8/E-9s. Thus, pay grades E-8/E-9 of any service, including our international service partners, are fully eligible (to include ‘frocked’ E-8s). Army, Air Force, National Guard, Marine, and Coast Guard personnel should refer to their respective service’s procedures for funding to attend at the Navy SEA.

SEA Acknowledgement Letter (All USN E-7/8/9s, not required for international or partner service students)

The student's Commanding Officer is required to acknowledge that he or she is attending the SEA, along with other travel-related requirements. Students must download the sample Command Acknowledgement Letter, have it signed by their Commanding Officer/Officer in Charge, and be ready to upload it to Blackboard by Wednesday of the first week of class. Failing to do so may result in automatic disenrollment.


There are four categories of students attending the Navy SEA (1. NAVY TAD - USN Active Duty and USN Reserve Active Duty/FTS; 2. NAVY PCS; 3. TDY - Partner Services and International; and 4. NAVY SELRES - USN Reserve Inactive). Which category you are in determines who pays for your travel. Typically, 80% or more of our students fall into the first category--NAVY TAD.

Category-1: NAVY TAD Students (USN Active Duty, and FTS, who attend 3-weeks in-residence)

For Navy Active Component and Active Reserve Component (FTS) students who can complete the full 3-weeks in-residence, attending in a TAD status where the SEA funds your travel is the optimum choice. We pay for your to travel from homeport to the SEA and back. You MUST have an active Defense Travel System (DTS) account, and you MUST have an active, non-expired Government Credit Card to attend. Travel information will be available in Blackboard (Bb) once the course starts so you can complete your DTS Authorization (aka Travel Orders) and Voucher (aka Travel Claim).

Category-2: NAVY PCS Students (TDY)

For NAVY PCS students, the detailer pays for your travel. You simply show up per your PCS orders. The SEA does not have any role in generating your orders or your funding.

Category-3: Partner Service Students (TDY)

For Partner Service students, your individual service picks up the travel tab. The SEA does not have any role in generating your orders or your funding.

Category-3: International Partner Students (TDY)

For International Partner students, your individual country Security Cooperation Organization (SCO) coordinates funding. The SEA does not have any role in generating your orders or your funding. For questions/guidance, contact the SEA international military student officer at 401-841-4247 or 401-841-2216

Category-4: Navy SELRES Students (AT/ADT)

Finally, for SELRES students whose command approves the 3-weeks in-resident or the 2-weeks in-residence, the SEA does not have any role in generating your orders or funding. Use AT or ADT for your primary funding source from your command. You may use back-to-back orders using both funding types. Check with your OSO to verify. You MUST have approved orders prior to starting Bb, per COMNAVRESFORNOTE 1001.

For SELRES students newly selected to senior chief petty officer or who are selected to attend CMC/COB school, ADT-Schools will be authorized by COMNAVRESFORCOM N7.