Surface Warfare Magazine
Sharing stories and news from Sailors across the U.S. Navy’s Surface Forces
SWO Career Changes

In July 2015, surface warfare leadership made a strong commitment to embrace a career management model that shifts away from retaining the most willing officers, and focuses or retention of the most talented officers. Ultimately, our surface warfare leadership’s commitment to people is focused on retaining our most talented officers and growing leaders who can think, lead, operate and win in a variety of future environments.

Option-based, agile, flexible careers

Surface warfare officer (SWO) leadership is thinking differently and more creatively about their people and how to retain top talent. The SWO legacy career path has served well as a force, but the conveyor belt style associated with developing tomorrow’s leaders lacks inherent flexibility. In simple terms, this new approach affords officers the opportunity to chart their own course and determine how to best sequence sea duty and shore duty in a way that meets their needs and those of their families.

Increasing selectivity and rewarding superior performance

SWO leaders recognize that talented officers do not stay in the Navy for the money. Talented performers stay in surface warfare for the opportunity to make a difference, for service with meaning and impact, for challenge, and for the passion of serving with exceptional men and women at sea. The monetary bonus is not about paying a buck to stay in the Navy – it’s about paying attention to the best performers and rewarding them for what they do and who they are.

Sailor 2025 initiatives -- new tools for talent retention

Providing young officers with choice, flexibility and options through a restructured career path is important, but restructuring, alone, is inadequate. SWOs need additional tools to enhance and incentivize retention in a competitive market. Sailor 2025 focuses on several areas to retain the most talented and dedicated surface warfare officers:

  • Develop warriors with advanced graduate education.
  • Broaden opportunity through exposure to America’s top companies.
  • Expand opportunities for career intermission.
  • Reinforce our commitment to dual-military couples.

Investing in Warfighting Expertise

The mission is to fight and win at sea. To that end, the surface warfare community is embarked on the most expansive and robust warfighting training effort since the establishment of the all-volunteer force in the early 1970s. Through this continuum of education and training, the goal is to produce commanding officers who are wholly grounded in advanced warfighting and tactics; this approach represents a return to roots, with the captain as the ship’s number one warfighter.

Going on Offense: Recruiting the Next Generation

Reaching out across our great country to attract, recruit and retain young men and women is imperative for our continued success. In a war for talent, every avenue to maintain a competitive edge must be pursued. Targeted changes to the recruiting paradigm for the Surface Warfare community include a stronger “persistent presence” on social media outlets and a renewed emphasis on officer recruiter programs, Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps units and leveraging Naval Academy Blue and Gold Officers to reach deeply in the talent pool of young Americans and identify those who have what it takes to be Surface Warriors. Surface Warfare Magazine


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