Commander, Naval Surface Forces/Commander of Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet announced a revision to the requirements for qualification and designation as a surface warfare officer (SWO), July 23.
Effective immediately, designators 116X and lateral transfers into the SWO community are the only designators eligible to pursue SWO qualification. This change aligns with new career path revisions, which focuses on increased experience on ships, including increased bridge watchstanding opportunities for SWOs.
“The surface warfare officer qualification is the path to 1110 and is the crucible of a junior professional surface warfare officer to develop and master the core competencies necessary to excel as a future commanding officer of a warship,” said Vice Adm. Richard Brown, commander, Naval Surface Forces/commander of Naval Surface Force U.S. Pacific Fleet. “My team and I remain committed to ensuring the future leaders of our community are properly trained and qualified.”
Officers pursuing SWO qualification must be a commissioned officer permanently assigned to either a commissioned or pre-commissioning U.S. Navy surface ship.
Non-116X officers, who are currently pursuing a SWO qualification, are authorized to continue until Oct. 1, 2018.
Additionally, only commanding officers of commissioned surface ships may qualify officers who are permanently assigned to their ship as SWOs. Once SWO qualification is achieved, transfer from one ship to another will not require requalification as a SWO or revalidation of the entire SWO PQS package. However, requalification in all applicable watchstations is required.
Further changes to the instruction include removing the time requirement for attaining SWO qualification and now documenting it in the instruction.
The minimum time requirement for SWOs to attain their qualification is not specified in the instruction. However, open communication with NPC is required if a qualification is expected to take longer than the first division officer tour. Ships must actively manage and maintain Personnel Qualification Standards Plan of Action and Milestones (PQS POAMs) for each officer to ensure the officer is on track for SWO qualification. In addition to the PQS POAM, SWOs must keep a log book of the amount of hours spent on the bridge. This information will be used when detailing junior officers to their second division officer and shore tours.
The update to the SWO qualification instruction follows a revision to the SWO Career Path and Training Continuum. The intent of the revised career path is to develop the most experienced and capable commanding officers who are specialists in five areas: seamanship, navigation, and shiphandling; combat systems; engineering; command and program management and administration; and leadership.