Sept 2009 Selection Boards

Postby jsmcmurrayjr » Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:30 pm

jboomgaarden wrote:Either way, don't be discouraged by your age. If the OR thinks you still have a shot, a good package, and this is something you believe in then by all means you should apply.
I'm not discouraged so much as curious. Either way, my package will be at next month's boards.

HH-60H wrote:It is actually quite a bit more difficult to get commissioned "from the inside" than through an off the street program.
Why is it easier to get commissioned off the street?
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Postby phrogpilot73 » Fri Sep 25, 2009 3:44 am

jsmcmurrayjr wrote:Why is it easier to get commissioned off the street?

Because an enlisted guy who is applying to an officer program has to first finish boot camp, A school and establish himself in his first command as a top-notch sailor. THEN he can apply to an incredibly (even more so than off the street) competitive program. It's tough.
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Postby arvizo » Fri Sep 25, 2009 1:44 pm

phrogpilot73 wrote:Because an enlisted guy who is applying to an officer program has to first finish boot camp, A school and establish himself in his first command as a top-notch sailor. THEN he can apply to an incredibly (even more so than off the street) competitive program. It's tough.

That doesn't really answer the question. I'm also curious why it's more difficult to get commissioned from the inside. One would think if you've already proven yourself thru bootcamp, A-school, and in the command that you would be more desirable than a random person off the street.
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Postby VQ Bubba » Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:30 pm

arvizo wrote:That doesn't really answer the question. I'm also curious why it's more difficult to get commissioned from the inside. One would think if you've already proven yourself thru bootcamp, A-school, and in the command that you would be more desirable than a random person off the street.


Oh, I think it answers the question. Think of all the simple, silly things a sailor can into trouble for that would be water under the bridge for a civilian at college.

At a basic level, an active duty sailor is running a gauntlet of opportunities to screw it all away. If a sailor sleeps in late more than once it's called NJP. For the civilian it's called a hangover from last night's kegger.

The active duty sailor is also competing with a slew of other highly motivated sailors for a relatively small pool of officer program slots. He/she is also subject to moment's notice deployment with unreliable internet that screws up on-line college course work.

Is a sailor who has kept his/her nose clean and performed well more desireable? Without a doubt...but it's still a far less dangerous path to take your shots from the outside than from the inside.

If the Navy turns down the civilian...no harm no foul. If the enlisted sailor gets turned down (and if being an officer was the goal in the first place)...well, enjoy your time until your EAOS.

And in the end, it all comes down to the various quotas/goals for officer accessions...and the Navy values both the hard-charging sailor and the random civlian off the street.

The wisdom of the respective quotas is a totally separate argument from the main idea of the OP, however.

At the end of the day...if someone with a college degree wants to join the Navy and serve as an officer as the primary goal...OCS is the better path. The risk/reward ratio of enlisting with the goal of earning an officer program is too high for this cowboy.
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Postby arvizo » Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:44 pm

Right, I'm fully aware that there are many more opportunities to get into trouble while Enlisted compared to a college student. However, my question was in response to HH-60's post, "It is actually quite a bit more difficult to get commissioned "from the inside" than through an off the street program." Of course, the entire process of enlisting and trying to become an Officer is a difficult journey. I want to know if the chances of getting accepted to OCS while enlisted is more difficult than someone off the street. Are there two separate pools of candidates or are enlisted and civilian OCS applications reviewed together?
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Postby 1610MATROS » Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:04 pm

I would add that there is nothing wrong with enlisting with a college degree and spending a career as an enlisted Sailor. The CMC aboard USS Gonzalez has a college degree from a fine university - UM. She started as a CTO became an RM and then an IT. I would venture that she has no regrets at all. There is much to be said for simply serving in the United States Navy. Several of my Sailors were selected for Seaman to Admiral and finished college under the program and then decided against commissioning. One of my Sailors was selected for LDO and then decided to remain a CPO. I enjoyed my time as an enlisted Sailor and it certainly made me a better officer. We need leaders in the CPO Mess and in the wardroom.
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Harder from the inside

Postby SHFtech » Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:41 pm

Arvizo,

You're right, no one seems to be answering your question. The difficulty has nothing to do with getting in trouble, the differences between college life and enlisted life, etc. It's harder (and I know because I was enlisted trying to go STA-21) because you're already under contract and the Navy has already spent a lot of money on you. It was easier for me to get out, finish my degree(s) and then apply straight to OCS (which I'm still in the process of doing, so this is from a non-officer's perspective, I've delayed my application process because I just finished my Masters and I'm waiting for it to show on my transcripts) than it would have been to get selected for STA-21. Think of it as a sports analogy: it's harder to switch teams when you're under contract than it is when you're a free agent right? And that's essentially the same case for Enlisted personnel. An enlisted sailor signs an 8 year contract (yes, 8 years 4 active and 4 ready reserve) which they are bound to by law. To get a recruit through Boot and A-School, negotiate their orders and sometimes fly them around the world to meet their command, the Navy has already spent 10's of thousands of dollars on them. By applying to an Officer program, they are essentially asking to break their committment which involves a lot of red tape and creates a manning headache for their command and detailer. At that point, they Navy hasn't gotten their return on investment. If they get selected, their command will be short a man until another recruit comes through A-School and/or until another transfer arrives at the command.

Additionally, the STA-21 program costs a ton of money for each selectee. The program takes an enlisted sailor out of "production" and puts him/her through 3 years (STA-Requires you to complete your degree within 3 years) of college (sailors choice, but it must have a Naval ROTC) while paying them their current pay and entitlements. Also, while at school, the enlisted sailor can take advancement exams and potentially advance to the next paygrade costing the Navy even more money for a non-productive sailor (ok, I mean non-productive because they're not working in their job function). Although the program is by no means easy, it's still a HUGE advantage for the sailor and a debt to the Navy. That's why we all joked that it was the "Ghost" program because you heard about it, as an IT I saw the message traffic for selectees, but I never actually met anyone who went through the program. Even the one guy in my command who was accepted didn't end up going because of an irregular heart beat (funny that the heart condition wasn't enough to get him transferred off the ship though???).

So, hopefully my personal take on the situation is more of an answer. Logically, it makes sense that the Navy would want to "promote" from within. But from the Navy's perspective, it's a liability not a benefit due to manning/cost issues. It's easier to take joe-blow off the streets who's already paid for their college and has no committments and push him through OCS than it is to disrupt the system and pull a vital component out of their position before the Navy has achieved their ROI (return on investment).

Also, don't take this posting as cinical. Working in the corporate environment as an auditor I more than understand, and even agree from a business perspective, with the Navy's philosophy (or my interpretation of the Navy's philosophy).

Regards,
SHFtech
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Postby arvizo » Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:51 pm

SHFtech,

STA-21 should be much more difficult than applying to OCS because it's such a good deal. It's hard to beat getting paid a full salary to attend school while on active duty status. However, you did answer my civilian OCS vs. Enlisted OCS question with the other details in your post. Thanks.
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Postby yoshi » Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:48 pm

Opportunity for commissioning from the enlisted ranks is controlled by community management. Opportunity for commissioning from OCS or other off the street oportunities is also controlled by community management. There are certain metrics which must be maintained in order for a community to maintain a healthy, viable existence. If a community is 60 percent previously enlisted, problems will occur with appropriate staffing levels at the senior level, as many will retire when possible. We went through this recently (probably still dealing with this problem), but things are getting fixed. How? Well, if we adjust the number of accessions so that we can be sure we have more people coming in that will promote to O5 before they are retirement eligible, we will see a corresponding decrease in the staffing shortfall at O4 and O5. This is what they tell me, anyway. I believe there was some information posted somewhere on this forum related to this topic perhaps about a year ago.

Simply put, if we take more "off the streeters" competition becomes more fierce amongst the enlisted folks with a commission as a goal, and theoretically less stiff on the street (although unemployment levels have fundamentally changed the specifics of this equiation). We still have opportunities on both sides and we have to maintain a balance, and in the end, "things are tough all over." There are several other things affecting opportunity, as well. Lateral transfers have to figure in there, as well. Lateral transfers have much to offer because they can often provide the military (and other warfare) experience while satisfying the need for people with longevity through O5 .
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Postby IW OCM » Sat Sep 26, 2009 3:24 am

arvizo wrote:Are there two separate pools of candidates or are enlisted and civilian OCS applications reviewed together?


There are two categories for IW OCS selection...Direct Accession to 1640 and SWO (IW Option). We do not separate the Sailors from the Civilians, however their status is a consideration. We seek diversity when making selections and by diversity I mean Sailor Vs. Civilian, Technical Vs Non-technical Education. Other forms of diversity are not a deliberate consideration, though results are often times diverse from that standpoint as well. When mentoring soemone who wants to be an IWO via OCS please encourage them to apply to both programs, as that increases their chances.
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