The career goal of all surface warfare officers (SWOs) is supposed to be command at sea-but there is a problem with this equation. There are more than 8,100 officers in the surface warfare community and only 242 surface ships for SWOs to command. The number of ships will increase gradually in the next several years as a result of the war on terrorism, but the fact remains that the majority of midshipmen choosing surface warfare every year never will have the opportunity to command a ship. Of the surface warfare officers staying in the Navy past their division officer tours, nearly 60% will be passed over and deselected between 0-4 and 0-6 under current Department of Defense promotion parameters. Only about 40% of eligible SWOs who have completed department head and executive officer tours will be selected for command at the first opportunity.
Give Surface Officers a New Option
By Lieutenant Mike Dillender, U.S. Navy, Marshal Pattie, Allison Rohrer, and Angela Shaw