'What's the difference between a good naval officer and a great one? Answer: about six seconds," Admiral Arleigh A. Burke famously declared. The quintessential destroyerman, known for his aggressive, high-speed battle tactics, Burke believed that hesitation caused by a lack of confidence or preparation gives adversaries a dangerous advantage: they can order the disposition of their forces, fire their weapons, and gain the upper hand. Six seconds can be the critical margin between life and death, and victory or defeat.
Outmaneuvering the enemy and bringing superior firepower to bear are key naval skills. These capabilities require not only dynamic leadership but also a solid foundation of warfighting readiness encompassing every system on a ship. The primary responsibility of the Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) is to train today's surface warfare officers (SWOs) to seize the initiative, make rapid decisions, and demonstrate sound tactics.