Over the past few years, the surface warfare officer (SWO) community has implemented far-reaching and much-needed change to professionalize and ready its warfighters for any scenario that may come their way in a high-end fight. Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) courses have been overhauled to significantly enhance mariner skills, new shiphandling courses are online to provide increased “reps and sets” in challenging sea evolutions, logbooks are now mandatory for all SWOs, and international convention requirements under the Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers (STCW) have been incorporated. Major changes to the SWO personnel qualification standard (PQS) requirements, a mandatory requirement for maintaining watchstanding proficiency, the restricting of SWO-candidateship to unrestricted line officers in the surface warfare career path, and, perhaps most important, career-long mariner skills assessment criteria to ensure individual competency also have been implemented.
The New Model for Professionalism in the Surface Force
By Rear Admiral Scott Robertson, U.S. Navy