Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps
Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps

Surface Warfare


While the U.S. Navy has the most technically and tactically advanced defense and war-fighting capabilities on land, in the air, and under the sea, the mainstay of the force is the vast fleet of aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, amphibious ships, combat logistics support ships and mine warfare ships. These ships and their crews are commanded and managed by an elite group of ship drivers and ship fighters – the Navy’s Surface Warfare Officers.

Surface Warfare Officers are the leaders onboard the world’s most powerful vessels, managing professional and highly trained Sailors to maintain and operate the ship’s systems. All midshipmen who choose Surface Warfare can look forward to a challenging career as a member of the Navy's oldest warfare community. Newly commissioned Ensigns will find themselves in the most modern fleet in the world, serving on a variety of ships such as the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers, the LCS-1 Freedom Class Littoral Combat Ships or the LPD-17 San Antonio Class Landing Platform Dock amphibious ships all on the cutting edge of warship technology.


NROTC graduates are selected to be a Surface Warfare Officer during their final year of school based on their grade point average, overall class standing, and whether or not they meet Navy physical fitness standards. During their senior year, selected surface warfare candidates will select which ship they will serve on for their first Division Officer tour.


Surface Warfare Officers are thrust into action sooner than any other community. Upon commissioning, officers who select Surface Warfare undergo 8 weeks of intensive instruction at the Surface Warfare Officer School (SWOS) Basic Division Officer Course (BDOC). If a graduate's selected ship is scheduled for deployment before they can attend BDOC, the graduate will deploy first, then attend BDOC afterwards. BDOC emphasizes the basics of shipboard management, combat systems, ship control, and surface ship fundamentals. The final weeks are ship class specific and center on the engineering systems in that class. After completing the BDOC core, officers will be sent to their ships to begin their first Division Officer's tour. Surface Warfare Officers also have chances all throughout their career to attain their graduate degrees from the Naval Postgraduate School, Naval War College, or a civilian institution.

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