How does employment work as commissioned officer?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Newguy225, May 19, 2016.

  1. Newguy225

    Newguy225 New Member

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    Apologies if this info is obvious. I'm new and don't know much. I've been awarded an NROTC scholarship for four years, and I have a couple questions regarding the way employment works as a commissioned officer. I know that enlisted have contracts and have to fulfill them, whereas officers don't, but I don't quite get it. I'm going to have a five year service commitment, but after that, am I paid monthly and then if I want to quit I just give my two weeks notice and leave? Are there a lot of bureaucratic hurdles, or is it as simple as any job? Can the navy force you to stay for a certain period of time? Some info would be appreciated.

    And separately, what happens if you do decide to quit DURING your five required years? I know you would have to pay back the tuition money, but is it proportional to how long you serve or is it an all or nothing type gig. Obviously not planning on doing this, but I'd like to know the ins and outs of the deal when I'm signing away five years of my life. Thanks
     
  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Simplest answers, without going into a lot of detail:

    Active duty military are paid twice a month.

    Officers resign their commission by submitting a formatted request asking for separation (if not retiring after the requisite number of years) or retirement. This has to be submitted a specified amount of time in advance to allow for processing and to order in your replacement. It's not two weeks.
    It's usually a certain number of months.

    The release date may not be exactly on your obligation year anniversary; it may fall a bit later for a number of operational reasons. Depending on your warfare specialty, the payback clock may start after requisite training.

    Generally, the Service lets you go as requested if service obligation has been met. If, however, certain exigent circumstances exist, you can be involuntarily retained. Much depends on whether the type of commission you obtain is, say, USN or USNR. This is a very simplistic explanation, but someone with a Regular commission may continue to serve after their obligated service period ends and if their performance is satisfactory, unless the Service forces them out for manpower numbers management reasons. Those with Regular commissions may not be released when requested if the Service requires then. Someone with a Reserve commission might like to stay past their obligated service date, but the Service may choose to release them and not issue additional orders. These are types of commissions, both held by people on active duty, not to be confused with serving in the Reserves. An officer serving on active duty may submit, after a specified period of time, a request to be "augmented" into the Regular Navy, and their commission type will change from USNR to USN, or it may be offered to them at some point. I received a letter at the two year point, saying I was being augmented due to superior performance, unless I wished to decline in writing.

    SA grads receive Regular commissions, though there was a period they did not. Not sure of ROTC or OCS/OTC - the Service changes things up occasionally. What this means is, down the road, a top-performing junior officer with a USNR commission may be released before a mediocre officer with a USN commission, if the Service is cutting end strength. That's getting into advanced "CO's nightmare" territory.

    If you want to be separated before your obligated commitment (two words that give a powerful clue) is up, it can be requested, perhaps on humanitarian discharge grounds, but with little likelihood of being approved, unless it suits your Service's needs. The deal you sign up for is X years of your life in 24/7 service for Y years of education. Occasionally a Service needs to cut some numbers and will allow a certain number to separate before their obligated service is complete; that is always announced very publicly and specifically.

    You will get plenty of briefs on this before officially committing.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2016
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  3. NavyNOLA

    NavyNOLA Member

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    NROTC grads receive active duty USN commissions, vice USNR.
     
  4. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Thanks. I know this has varied over the years, based on manpower analysis needs.
     
  5. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    Pretty similar for AROTC. If going AD, on the day you commission, it will be a reserve commission. The day you leave to start BOLC is when you'll switch. You won't see a difference as your commission certificate will say regular army, but I believe it's a legality thing as the time between commissioning and starting AD, it's reserve. I've got two oaths of office in my file, one from the day I commissioned and one from when I started AD.

    As for leaving the service during your obligation, it probably won't be voluntarily. I've seen it twice in my unit and both LT's were forced out, for good reason, and given an amount of how much they owed USMA. It was a calculated amount based upon how much time they had served, but even after multiple years of service it was upwards of $30,000.
     
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  6. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    There's a story in that statement somewhere.
     
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  7. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    And another story there I'm sure.
     
  8. Newguy225

    Newguy225 New Member

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    Thanks for all the info. So, if I were sent to like 12 months of training after commissioning, would that be part of the commitment or would it begin afterwards? Seems a little crazy that it would begin afterwards, seeing as I would be a commissioned officer and could be done with as they saw fit, and I was only waiting for a certain specialty's training
     
  9. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Since you said NROTC I will answer this from a Navy perspective. Yes and no. Your commitment starts when you report for your first training or tour. So it could be reporting to your ship, Nuke school for subs or school for Intel. If you go pilot or NFO the answer is no. For pilot or NFO your commitment does not start until you receive your wings. The commitment as a pilot is 8 years currently. So by the time you wing and then serve your minimum you are around the 10 year mark.
     

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