What is OCS?

Discussion in 'OTS/OCS/PLC' started by 2017KNR, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. 2017KNR

    2017KNR Member

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    Can anyone explain and give a run down of OCS and how it works? I am not very aware of the process, so please start from the basics.

    I am a college freshman at a major university double-majoring in International Studies (Security and Intelligence) and Criminology as well as minoring in Chinese language. I have reapplied to the USNA and for the NROTC scholarship at my school, but if that does not work out, I still want to become a Naval Officer.

    How do you get into OCS? Do you just say you want to do it, and hey, if you complete it - you're a Naval Officer? Or is there a more formal application process?
    If it is an application process, what kind of things are they looking for in their "ideal applicant"?
    How does it compare with the SAs and ROTC?
    Are there any expenses/benefits/advantages/disadvantages from doing the program?

    Any other information you guys feel necessary that I should know will be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. khergan

    khergan Member

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    I'm not a Navy guy, but I'll tell you what OCS is in the Army - it should be pretty similar.

    OCS is Officer Candidate School - it's where you get pre-selected to go through a course to determine whether you have what it takes to be commissioned as an officer.

    To be eligible to attend OCS, you already need a 4 year (bachelors) degree, among other service-specific requirements, such as time in grade, time in service, etc. Usually they will have a maximum age, as they want you to be able to serve for some time as an officer and not use OCS as a way to boost your retirement pay.

    OCS is an intensive 16-week course where enlisted folks get a crash course in being an officer. This involves officership, drill & ceremony, pt, field exercises, etc. It's not a laid-back environment; while the service academies and ROTC aren't laid-back per se, they also don't have the level of intensity that OCS does because they have four years to train you, whereas OCS does it in four months.

    Bottom line is - OCS is a route to become a commissioned officer as an Enlisted person. Usually, it is for people who have 1) been earning their degree as they work or 2) came in the service with their degree. Understand that OCS is highly competitive, and is become more so as the services shrink due to budget constraints. Army ROTC has greatly reduced the number of slots that it is taking, making it far more competitive. I'm willing to bet the naval OCS is in a very similar position.

    If you are concerned about not receiving a scholarship and are otherwise qualified, I would go non-scholarship ROTC contract and make it work. OCS is not a guarantee and is becoming harder to get every year. Earn your degree and commission - it's worth it even if you incur some student loan debt.
     
  3. CadetMom777

    CadetMom777 Member

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    I attended OCS for the Navy 20 years ago to receive my commission. I can only speak to what it was then, but it could very well have changed from that time.

    Naval OCS is for anyone with a college degree to become an officer, as opposed to the answer above for Army which sounds like it is only available to prior enlisted.

    It is an intensive 16 week course conducted in Newport, Rhode Island. You spend the first week in a "boot camp" type program doing lots of marching drills, getting yelled at and not getting much sleep. It is conducted by the senior officer training candidates who have been there for 8 weeks already.

    You then become a "junior" candidate and spend your days doing naval science classes (all the ones you would have taken your freshman and sophomore years of ROTC), pt, ceremonies, outfit and battalion meetings, etc. Your second eight weeks, you become a "senior" candidate and can earn leadership roles within the program such as commanding officer of your outfit. You then take naval science classes equivalent to your junior and senior year of ROTC.

    If you complete all of that successfully, you are commissioned at the end of the 16 weeks as an ensign and are then given orders to your next assignment based on the designator you receive.
     
  4. terp1984

    terp1984 Member

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    Why did you not walk on as a college programmer nrotc? IMHO you are more likely to get a comission thru nrotc than OCS. As other posters have mentioned it is very competitve to get into and each year has a variable number of openings. On the positive side when you are accepted into OCS they give you a service assignment before you start training. I would go right to the CO of the unit at your school and see if you can walk on this semester and later try for an in college scholarship or advanced standing. Worst case scenario is you don't get a scholarship or advanced standing but if you performed very highly you would have a nice recomendation from the CO for your OCS application. If you want to change you Chinese minor to a major you scholarship chances would go up considerably. To get the best info on OCS talk to an officer recruiter. What do you need-good GPA, ASTB scores, recs., interview. The OCS program is used to backfill the shortfall of officers not filled from the academy or nrotc.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Our friend's DS was just selected for OCS (AF). Took the oath last week.

    I know each branch is different, but here's their path.

    He did not do ROTC in college, he will graduate May 2013. In June 2012 he went to a recruiter, and submitted his package for OCS with career field desires. They submitted that to the OCS board. Sept. he was informed he was selected and will go next July to OCS, after he graduates.

    He didn't get his #1 career field, and he was allowed time to decide to accept or decline the the slot, offered CSO not pilot. If he declined it he could not apply again for the next board. It was an all or nothing situation.

    He accepted the slot, and last week he took the oath as a sr. in college. He will not get any bennies, stipends, etc., like a ROTC student his SR. yr. He just knows come July he will go to Maxwell for training.

    As far as advantages, each branch has long term personnel planning. SA and ROTC allows them to gauge 4 yrs from now. If they meet their manpower needs, OCS can be slowed down.

    EX: In 2011 AF cancelled their OCS rated board for July. They hold 2 different boards 2x a yr. Rated and non-rated. Non-rated met in July, rated didn't.

    Candidates that are unsure of doing ROTC and were banking on OCS, were up the creek if they wanted to fly for that board.

    Think of OCS as a stop gap filler. Each branch knows how many are in the pipeline for your commissioning yr group. If they have enough than the need for OCS is less, if they don't than the need is higher.
     
  6. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Not quite sure where you got this idea, OCS is not just a commissioning tool for the enlisted.

    Army OCS is open to civilian college graduates, your correct that the competition is getting harder but the option does exist.
     
  7. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    The OP did not sign up for NROTC as a college Programmer because he has reapplied for the NROTC Scholarship. To reapply you can not enroll in NROTC, if he does not receive an appointment to the USNA or receive a scholarship then he would have the option to join NROTC on campus if accepred.
     
  8. Sheaks_11

    Sheaks_11 New Member

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    What about ROTC
     
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    The OP is currently at the USNA. That's the problem with reviving a thread over 15 months old when responding to the OP. They have either moved on or left the site, basically it is a moot point for them regarding guidance. It is still a valuable tool of information for those that are researching the question.

    Have a great day.
     

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