Appointments and LOAs


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Jun 12, 2008
I may be writing the obvious here but as a BGO reading many of the threads in this forum from some candidates, I wanted to post some guidance regarding appointments and LOAs.

To be fully qualified for an appointment, a candidate must:
  • Have an official nomination
  • Be found scholastically and medically qualified
  • Meet the qualifying standards for the Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA)
Appointments are formally made by the Superintendent of the Naval Academy in the name of the President to fully qualified candidates who are in line to fill the vacancies for which nominated. Candidates with outstanding qualifications may be offered letters of assurance (LOA). An LOA is a statement that a candidate is highly qualified scholastically but please remember...a full offer of appointment follows an LOA only if a candidate completes all remaining requirements:
  • An official nomination
  • Medical qualification
  • Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA)
  • Blue & Gold Officer interview
About 40% of the total offers of appointment will be made by mid-January. The remaining candidates selected for appointment will normally be notified by mid-April.

Some reflections on this guidance pulled directly from the our BGO information system:
  • Even with an nomination, no appointment. I deduce (maybe incorrectly) that some candidates believe there are secret LOA nominations held in reserve by an entity at the Naval Academy. They ain't no nominations thar. Formal nominations are made by official nomination sources. The Superintendent of the Naval Academy is not an official nomination source.
  • Got an LOA and run the CFA mile in 7 1/2 minutes? I hope you got your civilian college applications in. A midshipman runs a mile at a six-minute pace on average. Even the slowest rugby player is gonna lap you.
The Superintendent of the Naval Academy is not an official nomination source.

According to US Code Title 10:
The Superintendent of the Naval Academy may nominate for appointment each year 50 persons from the country at large. Persons nominated under this paragraph may not displace any appointment authorized under clauses (2) through (9) of subsection (a) and may not cause the total strength of midshipmen at the Naval Academy to exceed the authorized number.
Clauses 2 through 9 under subsection (a) are those that include nominations from the vice president, Congressional, DC and US territories.

That being said, I completely, wholeheartedly and emphatically agree that NO candidate with an LOA should ever assume they will get an appointment without actively seeking a nomination.

While I know of 2 candidates with LOA's (one personally) whose congressman refused to give them a nomination - because they had an LOA - who did receive appointments, I have never heard of one who gets an LOA, and does not get an appointment for lack of a nomination. Not saying it never happened though.
Very good discussion, I have bookmarked your reference for future use. CGO does not advertise these 50 nominations from the Superintendent. I have pinged CGO to see why this is the case and will post the response.
Honestly, they probably shouldn't "advertise" it. It is only a maximum of 50 - out of about 1300-1400 total appointments it is only a maximum of 4%. This is a very low number and the danger is many candidates will be lured into a false sense of security.

Sometimes, however, through no fault of their own a candidate will not get a nomination. It happens but I would think very rarely.
A couple of points (and clarifications of contradictory info)

LOAs go to highly qualified candidates (especially top athletes who are also good academically.) The LOA is an ASSURANCE that IF the candidate gets a nomination - the candidate WILL be accepted into the Academy. The LOA is a way of telling a candidate - who then can tell his/her Congressman/Senator that a nomination from them won't be wasted - but will result in the candidate getting into the Academy. (Note that in some areas, Congressmen somethings have a hard time finding qualified candidates. Sometimes their list might have no eligible candidates!)

The Superintendent manages PRESIDENTIAL nominations. Up to 100 appointments are offered to sons/daughters who have a parent serving in the military (active/reserve) with sufficient service time, or the parent is retired (or retirement eligible) in either Active or Reserves. (Note that it must be a legal parent - so a step father who hasn't adopted the the candidate wouldn't be sufficient to get the candidate a nomination.
Typically, there are about 500 - 600 candidates who are eligible for a Presidential nomination.
I traded emails with CGO last week and here is what I found out.

  • The Superintendent does have 50 nominations and is an official nominating source. These are used at the discretion of the Supe.
  • These 50 nominations are not advertised because they are not nominations candidates can apply for during the admissions cycle.
  • I was not given specifics on how these nominations are used and will avoid getting in trouble and not speculate. I will reiterate they are used at the discretion of the Superintendent.
Learned something new this week. :rolleyes: