USAFA, USNA Candidate '25
May 14, 2020
Posting this in USNA as recommended by usna1985...

I'm well aware that if I attend USNA, it is very hard to land a slot in intel when you initially commission. However, I came across that there are Option programs where you serve X amount of time as a SWO and then automatically transfer to another area such as Intel or IP. I'm a bit confused on how the service obligation works for that. Is it easier to join IP or Intel by going this way? Approximately, how many USNA grads take this path since when they release career choices, they don't show any who took the SWO Option. Thanks!

A6E Dad

Jun 30, 2016
All the SWO (Option) combined is only around 25 per year. SWO (Intel) is very small, usually only 3 or so per year, sometimes only 1.

The others are EDO, Ocean, IP, CW, Intel. EDO is the biggest at around 14 per year. The others are anywhere from 1 to 4 per year, varies year to year.

SWO (nuke) is it's own category, which accounts for around 40 per year.

Capt MJ

Ancient Mariner
10-Year Member
Sep 27, 2008
Later on, during the junior officer years, there are opportunities to apply - competitively - for a lateral transfer and re-designation from one officer community to another. Those boards meet once or twice a year. The selections will always depend on the needs of the Navy.

The SWO community is usually considered the most convenient warfare community, because new officers proceed directly to the ship and do not have a multi-year initial training program, as aviation, submarines, EOD, etc., do. The successful transferee will have earned their warfare pin, has top-notch officer fitness reports, and a resounding water-walker endorsement from the CO. If the SWO community has the flexibility to lose end strength from that year group, and the gaining community has room in their end strength in that year group, and the candidate has an outstanding application package, the stars could align. The window to do this is just a few years, otherwise, it’s too late in the career path to make a switch.