USNA Career Percentages


Jun 15, 2006
While scanning the CC site today for the first time, I came upon a thread discussing USNA "reenlistments". Officers do not reenlist. They serve at the mercy of the President and after a given amount of time (up to 8 years after winging, for aviators, given the type of platform) are eligible to put in their letters of resignation. The fact that the majority of US Naval Officers were not Academy grads was the main thrust of the thread. As of today, 17% of unrestricted line Ensigns are Academy grads. Several years ago, when I was active duty, 2/3 of flag officers were Academy grads. I think it has probably dropped off somewhat, but well above half of the flag officers today are USNA grads. Bottom line: the longer you stay in the Navy, the better the odds that the person you are saluting graduated from the Academy. The Academy does, as a whole, produce better officers.
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Good info.

Still, can anyone shed any light on what % of USNA grads choose not to resign their commissions after fulfilling their initial obligation? What % remain on active duty?
Whistle, Sorry I can't help you on this. The eligibility date for resignation is kind of a non issue. It's not like an enlistment which you either have to reenlist or go home. Most surface and sub type are probably on shore duty, many who will stay through shore duty and not accept follow-on orders. About 60% of my class was career. Now, I don't know. During the '90s, with the fall of the evil Red menace, the Navy downsized 20,000 officers and retention was the last of their concerns and some JOs were being treated rather shabbily. My guess is that aviation is between 50%-60% and that surface/subs is between 40% and 50% with the aviators being in the middle to high end of the spread and the surface on the lower end. Subs, I don't know. Sorry, I can't be more specific but with the "rolling" resignation eligible dates due to schools, career paths, etc. I'm not sure if Bupers even knows. I hope someone can prove me wrong or be more specific on this. It's a good question.
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As always, thanks for shedding light on a question of interest. I'd imagine this must be known. The CG touts this figure for prospects ... I believe they said about 85% continue beyond their initial obligation. I assume the unspoken message there is that there is a high degree of professional satisfaction among the Coasties?

Again thanks for helpful info.

GO NAVY! WHOOP THEM MULES!! ( or is that "KICK [bleep]) ;-)

P.S. btw, my bio course on animal husbandry fails me, but aren't mules sterile? :0
60% was the current figure provided of recent (no time frame given) USNA graduates that continue their service beyond their initial commitment during the brief given to parents at last weekend's CVW.
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The numbers really depend on the timeframe you're evaluating.

One factor affecting retention in the 90s was forced downsizing. Many junior officers -- and especially in certain warfare specialities -- were offered big bonuses to leave in the 1990s. Thus, many who might otherwise have stayed, left or at least left earlier than they had originally planned. Today, things like the ongoing war, long and frequent deployments, and a strong civilian job sector can also affect the numbers.

There are several major points in a career when people tend to leave. The first is after initial service obligation (5 yrs for some, longer for others) or, as USNA69 says, right after their first shore tour (6-8 yrs in). The second time comes around the 10 yr point. Most people, if they stay more than 10 yrs, will stay 20.

Some do get out b/t 10 and 20 for a variety of reasons (great civilian job opportunity; family issues; failing to promote, etc.). Many get out at 20 b/c that's when retirement benefits vest and they're still young enough to start a new career. Those who stay past 20 either think they're in the running for Flag rank or aren't but just love the military (like my dad) and stick it out as an O-6 for as long as feasible.

My father once told me that some folks you "are sure" will be gone after their initial service obligation go on to make admiral and some you think are "lifers" are gone in 5 yrs. When I look only at my class & company, he was right (at least about staying in; don't know about Flag rank yet).
While anecdotal, I've recently talked with a HS friend who's a general in the USAF. He went in to avoid being "drafted" in Nam times. Went into the AF because the rumor was they'd get out more quickly. He laughs now. But seems to fit your profile, 1985. Btw, absolutely the LAST one of our bunch one would ever imagine as THE GENERAL! :rolleyes:

On distinct but similar note, and I'll not have the figures correct, I noted in one illustration somewhere on the USNA site, a 1960s USNA class had something like 30+ or - admirals. I was surprised there were so many. Any perspective on this?
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