Enlisted Warfare Qualifications: A Mandatory Requirement

Story Number: NNS100810-08Release Date: 8/10/2010 6:15:00 PM
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By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Sonya Ansarov, Office of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Initial enlisted warfare qualifications are now mandatory for all Sailors per the recent release of NAVADMIN 268-10.

The NAVADMIN announces the release of OPNAVINST 1414.9, Navy Enlisted Warfare Qualification Programs Instruction, which issues the basic overarching requirements for the qualification and designation of all enlisted warfare programs.

The arduous and often unforgiving environment we operate in as a Navy and Sailor dictates the need for all personnel to have a basic understanding and operating knowledge of the platform or command to which they are assigned.

Warfare programs are essential in ensuring our Sailors understand and are able to effectively engage a casualty, operate equipment or platforms safely and ensure backup as needed. Warfare qualifications are about ship, shipmate and self, and ensure the safety and safe operation of each command and platform on a daily basis.

"It's a standard every Sailor must achieve. The warfare device itself is a symbol that the Sailors who are wearing it have a basic level of knowledge to ensure they are capable of fighting the ship, saving a shipmate and ensuring the safety of themselves at all times," said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON), Rick D. West. "Having every Sailor at or working toward that level will only strengthen the war-fighting ability of that command and the Navy."

According to the NAVADMIN, qualification and/or re-qualification is mandatory for all enlisted Sailors assigned to designated warfare qualifying commands.

Warfare sponsors (Type Commanders) will establish specific qualification and re-qualifying timelines however, the maximum allowable time for initial qualification of all enlisted Sailors assigned to designated warfare qualifying commands will not exceed 30 months. Timelines for warfare qualifications are set by the Type Commander's instructions and each TYCOM will have oversight of their programs.

According to West, some of the biggest questions he hears from Sailors are:

- What happens if a Sailor doesn't qualify in time? West stated that failure to qualify in the specific warfare program within the prescribed time requirements shall immediately result in a special performance evaluation that removes promotion recommendation, but the promotion recommendation may be restored with a special performance evaluation when qualification is achieved.

- Will a Sailor be penalized if their command doesn't offer the opportunity for warfare qualification? According to West, Sailors without the opportunity to qualify in a warfare specialty will not be penalized. However Sailors should look for follow-on opportunities to obtain a warfare device when able.

- Will having mandatory qualifications water down the existing programs? West stated, quite the contrary; by mandating warfare qualifications for all enlisted personnel, it will significantly "raise the bar" across the command regarding level of knowledge of the command and the systems our Sailors operate. It is incumbent on those that wear the warfare pin of the command to ensure the integrity and strength of the existing programs.

- How will Sailors stand-out amongst peers if everyone is required to have a warfare pin? According to West, Sailors stand out every day. Performance and the Sailor's overall command support should be the biggest factors to "break out" individuals.

"I often highlight efficient manning and future platforms such as LCS as examples of the need to ensuring our Sailors have a good, basic understanding of the systems and fighting capabilities of the command to which they are assigned," said West.

For more information see NAVADMIN 268-10.

For more news from Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, visit www.navy.mil/local/mcpon/.

8/26/2010 2:22:00 AM
I came in in 93 earned both of my pins as a non desiganted Fireman.I worked my but off for 11 months. You know why because I had drive and motivation to be better than the rest.I did it not to just have 1st classes and CPO's say hey look that guy has and ESWS or EAWS pins I did it becasue I knew it would open doors to my career and it would give me extra points on my test.Long story short I made 1st class because of those damn pins I worked my butt off for. Make it mando but make tougher!!!

8/23/2010 6:54:00 PM
I think the madatory special warfare qual is a BIG JOKE. If every one has the pin it don't mean as much. They took away reasons why to get it. The main reason it being worth points towards advancement exam. With the job that i do, the EAWS does not help me do my job better. Just one more thing for the navy to say, dance monkey dance. The Navy needs to take some lessons from th AIR FORCE.

8/23/2010 3:07:00 PM
First off, if any commands warfare program lacks the challenge and integrity to make it a worthwhile achievement than it is the command that has failed, not the program. Second, for Sailor's that have no desire to achieve his/her warfare qualification; itís time to get out. Today's Navy has no room for underachievers or non-performers. Many special communities have had this requirement in place for some time and it works. We only need and want the best of the best. Which are you?

8/23/2010 3:04:00 PM
"Performance and the Sailor's overall command support should be the biggest factors to "break out" individuals" Your own words tell of what sailors have known all these years. It's not what you know but who you know. I agree with the folks that this idea takes away the personal pride and accomplishment of achieving a warfare qual. Now it means just another PQS qual you have to get like damage control. I got mine because I had to but it doesn't shine as well as others who didn't have to.

8/23/2010 6:53:00 AM
MCPON, i really just have a couple of questions. Define mandatory? If a sailor already has one or more Pins would that person be required to complete the third or fourth? I currently hold ESWS and EAWS, would i then be required, if i went to an Intel command or NECC, to complete the IDW and EXW? There is alot of confusion at my command about this.

8/22/2010 10:54:00 PM
In 1960 NMCB 1 was sent to Camp Lejune for combat infantry training for six weeks. At the time we were the first battalion so trained since the end of the Korean War. At the time all we received was a record of our training in our records. There were no devices awarded at the end of the training and the Navy said none was needed or would be awarded.

8/22/2010 6:55:00 PM
Making them all mandatory will mean that even the dirtbags will have them. Think of it this way: Making them mandatory would mean EVERYONE will eventually get them, including the dirtbags and the guys who just pull their own weight, don't look for anything extra, etc. How motivating a program would it be if they were just embroidered into the shirts when you bought them at the PX? Sounds silly, but that's just one step away from making them "mandatory" for all sailors.

8/20/2010 3:10:00 PM
Good idea, this will help push our troops toward more small unit leadership and to look out for their troops. I have been fed up with our young troops just getting by, it is time that they know more about their jobs and the mission of their community. Yes this will be more of a burden on them, but it will only make them stronger. For the fellow CPO's out their, remember what you learned about yourself with more of a burden. Support it and make it happen.

8/20/2010 1:51:00 PM
How are you addressing the FTS community? Will FTS slots be alloted in the Naval Schools and if so, How will we be notified of those openings?

8/20/2010 11:06:00 AM
Onboard a ship it is up to the CPO mess to ensure a proper EAWS/ESWS program is in place and upheld to a high standard. It a shipboard qualification program is broke, then the Chiefs need to fix and maintain it!

8/17/2010 3:11:00 AM
I served from 1982-2003. Under my own steam, I earned Air and Surface Warfare Specialist Designations on consecutive cruises aboard U.S.S. Ranger(CV-61) as a Second Class Petty Officer. That was fairly rare in 1991, and I was proud to wear the insignia. Over the years I saw several decorations get watered down, especially the NAM. Now I see these designations watered down by making them mandatory. That being said, I'm sure the best Sailors will find ways to stand out.

8/16/2010 7:33:00 PM
You know, you 'old timers' need to get off the band wagon. This is Today's Navy, not Yesterdays. Agree or disagree, this is what the MCPON has decided he wants done; Submariners have had their 'warfare' qualification longer than anyone else. They've made it mandatory for everyone. Yeah, BTCM, they've had the same guys get their dolphins as you've seen get the cutlasses. Still, they've made it mandatory for everyone and so should the rest of the Navy. Stop whining, anchor up and get on board!

8/16/2010 9:50:00 AM
Speaking Aviation (EAWS) only - as that is what I was in. The need I think is vital, it helps the sailor understand his role and the role of his command in operations, from peacetime to combat and also how other platforms fit in. It completes the picture for a sailor and enables him to know why the command is chasing a certain objective, and thus assures him that they are not just jumping through hoops. LCDR, 6330, USN Ret.

8/13/2010 2:49:00 PM
Well the Surface/Air fleets have had females in our fleets for years, why are the submariners complaining about it? I completely agree with MCPON on this, you must qualify in your designator to become an efficient player in the fleet as a whole. The old timers are disagreeing and claim they already know it all why should I get it? Well if you know it all it shouldnt be hard for you to take the test and pass the board to qualify. I did it as an E-4. Have some Pride in your Community!!!! Go Navy!

8/13/2010 2:28:00 PM
If the MCPON was serious about caring for the sailors anfd the program he would implement a warfare education program that all sailors must attend during or right after boot camp. It would result in the needed warfare qualification for the sailor whether it is surface, air blu nose etc. the enlisted sailor should go to the fleet with the qualification. Then depending on the ship the ship should ensure that the sailor is entered into a specific ship qualification that appends to the initil qual.

8/13/2010 1:09:00 PM
This seems like another back handed way of separating sailors, fleet isn't small enough yet. I think another poster pointed out that someone can get back to back Significant Problems evaluations pretty quickly, and a recent NAVADMIN pointed out that these folks need to go. There are a lot of good sailors who are on Ships who haven't felt the need to get qualified. I've pushed the pin but it doesn't always sink in. Seems like we're going to leave the fleet short handed again.

8/13/2010 11:09:00 AM
Really Shipmates! I cannot believe some of the posts I read above. All the talk of gundecking and the program not being taken seriously? It is up to each command to get onboard with the program. Become part of the solution, or you have no right to gripe. Those who are qualified should take ownership, and hold those trying to get qualified to the same standards. If Sailors dont take it seriously, dont qualify them, and they lose advancement opportunity. There will be break outs!

8/13/2010 10:01:00 AM
I think ESWS should be mandatory for E-4 and above. E-3 and below are still learning the deckplates of any command and these early months are the most impressionable for these young men and women. Why make it more of a burden for them to have to worry about an ESWS/EAWS/SCW program when they should be focused on their divisional/departmental quals and learning their new job description. I think you will see you have put too much on their plate and it will become overwhelming in my opinion.

8/13/2010 9:18:00 AM
In the Submarine community, we are required to complete our warfare quals within 10 months along side of divisional, department and watch quals. Us submariners have been doing this for years. Why is the surface community complaining about it being too much work to do the same thing. It's called multi-tasking and time management. Laziness is not needed in the Navy, and without the mandatory warfare quals it will continue. We should be more strict on those who choose to skate by.

8/13/2010 3:58:00 AM
Master Chief you know as well as I do,like command PFA failure percantages affect a CO's FITREP, so this will also, and with the pressure that will ensue from the COC about having 100% of their sailors warefare qualified, what integrity still exists in these programs will be further deminished. What you propose is ideal, but unrealistic. Granted I believe every sailor should be warefare qualified, but I do not agree with starting that clock before the sailor has achieved E-5.

8/12/2010 8:58:00 PM
MANDO ESWS.. I can't believe it!! Getting your pin should be the Sailor's choice! The program is going to become a joke especially for those Sailors who have/had no desire to get their pin in the first place! They are not going to take it serious and do whatever it takes to get the pin to include "gundecking"!!

8/12/2010 7:35:00 PM
I believe the current requirement was for all E-5 and above to have the ESWS pin. I say stick with that. While I was an E-3 and junior E-4 I was just trying to get my basic quals done. When I was completed with those quals, I earned my ESWS pin as a QM3 because I wanted to. Earning that pin and getting pinned was the proudest moment in my Navy career. I feel requiring all sailors to get the pin will overwhelm many young sailors. A sailor needs to mature before tackling the ESWS qualification.

8/12/2010 3:56:00 PM
I think having warfare are essential to the navy. Being with the Marines as a corpsman wasn't very easy to study for the qualification, but it felt sooooo good when I was finished. Warfare Pins aren't handed out. If they are, then it will show when questions on Warfare Quals are on advancement exams. I think it's a great idea. Now we can truly distinguish between those that get by and the true motivators that belong in today's navy. HM2(FMF) in Washington

8/12/2010 3:41:00 PM
Personally, I think its a great idea. It has always been mandatory to get your subsurface pin within a required timeframe at the same time stay on top of your department and divisional quals. The comments from the salty dogs who think this is a bad idea is a direct reflection of your work ethic and leadership ability.

8/12/2010 12:45:00 PM
Being highly qualified and earning every pin the hard way, I believe making pins mandatory is detrimental to unit esprit de corps. It is a great source of pride and bragging rights to wear pins when you earn them. Making them just another mando qual is only inviting short cuts and personnel getting them for the wrong reasons. I think Chiefs and LPOs should carry the burden of motivating people to get them, not the entire command. Personnel should have the choice to distinguish themselves.

8/12/2010 11:51:00 AM
This is long overdue. Today's Sailors have a window of opportunity to learn to fight a ship to the same degree of detail of past generations of Suface Warriors. For the past 10 years, this qualification and pre-reqs have been pencil whipped and based only on flashcard knowledge. We now have the time to ensure they are qualified from the most basic level. Very happy to see this change, especially in the carrier community. MCC(SW/AW) Joel Huval Suface Warrior since 1999.

8/12/2010 11:06:00 AM
I absolutely support the idea of the warfare device becoming manditory for all of our sailors. This will give every sailor a better idea of what happens ship wide not just in their respective division's or departments. The only question I have is this. With using a special evaluation on a member how do we avoid changing a member's overal Evaluation average. Adding 2 new evaluations could have huge career impact. i.e. Sialor has 2EP and 1 MP now if u add 2 new MP they have a 3.8 PMA vise 3.93.

8/12/2010 8:19:00 AM
This can be a good idea if looked at right. If this is mandatory like in the sub/FMF community then this should be a part of damage control because that is ultimately what the submarine and FMF community rely on to save everyones lives onboard the sub or in the field. So it should be incorporated into the Damage control pqs and to fully qualify as basic dc this must be attained. That way you preserve the integrity of the program and adequately save lives without losing face or integrity.

8/12/2010 2:39:00 AM
A lot of good comments. To be a 21st Century Sailor you must meet the minimum standards of the 21st Century. Learn your job, earn your qualifications, stay physically fit, and raise a family. Mandatory qualifications are long overdue.

8/12/2010 1:39:00 AM
I believe that mandating the quals will take away the pride in wearing the pin. As a Seabee we go through the process because we want to go above and beyond, be the best, and maintain that "Can Do" spirit. When we pass the SCWS we show that we take our career serious and want to show others that we have pride in ourselves and our Navy CM1 Spang.

8/11/2010 11:57:00 PM
I would have to agree with the IT2/JDP when he said that the warfare pins are being given away and gun decked. And the senior leadership is allowing for this to happen. When I was signing PQS and common core for my Seabees some of them were appalled that I actually made them answer the questions and would not sign until they could prove to me they knew the information. I have seen someone go over to Iraq and get the EAWS pin in just 2 weeks, how is that even possible. Just another gimme.

8/11/2010 6:44:00 PM
Sorry, MCPON, but this is a load of #### Requiring warfare quals for enlisted is not a good idea. lets face it alot of sailors are more focus on qualifications and getting there dept quals and job done. when you force them to get the pin its more of demanding of something then going out and getting it for a good reason..pride and comfort you earned ...not a demanding issue to the next rank or position. enlisted below the rank of E-3 was not allowed...now your saying its ok for them to wear it.

8/11/2010 4:58:00 PM
From 1978 to 1981, I was based at COMNAVSURFPAC (Coronado). I had been selected for E8 and was soon to retire. A year or so after the program started, some of us CPOs were offered the opportunity to grandfather as ESWS, despite the rule about shipboard status. I saw no benefit to this paperwork drill, so I took a pass. The pin was a geedunk at that time, being optional and having no promotion significance. Since then, it's been a moving target -- ever-changing requirements. What next?!?

8/11/2010 2:26:00 PM
As Corpsman stationed with Marines, we all E-1 thru E-9 are required to get our FMF warfare and it has been that way for a while. I am glad that the rest of the Navy has finally caught up.

8/11/2010 2:09:00 PM
This is just another brick being thrown without any thought of the damage it will cause. I am currently stationed on a very Large Deck ship, and I have seen the worst of this "so called warfare" being exploited by the entire chain of command. I qualified AW on this ship and it was nothing. I spent less than 30 days getting it. I know of several shipmates who received it under 2 weeks! so lets step it back in time, in 2001 I received my SW on an LPD took 6 months. New Navy just giving it away.

8/11/2010 1:27:00 PM
I agree AND disagree with this...after years of being on the ship and my Navy Career ending, I took it upon myself to get my ESWS pin ON MY OWN! With nobody making me get it! When I spent MANY hours learning and getting signatures because I wanted to, it made it that much more rewarding! I disagree with this decision because EVERYONE will have a pin, and EVERYONE will be looked at in the same light. I agree with it because it will get all those lazy people up and doing something for themselves!

8/11/2010 10:27:00 AM
I think it's a waste of time to make it mando. I saw alot of people get by cause of who they knew and what they could do for them. The navy is all about what can I get out of this situation. I earned my ESWS on a DDG. The boards were pretty tough. But as I moved on from that ship to other commands, I saw it first hand. And it seems the higher you are in rank the better the gun decking you get.

8/11/2010 10:09:00 AM
This will be no better than the "PQS" required for in rate qualifications which most of the time are gun decked. I have a feeling the training will become a memory dump after the board. If you don't believe me ask anyone who was recently qualified a question about their ESWS or EAWS core or specific. Most I would hope would take it seriously but the last board I sat on I voted not to qualify but the Chief recommended pass because they were transferring which was unsat.

8/11/2010 9:44:00 AM
This has been long coming; however, how will this be passed on to the reservist that only has two weeks at the NOSC and two weeks at the remote location? Is there a training plan to transition this mandatory requirement to the reserve fleet?

8/11/2010 7:33:00 AM
When I arrived aboard my disel submarine, the warfare pin (dolphins) was NOT an option. A working knowledge of the boat was demanded by the command structure and a number of privileges could not be earned or maintained without your qual card being kept up to date. I feel that the warfare pin being a mandatory requirement is not a bad idea. The thing that my son (current serving) tells me he feels that the warfare pin requirements have to be meshed into the individual sailors training plan so that the two can be working together. I understand the difference between the honor of wearing a pin because you went and got it and earning it because chief is riding your butt to get the signatures. I also understand the concept that if everybody has one, how is it special. What I did learn firsthand is that in the submarine service everyone having dolphins did not detract from the pride of getting them on your chest.

8/10/2010 7:36:00 PM
From the time I made CPO, and actually quite before that, I saw men who weren't worth a darn at their primary job specialty, who shouldn't have been promoted, earn the ESWS pin, and automatically it's assumed they're superstars. I saw first-hand the BS the "pin" was worth, and I made a conscious decision to NOT attain it, in spite of quite a lot of command pressures. I focused on doing my job, and let the other guy focus on doing his. Do that, and things will work out.

8/10/2010 7:32:00 PM
Sorry, MCPON, but this is a load of #### Requiring warfare quals for enlisted is an ignorant idea. It's a good idea for line officers, since they may be assigned to any position on the ship, and should have the requisite knowledge to function in their respective DivO/DH roles. The same does not hold true for enlisted. Each enlisted man above the rank of E-3 has their respective rating, which they are required to know in depth to advance. I'll elaborate in the next post.

8/10/2010 7:21:00 PM
MCPON and I (and apparently) the brass disagree on the mandatory party of the qualification. I guess I am old school and I feel the pin is worn with more pride when you earn it because you want to earn it, not because you are made to. I drove people crazy getting qualified signatures in my book. I qualified after a 4 hour board and couldn't even wear my pin because I was still an E-3 and not authorized to wear it at that time. I only hope our sailors and fleet are better off for this move!

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Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick West pins a submarine warfare qualification insignia on Machinist's Mate Seaman Shannon Coon.
090911-N-0803S-017 BAHRAIN (Sept. 11, 2009) Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick West pins a submarine warfare qualification insignia on Machinist's Mate Seaman Shannon Coon during a visit aboard the Los angeles-class attack submarine USS Topeka (SSN 754). West is visiting the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nathan Schaeffer/Released)
September 11, 2009
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