1.0    Introduction

This article provides an overview of United States (US) Navy Limited Duty Officer/Chief Warrant Officer (LDO/CWO) Programme.

The programme of instruction undertaken by officer candidates during LDO/CWO was designed by Navy officers and educators to give candidates a basic working knowledge of the high-tech Navy establishment afloat and ashore.

It prepares candidates to assume responsibilities as Navy Officers/Warrant Officers by pushing them to work to their full potential. LDO/CWO is demanding, both physically and mentally, and only those with a strong desire to become Navy Officers will successfully graduate.

This article is divided into four parts for easier reading. Part One is the background. Part Two describes the training hierarchy, whilst Part Three outlines the training undertaken during LDO/CWO. Part Four provides some useful publications and links, and finally references.

1.1     Aim

The aim of this article is to describe the training process for those seeking to become a commissioned officer in the United States Navy through the Limited Duty Officer/Chief Warrant Officer Programme.

LDO/CWO is one of five officer training programmes offered by the US Navy (Section 2.3).

1.2    What is the Purpose of LDO/CWO?

The purpose of the US Navy’s LDO/CWO programme is to prepare prior senior enlisted Sailors for their new roles in the wardroom.

The programme prepares these newly commissioned officers/warrant officers to become effective leaders by developing fundamental skills in leadership, written and oral communication, career management and administration.

LDO/CWO is extremely demanding both physically and mentally, and is the foundation for the candidate’s success as a member of the US Navy officer corps.

1.3    Who is LDO/CWO for?

LDO/CWO is a 4-week programme of instruction delivered to prior senior enlisted Sailors who are commissioned based on extensive training and experience in their jobs. They are limited to performing their duties within their specific field.


2.0    Introduction

This section of the article outlines the personalities and organisations that have an impact on the training process of US Navy officers during the LDO/CWO programme.

2.1     Naval Education and Training Command

The Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) is an enterprise level shore command of the US Navy that is responsible for the training, education and professional development of active duty and reserve Sailors through accession, continuing education, and advancement training.

The NETC is headquartered at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. It is led by the Commander NETC, a Rear Admiral, Upper Half (OF-7) who is assisted by:

  • Executive Officer: A civilian of the Senior Executive Service.
  • Chief of Staff: A Captain (OF-5).
  • Force Master Chief (FORCM): A Master Chief Petty Officer (OR-9).

2.2     Naval Service Training Command

The Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) is a one-star Echelon III command of the US Navy that is responsible to the Commander NETC for the indoctrination and training of all new accessions into the Naval Service, with the exception of Midshipmen who access through the United States Naval Academy (USNA). This includes:

  • All new recruits through Recruit Training Command;
  • All officer candidates who are seeking a commission through the Officer Training Command; and
  • The various Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) units in colleges and universities across the US.

The NSTC is headquartered at the Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois. It is led by the Commander NSTC, a Rear Admiral, Lower Half (OF-6) who is assisted by:

  • Deputy Commander: a Captain (OF-5).
  • Chief of Staff: A Captain (OF-5).
  • Command Master Chief (CMDCM): A Master Chief Petty Officer (OR-9).

2.3    Officer Training Command

The Officer Training Command Newport (OTCN) is a command of the US Navy responsible to the Commander NSTC for the initial training of naval officers.

The OTCN is located at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island. It is led by the Commanding Officer OTCN, a Captain (OF-5) who is assisted by:

  • Executive Officer OTC Newport: Commander (OF-4).
  • Senior Enlisted Leader: Master Chief Petty Officer (OR-9).
  • Director OCS: Commander (OF-4).
  • Deputy Director OCS:
  • Lead Class Officer OCS:
  • Class Officer: oversee every aspect of class development and is responsible for the safety, training, discipline, integrity, conduct and general performance of assigned students from the reporting date to graduation and commissioning. The Class Officer’s role and involvement is constant, but becomes most critical in the later part of “applied leadership” training.
  • Assistant Class Officer:
  • Class Chief Petty Officer: is detailed as Recruit Division Commander (RDC) qualified (9508 NEC) and are entitled to Special Duty Assignment Pay (SDAP), if assigned to a 9508 NEC billet per EDVR. They function as senior enlisted technical experts and are responsible for the training, administration, good order and discipline and general welfare of assigned students throughout all phases of training.
  • Class Drill Instructor: is assigned to OCS to indoctrinate candidates in basic military procedures including ceremonial drill and physical fitness, and adapt the class to the military lifestyle and intense environment expected during fleet assignment.
  • Section Leader:
  • Academics Instructors: are assigned to the Academics Department and are responsible for delivering all instruction to every school house at OTCN. These include subjects such as: Navigation, Seamanship, Pay and Allowances, Naval Warfare, Engineering, Military Indoctrination, Damage Control, Division Officer Leadership Course and much more. They use their leadership experience to bring real life experience to the material so students get first-hand knowledge of how it is applied in the fleet.

The OTCN offers five officer training programmes, including:

  • Officer Development School (ODS) which provides Staff Corps Officers and several Restricted Line designators with training necessary to prepare them to function in their role as a newly commissioned Naval Officer.
  • Limited Duty Officer/Chief Warrant Officer Programme (LDO/CWO) which is designed to prepare prior senior enlisted Sailors for their new roles in the wardroom per the Navy’s Officer Professional Core Competencies.
  • Naval Science Institute (NSI), aka the Seaman to Admiral 21 Programme (STA-21), which provides a unique officer accession education and training programme. It provides an opportunity for enlisted personnel who possess outstanding qualifications and motivation for a naval career to obtain a commission.

OTCN trains approximately just over 5,000 students/candidates each year on the above courses.

2.4     Naval Station Newport

Naval Station (NAVSTA) Newport is home to approximately 50 US Navy, US Marine Corps, US Coast Guard and US Army Reserve commands and activities.

NAVSTA Newport is the US Navy’s premier site for training officers, officer candidates, senior enlisted personnel and midshipman candidates, as well as testing and evaluating advanced undersea warfare and development systems.

For many years, NAVSTA Newport was Rhode Island’s largest single employer (both in terms of personnel and payroll) and is still the largest single employer in Newport County, and third overall in the state of Rhode Island.


3.0    Introduction

This part of the article outlines the training undertaken by candidates during LDO/CWO.

3.1     Recruit Division Commanders

Within the US Navy, recruit instructors are known as Recruit Division Commanders (RDC’s).

RDC’s are Chief Petty Officers or Senior Petty Officers specially selected for their leadership and teaching abilities. They must attend and successfully graduate from their ‘C’ school in order to train recruits and officers.

“OTC annually graduates more than 2,900 students per year under the instructing guidance of 39 RDCs, Marine Corps drill instructors and technical trainers.” (Thornbloom, 2019).

3.2     Outline of Training Syllabus

LDO/CWO is currently 4-weeks in duration and candidates are accommodated in King Hall (Building 291). Below is an incomplete outline of the LDO/CWO training syllabus.

During their 4-week course, candidates will receive instruction in the following topics:

  • Introduction.
  • Health and Wellness.
  • Service Etiquette and Officer Uniforms.
  • US Naval History.
  • Oral Communications.
  • Responsibilities of a Naval Officer.
  • Leadership and Ethics.
  • Written Communications.
  • Officer Administration and Career Development.
  • U.S. Navy Organisation and Defence Strategy.

Those requiring Second Class Swim Qualification will have the opportunity to obtain it while at OCTN.

Other elements or training evolutions to note include:

  • In-processing including administration and medical readiness (e.g. physicals and medications).
  • Those requiring Second Class Swim Qualification will have the opportunity to obtain it while at OCTN.
  • Body composition analysis (BCA).
  • Physical training (PT) occurs immediately upon arrival, 4-5 days per week.

3.3     Collateral Duties

There are collateral duties that each LDO/CWO class will hold; a sign-up sheet will be available upon check-in with the OOD at King Hall to solicit volunteers.

  • Class Division Officer: Liaison with instructors.
  • Wardroom Mess Treasurer: Collect and handle money for meals.
  • Athletic Coordinator(s): Lead PT sessions, warm-up, cool-down, etc.
  • Admin Officer: Liaison with PSD and Administration.
  • Academic Coordinator: Liaison with instructors regarding homework, etc.
  • Social activities Coordinator: Class Grad Social / T-Shirts / Plaque / etc.
  • Postal Orderly: Gets the mail if there is any.
  • Master At Arms: Supplies and facility issues if any.
  • ADP: Helps ADP local with computers.

3.4     Graduation Requirements

There are several graduation requirements including:

  • Pass all academic tests (70% or above).
  • Pass BCA.


4.0    Summary

This article provides a broad outline of the basic military training undertaken by the US Navy’s ODS.

4.1    Useful Publications

  • Secretary of the Navy Instructions (SECNAVINST):
    • SECNAVINST 5300.26 (Series).
  • Office of the Chief of Naval Operations Instructions (OPNAV):
    • OPNAVINST 1120.3B: Navy Reserve Direct Appointment Porgramme.
    • OPNAV 1420.1A: Enlisted to Officer Commissioning Programmes Application Administrative Manual. Change Transmittal 3. 07 June 2004 (Cancelled by OPNAV 1420.1B).
    • OPNAV 1420.1B: Enlisted to Officer Commissioning Programmes Application Administrative Manual. 14 December 2009.
      • Chapter 3: United States Naval Academy (USNA).
      • Chapter 4: Officer Candidate School (OCS).
      • Chapter 5: Medical Enlisted Commissioning Programme (MECP).
      • Chapter 6: Medical Service Corps – Inservice Procurement Programme (MSC-IPP).
      • Chapter 7: Limited Duty Officer/Chief Warrant Officer (LDO/CWO).
      • Chapter 8: Seaman to Admiral – 21 Programme (STA-21).
  • Naval Station Training Command Instructions (NSTCINST):
    • NSTCINST 4100.1: Battle Stations 21 Change Management Policy. 18 March 2013.
  • Officer Training Command Instructions (OTCINST):
    • OTCINST 1530.6K: Appendix B – Required Knowledge for Inspections. 05 April 2018.
  • Other OTC Documents:
    • NAVCRUIT 1131/15: Commitment to Success (Version 2). 05 March 2018.
    • Naval Officer Delayed Entry Programme (DEP) Guide (Version 3). 06 September 2018.
    • Officer Candidate Regulations (OCR).
    • Navy Recruiting Command Fitness and Nutrition Guide (Revision 2/22/17).
    • Navy Officer Candidate School (24 January 2012).
    • OCS Inspection Knowledge (04 February 2014).
    • US Navy Reserve Direct Commission Officer Handbook (2015).
  • Magazines:
    • All Hands: Magazine of the US Navy.
  • Research:
    • Curry, Jr., T.F., Heidt, E.A. & Miller, H. (1977) Officer Candidate School Curriculum Optimization. Orlando, Florida: Training Analysis and Evaluation Group.
    • Lehner, W.D. (2008) An Analysis of Naval Officer Accession Programs. Master’s Thesis. Monterey, California: Naval Postgraduate School.

4.2    Useful Links

4.3    References

Thornbloom, S. (2019) Officer Candidates School Graduations Now Being Live Streamed. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 15 February, 2019].