Commander, Naval Surface Forces Public Affairs (Dec. 18, 2005): Naval Surface Forces to institute XO/CO Fleet-Up in 2006.
Executive oOfficers (XOs) will serve 18 months and then "fleet up" to commanding officer (CO) for their command tour on the same ship. Additionally, "major command"-screened officers will serve as the executive officer or chief staff officer (deputy warfare commander) and fleet up to the Commanding Officer/Commodore (warfare commander) position.
Vice Adm. Terry Etnyre, commander, Naval Surface Forces, said, "XO/CO Fleet-Up is about command. It provides focused command leadership stability throughout a ship's life. A commanding officer will reap the benefits of the actions and policies he or she institutes as executive officer. He or she will know the crew upon assumption of command and will be intimately familiar with the material condition and the combat readiness of the ship. This improves readiness and will provide an unprecedented level of command leadership stability in our Surface Force."
According to Surface Warfare leadership, the plan will increase flexibility in the surface warfare officer (SWO) career path in order to send more SWOs to Junior and Senior War Colleges, qualify SWOs sooner as joint specialty officers (JSO), send more SWOs to multiple joint tours, ensure command leadership stability on ships and staffs, and increase the proficiency and experience of major warfare commanders.
Etnyre added, "XO/CO Fleet-Up helps us meet SWO requirements by providing a career path that solidifies future progression to command and warfighting expertise while enabling our officers to complete critical joint tours as we fight the global war on terrorism. Combatant commands, fleet, and joint staffs will also regain critical SWO representation."
The career path for SWOs will change under the plan. The start of an officer's XO tour will move to the right (15.5-year point vice the current 13-year point), and the start of the CO tour will move to left (17 years vice 18 to 18.5 years).
Capt. Tony Kurta, director of Navy Personnel Command's Surface Warfare Division (PERS-41), explained, "Officers in promotion year group (PYG) '05 to lieutenant commander or junior will be XO/CO Fleet-Up officers. PYG-04 officers and senior are conventional career path officers, meaning they will complete traditional XO tours. Some PYG-04 and senior officers will complete a second XO tour as part of the XO/CO Fleet-Up, and some will only complete a CO tour. Neither path is better or preferred. The path will solely depend on an individual officer's timing and the ship to which he or she is slated."
All SWOs are encouraged to attend waterfront briefings commencing in January 2006 outlining how this affects them individually.
More information is also available through the XO/CO Fleet-Up Web site at <http://www.npc.navy.mil/Officer/SurfaceWarfare/Hotltems/XOCOFleetUp.htm> or from their SWO detailer.