In the Navy, Warfare Officers 'drive' and command the warships. You initially work on the ship's bridge, control the ship's manoeuvring, are responsible for the safe passage and navigation of the ship at sea, and manage the bridge staff and ship routines while on watch. During wartime, or simulated manoeuvres and exercises, you will additionally need to assist in identifying enemy aircraft, submarines and other warships and manoeuvring the ship to avoid their weapons. At these times you will assist the Commanding Officer as part of the ship's warfare team which includes the Principal Warfare Officer who will be closed up in the Operations Room fighting the ship. As your career progresses you will have the opportunity to specialise as a Principal Warfare Officer specialising in Anti Air Warfare, Surface and Sub Surface Warfare, Communications and Intelligence, or Amphibious Warfare, or as a Diving and Mine Warfare Officer, and ultimately you may also become the Captain of your own ship!
Early in your career you will spend the majority of time at sea, and will be posted to various ships as an OOW for about two years once you are qualified. At that point, you may choose to complete additional professional courses and progress to specialised positions, including Navigating Officer and Aircraft Controller.
For about the first six years of your naval career, between sea going postings, you are either completing courses ashore but will invariably be posted to sea going ships that are typically away from the Devonport Naval Base for between six to seven months of the year. You will participate in operational missions, and visit ports throughout South East Asia, the Pacific, Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand. On completion of five to six years at sea, a shore posting to Auckland or Wellington should follow for about 18 months, before returning to sea or starting advanced specialisation courses.
Each Warfare Officer's career is unique, and the specialisation chosen will determine future courses, postings and promotion opportunities. All the ships within the navy have differing capabilities that provide a variety of roles and specialisations for Seaman Officers, as well as providing the opportunity to become Commanding Officers early on in your career. Senior seagoing Commands, such as those on the ANZAC Frigates, follow periods of shore appointments, advances professional and specialist training and lengthy seagoing experience.
Careers in the Navy are well-rewarded, as well as being diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, you will see your salary rise accordingly.
While undertaking Officer Training you will hold the Rank of Midshipman (see attached pay table). On graduation from your commissioning course your rank and pay will increase based on your trade speciality and qualification level.
You must have completed at least three years of secondary education.
Upon successful enlistment into the Navy you’ll be posted to Devonport Navy base in Auckland. Here you will do 22 weeks of officer military training course to find out if you’ve got what it takes to become leaders in the Navy, and learn various subjects including:
The aim of this course is to teach the basic principles and processes of navigation and good bridgemanship, which includes experience in the bridge simulator and culminates in assessments at sea navigating a small naval vessel.
On completion of your OOW(B) course you will spend time aboard a navy ship getting platformed endorsed and putting your new skills into practice, or commence your tertiary studies if you are entering on the University scheme of training. This on-the-job training is aimed at preparing you in a practical sense for the Advanced OOW course (OOW(A)). You will also progress your OOW task book which is a written record of your progress, training and development.
The OOW(A) course is 16 weeks and covers navigation, bridgemanship and training in basic warfare skills. On completion of that you will then return to sea to get qualified by completing the task book and gaining your Bridge Watchkeeping (A) or, if posted to a Frigate, an OOW (Warfare) Certificate.
You will then post as a qualified Officer of the Watch to complete your core job as an Officer of the Watch on any naval ship.
Once you are a qualified Warfare Officer, and have consolidated your qualification at sea, you may decide to choose a sub-specialisation to pursue: the options are Principal Warfare Officer (PWO), Hydrography (surveying), Mine Clearance Diving Officer (MCDO), Communications Officer and Intelligence Officer.
A PWO is required to have full knowledge of all weapon systems and sensors to ensure the ship is able to respond to any changing scenario. A PWO is also required to maintain up to date knowledge and the latest war fighting tactics so as to effectively defend the ship against attack.
Warfare Officers holding the rank of Lieutenant for a minimum of two years and holding a Bridge Watch Keeping Certificate (Advanced or Warfare) are eligible to be selected for PWO training. RNZN officers spend 13 months in the UK completing the PWO course.
Naval Hydrographers are responsible for generating and maintaining charts to ensure the safe passage of all ships. Hydrographers are also involved in surveying areas for beach landings as a part of the Advanced Force Operations team. In addition to general Officer of the Watch duties, Hydrographic Survey Officers complete survey management and data processing, including ship handling, use of specialised sounding equipment, and processing data at sea and ashore.
MCDOs are the Navy's experts in Clearance Diving, Mine Counter Measures, Under Water Engineering, Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Improvised Explosive Device Disposal. To become an MCDO you would normally be at the rank of Lieutenant and have already completed the Defence Divers and Defence Diver Supervisor courses. On selection as an MCDO, you will attend Clearance Diving and Mine Warfare courses in Australia followed by various postings: to the Operational Diving Team (ODT), the Dive School and at sea on the RNZN's Dive Support Vessels.
CIW officers play a vital role in the conduct of maritime warfare and operations through exploitation of advanced Information Technology (IT) systems and tools, and employment of automated Information Systems (IS). The CIW officer will specialise in the application of information capability to support warfare within the networked environment, both at sea and ashore.
On completion of Stage V training Warfare Officers may undertake CIW Officer training prior to posting as a ship's CIW Officer (SCO - Ships Communications Officer), then attend CIWO training followed by a sea posting as the Assistant SCO. Following a period as understudy to the SCO (approximately six months - dependent on the ship's programme), the ASCO would assume the duties as the SCO for the following 18 months. The role of SCO would be additional to the primary appointment as a complement Warfare Officer.
Naval Intelligence Officers are specialists in Electronic Warfare (EW), Signals Intelligence (Radar and Communications Intelligence), Naval Human and General Intelligence. Due to the nature of their work these officers and their staff hold the highest security clearances in the Navy and must demonstrate irreproachable conduct and maturity prior to selection.
Training for specialist Naval Intelligence is limited and highly selective; however, all officers in the warfare specialisation receive intermediate level education in General Naval Intelligence during training. Intelligence officers work at sea and ashore both in Auckland and Wellington and a few overseas posts in a typical assignment cycle of 12-24 months. Selection for specialist Intelligence training is available for Warfare Officers holding the rank of Lieutenant, a Bridge Watch Keeping Certificate (Advanced or Warfare) and a Top Secret security clearance. Initial training takes six months after which a 12 month sea assignment follows to consolidate.
Depending upon service requirements, Officers may then decide to undertake PWO training in the EW and Intelligence (EW&I) specialisation taught in the United Kingdom, or undertake more focused Intelligence assignments. Officers selecting the PWO (EW&I) career will initially return for PWO sea assignments then return to specialist intelligence positions.