Warfare officer

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 in the Operations Room directing fire of the ships weapons.

Early in your career you will spend the majority of time at sea, and will be posted to various ships as an Officer Of the Watch (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 you will complete some courses ashore but will invariably be posted to seagoing 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, advanced 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 be at least 17 years of age.
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain TSV security clearance for this trade.
  • You must be free of any criminal convictions.
     

Don’t meet minimum requirements?

You must have achieved NCEA level 2 with a minimum of 12 credits in level 2 English.

You must have achieved NCEA level 3 with University Entrance.

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

INITIAL OFFICER TRAINING

Upon successful enlistment into the Navy you’ll complete a five day induction course at Devonport Naval Base before you start the seven week Joint Officer Induction Course (JOIC) at RNZAF Base – Woodbourne. Once you march out of the JOIC you continue with the remaining 15 weeks of Junior Officer Common Training course (JOCT), which is back at the Devonport Naval Base. You will be exposed to various subjects and find out if you’ve got what it takes to be an officer in the Navy!

JOINT OFFICER INDUCTION COURSE (JOIC)

All NZ Defence Force (NZDF) Officer Cadets and Midshipman are required to complete this course which is designed to introduce the basic individual military skills required to continue on to your respective service Officer training courses. The course will give you a basic level of military skills including field-craft, weapon handling, navigation, drill, sea survival, battle-craft, seamanship, communications and an introduction to leadership. It is during JOIC that you will be introduced to the standards and discipline demanded of all members of the NZDF and the ethos and values required to be an Officer in the NZDF.

JUNIOR OFFICER COMMON TRAINING COURSE (JOCT)

The following are just some of the subject areas covered on JOCT:

  • RNZN customs
  • Drill and parades
  • Military law
  • Weapons training
  • Basic mariner training
  • Defence and strategic studies
  • Communication skills
  • Command, leadership and management

 

All NZ Defence Force (NZDF) Officer Cadets and Midshipman are required to complete this course which is designed to introduce the basic individual military skills required to continue on to your respective service Officer training courses. The course will give you a basic level of military skills including field-craft, weapon handling, navigation, drill, sea survival, battle-craft, seamanship, communications and an introduction to leadership. It is during JOIC that you will be introduced to the standards and discipline demanded of all members of the NZDF and the ethos and values required to be an Officer in the NZDF.

Upon successful completion of the JOIC, you will be posted to Officer Training School, Devonport to complete the JOCT Course. The JOCT course is 22 weeks in duration (which includes the 7 weeks JOIC) split over three phases:

PHASE ONE – NAVY INDUCTION

Trainees are instructed in basic service knowledge, discipline, parade and kit preparation. There is a focus on ‘followership’ and teamwork and on developing a high level of physical and mental fitness.

The aim of this phase is:

  • To ensure that trainees can perform as effective team members
  • To instil the Navy Core Values
  • To develop the competency behaviours required of a Junior Officer
  • To provide the basic skills and knowledge for service in the Navy 

PHASE TWO – SEA QUALIFICATION AND ACADEMIC DEVELOPMENT

Phase two is focused on fitness for sea and academic development. The training provides trainees with the minimum knowledge and skills necessary to safely post to sea on a Navy Ship. The Sea Qualification Deployment is designed to give trainees an insight into life at sea and for staff to assess trainees in the sea going environment.

The aim is to:

  •     Cement and build upon communal living skills
  •     Gain an appreciation of the roles at sea
  •     Confirm the trainees commitment to life at sea


Phase two also focuses on academic development. Trainees are lectured in Defence Communication topics such as service writing and oral communication. Officers are expected to have an understanding of wider national and defence policies, international relations and maritime doctrine.

PHASE THREE – LEADERSHIP

The final phase of JOCT has a strong leadership focus covering both theoretical and practical aspects. The trainees are put through a number of assessments. The assessments are scenario driven and provide the trainees with the opportunity to display their individual and combined skills. 

BASIC OFFICER OF THE WATCH (OOW(B)) COURSE

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 endorsed for that ship 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. 

Warfare Officers can either choose to join with a specialisation in Mine Clearance Diving or Hydrography. In addition, once you are a qualified Warfare Officer, and have consolidated your qualification at sea, you may choose a sub-specialisation to pursue. These options include: Mine Clearance Diving Officer (MCDO), Hydrographic Survey Officer, and Principal Warfare Officer (PWO).

MINE CLEARANCE DIVING OFFICER (MCDO)  

Mine Clearance Diving Officers are the Navy's experts in Clearance Diving, Mine Counter Measures, Under Water Engineering, Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Improvised Explosive Device Disposal. As a MCDO, you will complete your Warfare Officer training, and then specialise in Diving, completing the Defence Diver course, Diving Supervisors course and specialist Clearance Diving and Mine Warfare courses in Australia or the UK. On successful completion of courses and consolidation in trade, you will be awarded the MCDO Badge.

As a MCDO, you will primarily work as part of the Littoral Warfare Unit in the Clearance Diving and Mine Warfare Group, as well as at sea on our Diving Support vessel. Your career will be focused on the work the Operational Dive Team do and working as a part of them in a range of environments. Once you are qualified, you can expect various postings to the Clearance Diving and Mine Warfare Group, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron, Operational deployments to Coalition-led missions, and at sea on the RNZN's Diving Support Vessel as you progress your career.

The role of an MCDO is demanding physically and mentally. It is not for the faint hearted. An MCDO needs to be fit and be able to work in extremely difficult and testing conditions.

HYDROGRAPHIC SURVEY OFFICER

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. Find out more about this specialisation here. 

PRINCIPAL WARFARE OFFICER (PWO)

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.