Options for Warfare Officers....

Hi again,

Once completing all the necessary courses, what are the options for 'qualified' warfare officers? Having recently completed the excellent POC course down at HMS Collingwood, I met some current trainees who told me they were moving into diverse areas such as diving and air traffic control once their training was complete!

What are the main options? Personally I wish to go through the military intelligence route and maybe SF if I can tweak my fitness regime. Is this possible via the warfare branch? I'm told, after asking plenty of questions at the POC course, that the SF and intelligence routes are much clearer once 'in-service' rather than merely enquiring from outside - which is understandable.
You've been told pretty much all you're going to be told I'm afraid. Doable from warfare certainly, although good luck persuading the appointer that you're not going straight down the standard pipeline....

Other than that, I'm afraid this isn't the place to get information about that sort of thing- you can get more when you get in and have signed a lot of buff forms. :thumright:
oh , and in answer to the other question, which I completely forgot about, off the top of my head:

Fighter Controller
Hydrography and Meteorological (HM)
Mine Warfare

Bear in mind that this isn't necessarily what you do when you qualify- I know a couple of guys who went on FC course straight after completion of IWO but in general you will look to do at least one job as a generalist warfairy before they let you specialise. If going down they HM route they have in past tried to make your first job out of IWO as XOA on a droggie ship but the key word there is very much "tried."
Hi, thanks very much for your information on both my posts. My concern is, if it is even a concern, is that I'm selfish is the respect of wanting both a career on a ship yet also running about and being active. I'd heard about the AAC whilst at the POC at Collingwood, which seems to be something I'd be keen on joining later in my career (I'm only 22). I am dead set on becoming a warfairy but I would simply like to specialise into something I am interested in, such as N2 or SF, and/or give the AAC a go. I'm just worried that I'd forever be an OOW!


War Hero
"What are the main options? Personally I wish to go through the military intelligence route "

Oh lord not another one! If you want to do Int and have a career then either join the RAF or Army or join the RNR, pass muster into our Int Branch and have a real job on the side!
Int in the RN is traditionally an area where peoples careers go to die!
That's completely understandable- it's far better to do all your thinking now and make sure you make the right decision. As far as the AAC goes, you're going to be very lucky to be allowed to do that as a warfairy.

In general the only matelots that get to do that at officer level are chaplains, docs, and the occasional schoolie. I also know at least one pilot who's done it in the last five years say, but that is because of a fortunate coincidence of being put on a long holover during training at the same time as there was a place going begging on the AAC.

What is it that appeals to you about warfare?- like it or not, you are going to spend the greater part of your first decade say at sea- they don't call us the window lickers for nothing. The majority go straight from the bridge to the ops room when they stop being an OOW. I was a warfairy before I went outside and I would be lying if I said that it was all great fun. Lots of people do it though....

Think really carefully about what it is you want. N2 is getting much more organised in the navy- I know a couple of bods who do it- but for a long time it was something that was very far from mainstream. That is changing, but the pace in the fleet can be glacial (they were "just about" to make it a direct entry branch when I joined up in 2002 and it's not there yet). If you joined the army or, God forbid, the crabs, you could go straight into the int world. Also, being on land, the phys side of things would be that much easier.

I'm not trying to put you off by any means, and these are probably questions that you are already asking yourself. What I mean is that you have to work out what it is about the fleet that appeals to you and whether, if necessary, you wouldn't be happier somewhere else. What you want to do is achievable, but incredibly difficult. I suspect that as the navy continues to shrink it is going to get even more difficult.

The pipelines are just that these days (if they ever were very much more flexible, which i have to say I doubt), pipelines. If you don't want to go down the standard warfairy route then you are going to have to fight hard with the appointers. And you are probably going to lose. Nothing ventured nothing gained of course, but you have to be prepared to not manage almost anything on your list of wishes.

I hope this isn't too down beat, and doubtless someone else will pitch in in a minute and tell you that I am being overly pessimistic. I really don't think that I am. You could do anything on your list, if you are prepared to fight for it, it just isn't at all likely and you must think about whether you would enjoy being in the navy if you were in one of the core warfare specialisations- because that is what is most likely to happen.

Something to think about anyway.

Spoken to someone within the Intelligence Corps of the army and he recommended I went into the RN! Talk about confused.com

There's no way I can convey exactly what I'd like to do on a public forum without sounding like a complete melon or a Walter Mitty, but I'm guessing that Int isn't as 'hands on' as one would assume?

I'd like to go: BRNC ->Warfairy -> AAC -> SF
Apologies kinross_special, I'd typed my message just as yours came up.

My major worry is sitting down thinking "I'd like something a bit more hands on". Your response has certainly been an eye-opener!
Was he trying to put you off? Seriously?

Absolute honest answer? Not a chance.

Purple-Twiglet was spot on when he said that int has historically been where careers go to die. If it is hands on at any point then they are not going to shout about it- and certainly it isn't common enough knowledge for anyone who posts on here to feel comfortable going into details. (Not that I know any anyway- I'd just about know who to ask if I'd wanted to get involved but certainly not what it was that I would be volunteering for- golden rule no 1, never volunteer for anything...). Also, there is aworld of difference between the RN guys seconded to work with DIS, etc, and the guys who do the N2 work in the fleet). As an example, and you're query just made me think of this for the first time in a while, I once overheard the following pipe on the INVINC during an exercise in 2003:

"Shinto to the ops room with Jane's Fighting Ships at the rush."

For those in the mob that's a gen dit, all twelve clips, safeguard etc...

Shinto was the ship's intelligence officer. He was an upper yardy ex comms tech, in the watch bill as an officer of the watch like all the other Lts, about 49 yrs old, and permanently being given silly little jobs to do that had very little to do with "intelligence."

It really isn't that glamorous. If you get into it early enough in your career then it will be better than the above, but it isn't James Bond. Why not try somewhere like GCHQ or MI6?

I can't honestly work out why he would have said go RN.


War Hero
The problem the RN has it that it needs very few "Int Officers". There are plenty of requirements for ratings - the RNR is desperately trying to get ABs and Killicks of suitable calibre into the Int branch, but has little need for another SO3.

Int work is either about analysis or collection. Analysis is fun for a single job and gets quite dull very quickly. If you want to spend your days in a bunker, or in the DIS reading documents and writing about the latest DKEJT3436 missile, then crack on. Congratulations on ending your RN career prospects before you even joined!

collection is more interesting, but is either done by CTs, or through other areas on exchange, all of which are usually a tour (and hard to get onto as well) rather than a career.

I know a number of RN intelligence officers, the majority of whom are actively seeking to join the MI as it offers a chance of a structured career and promotion.

Bottom line is that as a rating, you can have a lot of fun. As an officer you'll be used to being bored.
I don't want to join 6 or GCHQ because I'd like a military career ideally with a slant towards intelligence. Make no mistake, I don't wish to be James Bond or Jason Bourne as these are fantasy and hollywood. I've done my research and I would like to join a particular SF, eventually. But I'd still like (and need) a military 'grounding', and naively assumed that with the (little) information I'd been received and endorsement from the green slime (int corps) chap, that the navy was the way to go. Unfortunately my 'ideal pipeline' makes me sound like a complete goon or a fantasist, yet I assure you I'm not!
I'm hearing from a lot of people that for RN or Army, officer isn't necessarily the best option for 'interesting' positions.

I think I've outlined enough my wants and I'm not stupid enough to assume that these are going to be given to me on a plate. However, the pipeline I had seemingly created does not appear to be a wholly realistic one. I'd been influenced heavily by my contact in the int corps, whose main recommendation was to 'do your time, have a pop at the AAC or go for one of the joint-service positions in the SF'. His idea was that the Navy is a more glamourous lifestyle than the Army, even though I thought that Army int would be better than Navy int (from the limited information I'd heard). He claimed that I'd be at no more of an advantage if I'd done my time in the int corps than I would be if I was a warfairy.....hence my confusion!
prideofmanchester said:
....I've done my research and I would like to join a particular SF, eventually.
I'm unconvinced you have done your research, however...

AACC is not a pre-requisite for selection, however it will develop the military skills that you'd need. I know RN personnel who have served in two of the three main elements of UKSF, there are also other who have served with all three, as well as the supporting elements of UKSF.

Int and SF are very different beasts, as already highlighted, although DSF has a J2 function. As a warfare officer you'd be very unlikely to be released, unless it was post PWO course, and that into a staff appointment.

In all honesty I don't know of anyone who has returned to source branch and stayed. The impact of four years out of your career is enough to kill it, although there is a fairly healthy private sector marketplace out there.

Unfortunately my 'ideal pipeline' makes me sound like a complete goon or a fantasist, yet I assure you I'm not!
I believe you......


War Hero
prideofmanchester said:
I'd like to go: BRNC ->Warfairy -> AAC -> SF
It is indeed good that people have such aspirations, however possibly going down the MCDO route as a warfare officer is maybe more likely to lead you down the preferred path to achieve your ultimate goal. If you really want to be SF, then RM is statistically the better overall option as your average Warfare Officer has about as much fieldcraft experience as me. (None).

Very often we get people who come with a shopping list derived from the "best jobs" available such as becoming a RM Commando fast jet pilot with para wings and UKSF qualified.

Doubtless they exist, but it would be unfair to give the impression that you may expect to double the number already in existence. A fall-back option is probably a little more pragmatic.
I was mainly interested in secondments to DIS and similar agencies rather than necessarily going down the SF route, although that does interest me as well.

I have found all your answers informative and eye-opening, thank you all very much

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