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Questions from a lurker


Greetings all, as the title implies, I’ve been lurking on and off for quite a while now, considering a career change. I decided to sit on my hands no longer, and called the recruiting hotline on the RN website. Friendly guy on the end of the line couldn’t really answer any of the questions I asked, but sorted me out with an intro at the AFCO in about 3 weeks.

I was hoping in the meantime, that somebody in the know might be able to provide a few answers to some of my questions!

1) I’m old. Really old. As it stands, I’d only be eligible for Logistics Officer, or Training Management Officer. The RN website is much much more modern and easy to navigate than the Army website, but there isn’t a great deal of hard information there about the day-to-day life of the two specialisations, nor what one can further specialise in.

I.e. I presume RN logistics go everywhere that the RN do - is this the case? Although a working life afloat isn’t a negative for me, I’d like to have the opportunity to work on land, and ideally on ops too. Is this a realistic possibility?

It states that there are a few places available for Training Management Officers with Arts Degrees (BA’s, that is, not painting) (which is what I have). What sort of things would a person with this profile do?

Basically, I’m really keen to join, despite my age, but I want a career with variety, and breadth of opportunity to diversify, or specialise if at all possible. Is this sort of career possible in Logistics or Training Management?

2) Career progression: The Army website has a clear career progression chart, with time-in-rank estimates, and so on. Would the Navy progression be very similar? For example - if one was to pass all training, good reputation and quality of work etc, what sort of timescale would we roughly be talking about to Lt. Commander, from graduating BRNC?

3) I found an archived page from the old RN website regarding ‘The In-Service Degree Scheme’. It is nowhere to be found on the current site, or the MOD site. Does it still exist? I recall reading somewhere that it is possible to achieve an MA at some point, perhaps at Staff College, or when you are in a more senior position?

Sorry for the massive first post, many thanks in advance! :pig:


War Hero
Welcome to Rum Ration, Nimrod.

Can I just ask what you have in the way of GCSEs and A Levels/A Level equivalents?

PS How old are you?
Logs - SJRM (he'll be along shortly) is a serving Pusser (LO), and will give you ground-truth, but Logs Officers go everywhere the RN goes, and then go some other places as well. Lots of opportunities for deployments, and despite you missing Afg (unless you join really really soon), there are plenty of other deployments available (as I found out at my Career Interview last week).

E(TM)s are a endangered branch, always on the cusp of being cut, with just enough people to sustain their branch. They primarily conduct training design (i.e. working out how we're going to train a new bit of kit, with linkages etc). As you would expect, this is based around teaching and education, but that is not their only role. To be honest, apart from the dozen or so who come to sea, you will have little interaction with the 'main stream' RN.

Unlike the Army, the RN's promotion is a little more wooly. Promotion to Lt RN will take about 2 years after joining (unless you join as an E(TM) and then you become one automatically*), and you become eligible for promotion to Lt Cdr after 6 years in rank. Logs Officers have historically had relatively quick promotion to Lt Cdr (mainly due to the preponderance of females in the Branch), but it then slows down for further promotion. Technically you can be promoted to Cdr after 3 years as a Lt Cdr, and to Capt RN after 3 years as a Cdr; to achieve this would be really, really flying. I doubt more than 1 Officer a generation will achieve this.

I completed the in-service degree, it was under-grad only and I was sent to Uni as a serving Officer. There are also some degrees you can get as either a non-grad entry or a specialist (ME(SM)). Once you are a senior Lt Cdr or junior Cdr you can go on ACSC, which if you do well enough you can be selected to complete an MA in IR from King's, London. There are also a few post-grad programmes available, but I wouldn't join up betting you'll get a place.

*This may change, I've no idea when though.


Thanks for the very helpful, and enlightening replies so far. Much appreciated!

Soleil - Thanks for the welcome. I have the GCSE requirements (A-C’s including English and Maths), 3 A-Levels, and more than 180 UCAS points, for what they’re worth, anyway!

I turned 28 last week. In my current line of work I’m considered really rather young, so it was an eye-opener when I had a chat with an Army ACA who told me I was basically prehistoric, and wouldn’t be able to relate to the 19-year old men I’d be leading!

Thanks again, it seems so far that Naval Logistics isn’t (quite) as dull as some people would make out, or at least there are opportunities to do interesting things!


War Hero

Something which might help you will be to start looking at the psychometric test which you need to do as the first part of your application. All Officer applicants have to achieve minimum part scores (it's a 4 part test); one of the sections deals with Mechanical Comprehension - if you are strongly Arts, you might want to start having a bash at questions from that section, just in case it's an area for which you need a bit more preparation. Relevant thread here:


Thanks for your advice, and the link.

I have been doing the odd psychometric test here and there. As I’m sure you can imagine, it has been quite a while since I’ve had a practical use for the sort of numerical questions that they ask, so that will certainly be a challenge.

Although I need to work on the fitness a bit, I exercise 5 or 6 days a week and also coach a few times a week, so although I’m not in great condition, it shouldn’t take too long to get to the required standard.

Just a quick question about the Recruiting Test - it says to aim for 50% in all areas, as this will make you eligible for most branches. Is this for officers too, or are there more specific requirements depending on your branch? I hope I don’t need to have lightning quick mental arithmetic for Logistics!

Also, regarding the promotions aspect, it mentions that you will automatically be promoted to Lt as long as you pass your professional training. Can anyone go into more detail? I know that you will be sent to the Defence Maritime Logistics school, who provide: 'the delivery of Phase 2 training to the Royal Navy’s Logistics Officers to cover the span of N1 and N4 disciplines’. Can anyone translate that into simple English for me? What are N1 & N4? For that matter, what are N2 & N3, and don’t officers cover those areas? In regards to ‘professional training’ - does that mean there are some Navy/Civilian logistical qualifications that you are studying for whilst there, or are there are a series of paper tests to sit at the end, or is it continuous grading?

I saw somewhere on a Royal Navy video a large room full of Sub-Lt’s struggling through some sort of examination, the thought of which filled me with a little bit of dread - any idea what that would be? Indeed, are there paper tests held in order to complete training at BRNC for all branches?

Thanks again for your help! :toothy5:
Promotion to Lt RN is automatic, 2 years after joining (if you have an Honours Degree).

N1 - Personnel
N2 - Intelligence
N3 - Operations
N4 - Support/Material/Engineering/Supply
N5 - Plans
N6 - Comms/C4ISTAR
N7 - Training
N8 & N9 - no-one really cares.

N3 and N5 are the areas Warfare Officers will specialise in*, N1/N4 are the Log's world, N4/N6 Weapon Engineers (and some Warfare in N6), N4 Marine Engineers, N7 is for the E(TM)s. Of course, this is massively broad-brush, but good enough for your purposes.

*Yes, I know that's not strictly true, but it's true enough


Thanks for that alfred, very interesting indeed! N2 has me interested though, who does that? And pardon the ignorance, but what does the ’N’ stand for?
N = Navy, G = Ground (i.e. Army), A = Air (i.e. RAF), J = Joint (spelled A R M Y and pronounced 'Land').

N2 is an interesting one. Its a Warfare sub-spec, kind of kills your career, but interesting if it floats your boat. Lots of detail, lots of report writing (and spooging together of other reports), the occasional 'ah-ha' moment. I suspect our resident Intel chap may PM you, but I won't 'out' him.

You won't be able to have an Int career if you join as either a Logs or E(TM) Officer. You might, if you're lucky, be able to swing an Int job, but it'll be 18 months or so only.


Yes, N = Navy - makes sense!

N2 does sound fairly interesting, as I have previously looked at the Int Corps. In terms of the jobs available to officers, I was only really grabbed by the ‘human intelligence’ role, all the others sounded pretty mundane, although certainly intellectually challenging. I suppose that role doesn’t exist in N2, as it is likely Electronic in nature, and ship-based?

I’ve been looking up training progression, both here and on the current and retired RN site, and it seems that the very last stage of training at BRNC (before passing out), is the Naval Board. What exactly is this? I haven’t been able to find any information at all on the nature of this. Is it the same for all officers regardless of branch, or is it some sort of paper test specific to the branch you are joining?

One more for you - whilst trawling other threads in here, I’ve seen people mentioning that certain BRNC intakes are for Engineer’s, or that the next intake doesn’t include Logistics - am I to take it from these discussions that the 4(?) intakes per year at BRNC are branch specific, and do not include people joining every branch?

Thanks for your quick and informative answers so far, alfred in particular! Much appreciated!
The Defence Humint Unit is a tri-service unit, which requires you to apply once you are on the trained strength. Again, this is most definitely a career killer for an Officer, but I suspect would be quite good fun.

It's not the Navy Board (Navy Board - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) rather a Fleet Board. I don't think this still exists - can someone with recent experience comment? I can tell you what it used to be, but it'd be rather pointless.

BRNC intakes veer and haul on numbers, and mixture of branches. There is no specific time you would join, however if your pass isn't good enough you will have to wait until either your "number" comes up, or accept that you won't be going to BRNC. Traditionally May entry used to be the smallest, and Sep the largest (for obvious reasons), but I'm not sure if that remains true.

Talking Baggage

Lantern Swinger
As I'm sure you've already seen, to get in as a Logs Officer (male) you will need a top AIB score, so work hard and so a lot of research!


Thanks alfred, fleet board - that was the one. I have seen it mentioned a fair bit whilst doing my research, I hope somebody can provide some current info on the situation!

Thanks for the N2 info and BRNC info too. The resident N2 expert has been in touch, many thanks to that individual too!

TB, yes, I have noticed that. I was wondering if there is an explanation, or some reasoning behind why it should require the top AIB scores? I only ask, because it seems like most Army officers who don’t make the grade for whatever regiment they are sponsored by, end up in the RLC! Obviously logistics is an absolutely vital part of any service (or business, for that matter), but I would have thought that of all the branches, it would have been the one that required the lowest sort of pass? I only say that because obviously the Engineering branches will require a great deal of technical knowledge and problem-solving ability, and Warfare perhaps requires the highest cognitive skills, speed, reasoning and maths?

I mean, surely the fact that Warfare has an age cut-off of 25, and Logistics 31 must imply that in some way it is more challenging, and requires more training? I’m speaking hypothetically of course, as I have absolutely no knowledge of how these things work!

Or is it simply that as a percentage of total applications, the largest chunk happens to be logistics, making it the most competitive (if there are an equal number of spaces on every intake for every branch, that is)?
The RLC thing is now a myth - AGC(SPS) seems to be the place where wasters go, and local Inf regiments as well.

Anyway, Logs is over-subscribed because you don't need a degree (unlike Engineering), you can have crap eyes (unlike Warfare) and it's not too strenuous (unlike the Royal Marines).

The Warfare age cut-off relates to job compression within the branch; if we could get away with it, I'm pretty sure the Branch Managers would only like 18 year olds to join.

Talking Baggage

Lantern Swinger
There are far fewer Logs Officers taken each year when compared to Warfare. Also, none of the females applying for Logs (which is traditionally a popular branch for them) can serve on a Submarine, so be prepared for that!
It's a simple case of supply and demand - the fact that the branch is small and oversubscribed puts the AIB scores up.

I hear rumours that the Army may be increasing their UCAS points to 240 minimum and perhaps reducing the max age for entry to Sandhurst.....


Thanks for the info. Yes, the Army have reduced the age of entry to 26, unless applying for AGC or Int Corps, in which case the current age restriction (29) still applies.

I suppose apply as a Submarine Logistics officer would increase your chances of getting a place, or is that even more competitive? I understand that a Submarine Logistics officer will have a huge range of other responsibilities, and will have to grasp a great deal of technical knowledge from all the departments on the boat? Not something a surface fleet logistics officer would have to do?


Thanks for all the info, everything makes good sense.

Is the Navy in the habit of giving AIB and BRNC priority to candidates who are approaching the age cut-off for their branch? I know the Army does this, and was wondering if this is also the way it works with the RN, is it an accepted, perfectly logical policy, or more down to your Careers Advisor fighting your corner?
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