RNR Officer Deployment / Branches

I'm applying to the RNR as a direct entry officer, and have my AIB in two weeks. I have researched the branches, and am looking at Information Operations, with the aim of ultimately going into Intelligence (though replies from any branch would be great).

However, reading the formal descriptions is not very informative as to the reality of being mobilised as an RNR officer. Can anyone give me any specific examples of the kinds of things they have done whilst deployed? I've been speaking to people at my local RNR unit, but I just want to be as informed as possible. :)
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War Hero
If you want to deploy in an intelligence, then insuggest going as a rating. The majority of Int officers spend little time doing int work and focus far more on management type work. Int is a branch where people think they will be James Bond, but in reality, its far from that, particularly for officers.


Lantern Swinger
You're also (standfast doing Project Hermes) looking at 3 years of training before you get stuck into specialisation training proper now - and you only make your choice about 2 years in, so there's plenty of information once you're on the inside. You're then looking at several years of training before you can be deployed in any meaningful specialisation specific role rather than just a "generic junior officer" type mobilisation.

That also means, as ATG said, that things are likely to be very different when you come to be ready, and probably more maritime focused than they have been for the past 12 years. Specialisation roles are being redefined at the moment, over the next 5+ years anything could change, we could even see entire UK capabilities theoretically being chopped.

Generically as an officer of any specialisation you're more likely than not to be mobilised into a HQ role as a staff officer, quite possibly doing something unrelated to your core specialisation. Expect Powerpoint slides, briefings and answering the phone, even in intelligence.
You are quite right to try to get as much info as possible before you attend AIB, as you will be able to give a good account of yourself if you demonstrate forward thinking etc.

As several posters have mentioned, the RNR is changing very fast, and what you join today, will be different tomorrow, and don't be afraid of eluding to that in your AIB. Meanwhile, based on what you know, IO has tickled your fancy, so grab hold of an IO officer in your unit, and suss out your training pipeline for the next 5 years, and also what mobilisations are happening today for a mid-seniority Lieutenant. That will allow you to discuss your future as if it was now.
At the end of the day, your main priority is to get through the AIB, as you will then have plenty of time to choose a spec/branch.

And to demonstrate how things are changing, there may well be an ongoing requirement for a lieutenant to mobilise as a team leader for a boarding team! That may not be your cup of tea, but it does demonstrate how things are changing.

And the IO branch of the RNR is very much alive and well, so alive that they have more mobilisation and exercise slots that they can fill.

Good luck


Hi Lauren,
When you get to a unit try and get along to an HMS FERRET Orientation Weekend, specifically designed for people like you. Contrary to other comments posted here you will see that Int (or INTEL if you like) work is carried out by all ranks and rates and mobilisations are undertaken depending on availability and individual skill sets.
The orientation w/e gives you a good idea of what is expected and would give you an idea of whether it would meet your expectations.
As for James Bond ....hmm

hope this helps



War Hero
SR speaks much sense - best thing to do is get to a unit which can expose you to the variety of branches and opportunities open to you.

Different branches will place different requirements on you both for personal life, commitments and deployment opportunities. If you want to work on a range of challenging thought provoking roles then i'd strongly endorse IO. If you want to work in a branch like Int, then be prepared for some very stringent changes to your lifestyle, particularly around what you do, how you can behave and what you do in your own time online. for instance, as happened to someone I know, if you want to be disciplined and be given a hard time for a breach of Personal Security for posting a picture of yourself in uniform at an RNR event on social media, that had already been put up on an official Govt website then you'll feel right at home in Intelligence. Their philosophy is seemingly built around a very paranoid level of fear that even the hint of you being in the military and being seen in uniform is a security breach. How they squared that with the existence of the Navy List, a public book listing all RN and RNR Officers and their Branches (inc Intelligence) seems a bit strange to me... But if you want to put up with that level of interference in your private life then Int may be for you. If you'd rather have a hobby without this sort of problem then think carefully about int and what it means for you.

Realistically the only way you will learn is by chatting to both Slts about the training and then Lieutenants about the reality of day to day life. A common observation i've heard os that the training pipeline is often really great fun - particularly up to Fleet Board. The challenge is when the training stops and you realise that as a mid seniority Lt, theres not actually that much to do. Some good questions to ask any branch would be on retention rates, particularly at the five year point and for Lieutenants in general. Some areas seem to lose talent regularly, while others keep it and cultivate it.

its down to you to make a success of it, but go in with eyes very wide open about the way some parts of the RNR are very good with a great culture to support YOs and Officers and other parts are not.
Thank you all very much for all this information! I passed my AIB, so can now start thinking seriously about the branches.

I really appreciate you taking the time to write all that - it was extremely helpful and interesting. This forum is really useful.

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