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Navy Accepting STA-21 Applications

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From Naval Service Training Command Public Affairs
GREAT LAKES (NNS) -- The Seaman-To-Admiral (STA-21) commissioning program, which provides an opportunity for qualified Sailors to receive college educations and navy commissions, is soliciting applications for fiscal year 2019, as announced in NAVADMIN 113/18 May 9.

The deadline for submitting application packages is July 1.

"STA-21 is a full-time, undergraduate education and commissioning program open to enlisted personnel of all pay grades and ratings to receive a top-notch college education and become commissioned officers," said Cathy Kempf, head of Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) program and STA-21 selection and placement, at Naval Service Training Command's (NSTC) Officer Development (OD) directorate in Pensacola, Florida.

According to Mark Gough, deputy director of the NSTC's OD directorate, the STA-21 program is one of the best officer commissioning programs the Navy has to offer.

"STA-21 pays up to $10,000 per year for college costs such as tuition, books and fees," said Gough. "All the while, Sailors draw their full pay and allowances for their current pay grade. Under the STA-21 program, Sailors have up to 36 months, including summer semesters, to complete their Baccalaureate degree requirements."

All STA-21 officer candidates attend the Naval Science Institute (NSI) course at Officer Training Command Newport (OTCN), Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island, prior to beginning college studies at an NROTC affiliated college or university. 

NSI is an eight-week course of intense officer preparation and indoctrination. Course enrollment is timed to allow college entrance during summer or fall semesters/quarters after selection.

The STA-21 program benefits Sailors as well as the Navy. The average candidate has at least two years and in most cases more than four years of observed performance which assists in the process of selecting the most qualified Sailors to receive a commission.

Additionally, STA-21 candidates are on average older than most midshipmen, bringing a maturity directly reflected in the more than 85 percent completion rate STA-21 program candidates boast. 

Additionally, many Sailors involved in the STA-21 program already have some college credit and some candidates have enough credits to finish ahead of the three years allotted to earn a degree.

All of these factors - proven performance for better selection, maturity for higher completion rates, and previous college credit - save the Navy money while producing top-quality experienced Naval officers.

According to NAVADMIN 113/18, the following target options and core are open for application for the FY-19 Selection Board: Surface Warfare (SWO), Nuclear (Surface/Sub), Special Warfare, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Naval Flight Officer, Pilot, Civil Engineering Corps, Nurse Corps, and Information Professional. Applicants for Aviation options must meet the new minimum Aviation Selection Test Battery scores of AQR 5/PFAR 6 for Pilot (1390) and AQR 5/FOFAR 6 for NFO (1370) in line with Program Authorization (PA) 150D dated April 2018.

The following target options have zero select opportunity for FY-18: Human Resources, Intelligence, Cryptologic Warfare (previously Information Warfare), Surface Warfare Engineering (SWO/ED) duty option, Medical Corps, Supply Corps, SWO Oceanography, Surface Warfare Officer/Information Professional (SWO/IP), and SWO/OCEANO.

The Nuclear (Surface/Sub) target option is open to Sailors who are serving in the fleet and hold an active nuclear Navy enlisted classification (335X, 336X, 338X, or 339X). This option is a change to the previous year's eligibility policy. Sailors who are serving as a staff member or student in the Navy Nuclear Power Training pipeline are also eligible, as they have been in previous years. All applicants must be able to begin their first day of class in the first semester of their course work prior to commencing their eighth year of service. See the Nuclear Program Authorization (PA150A) dated December 2015 for more specific information and all other requirements to apply for the program. Additionally, applicants holding a nuclear Navy enlisted classification must receive conditional release, in line with reference (b), if applying for option outside the Nuclear Community, from the Nuclear Enlisted Community Manager (OPNAV N133D).

In the STA-21 program, as it is in many competitive selection processes, it is often a candidate's extra efforts which can result in selection.

"Do your best in all your endeavors, college courses, work performance, community involvement, and have superior performances on your Physical Fitness Assessments (PFA). With so many great sailors to choose from, selection boards often look for the tie breakers or the indicators of extra effort, potential and desire, in this regard the STA-21 program is no exception," Kempf said. "As always, performance is the number one criteria. When given the chance to lead, take it. No matter how small the opportunity, step up and lead people, and lead them well, while also attending to your physical, academic, and professional preparedness."

Reporting seniors who feel they have a sailor with the potential to be selected by STA-21 should comment on their leadership skills and potential in their performance evaluations early in their career. These comments are highly regarded by the boards, even in junior Sailors.

Kempf reminded all Sailors that are applying for STA-21 to have an endorsing letter from their commanding officers and to include their Scholastic Aptitude Test/American College Test (SAT/ACT) scores in their packages.

This year's NAVADMIN includes numbers from last year. It states of the 342 applications received for FY-18, only 302 were board eligible. A total of 50 were selected to participate in the FY-18 STA-21 program. Each year, packages are not considered due to non-qualifying Scholastic Aptitude Test/American College Test (SAT/ACT) test scores, missing commanding officer (CO) endorsement/recommendation, recent non-judicial punishment, missing PFA cycles, missing or illegible submission of documents, and not meeting program age or PFA requirements.

NAVADMIN 113/18 also states minimum eligibility requirements must be met before submitting an application. Applications should be mailed only when fully completed.

Officer interview boards shall consist of three officers; the applicant's commanding officer may not be a board member and should not submit an interview appraisal sheet. The commanding officer's personal interview should be conducted only after the application is complete and the officer interview board has submitted their appraisals. The full picture of an applicant's academic and officer potential can only be determined by reviewing the SAT/ACT scores, high school/college transcripts, and a completed application package. 

Kempf echoed the NAVADMIN and said the commanding officer's endorsement is extremely important, especially the ranking of the individual among his/her peers. The endorsement should contain specifics about the individual's academic potential, commitment, leadership, service above self, and potential as a naval officer. Commanding officer comments should specify the primary option to which the individual is applying and address how the individual meets qualifications for that option. For junior Sailors with only schoolhouse evaluations, the CO must address this issue in his or her endorsement.

Application packages must be postmarked on or before the July 1 deadline date. 

Selectees will be announced by NAVADMIN in the fall.

Questions concerning this program should be directed to command career counselors or to the NSTC officer development directorate at (850) 452-9563.

For more information about the STA-21 program, visit https://www.sta-21.navy.mil. Applicants can find NAVADMIN 113/18 on the Navy Personnel Command website at http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/reference/messages/Documents/NAVADMINS/NAV2018/NAV18113.txt

Rear Adm. Mike Bernacchi, NSTC commander, headquartered at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois, and his staff support the OD directorate and 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy, as well as the Navy's Citizenship Development program. NSTC includes Recruit Training Command (RTC), the Navy's only boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes, NROTC at more than 160 colleges and universities, OTCN, and Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NNDCC) citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools worldwide.

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