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Navy Enlisted Rating (Job) Descriptions and Qualification Factors

Master at Arms (MA)


Male navy officers in meeting room, smiling
Rob Melnychuk/Photodisc/Getty Images

The MA rating provides the Navy with security specialists who perform antiterrorism, force protection, physical security, and law enforcement duties on land and at sea. MA’s are the Navy’s security and force protection professionals. An MA may operate a force protection watercraft, direct an investigation, control a base access point, or supervise a K-9 asset.

Some specific MA duties are listed below:

  • Conduct waterborne security patrols and interdiction.
  • Conduct Customs operations.
  • Conduct base security patrols.
  • Conduct base access and entry control operations.
  • Conduct aircraft and flightline security operations.
  • Conduct law enforcement operations.
  • Conduct Oil Platform protection.
  • Conduct river security operations.
  • Provide protective service to high ranking dignitaries and government officials.
  • Conduct K-9 explosive and narcotics detection operations/missions.
  • Perform physical security inspections.
  • Conduct preliminary investigations into UCMJ violations.
  • Organize and train security force personnel.
  • Conduct crime prevention programs.
  • Operate brigs (jails).
  • Perform weapons and funds escorts.

Working Environment

MA’s may expect to be assigned to duty at shore stations in the United States and Overseas; aboard ships as either ship’s company or embarked security team; or as part of a maritime expeditionary security squadron. The work environment varies widely with individual assignments. MAs are currently serving in expeditionary security locations worldwide and providing landward and seaward security in support of Joint Service operations.

A-School (Job School) Information

Lackland AFB, TX -- 40 calendar days
Hampton Roads, VA -- 50 calendar days
Kings Ba, GA -- 50 calendar days

ASVAB Score Requirement: WK + AR = 100 (minimum of 45 on WK)

Security Clearance Requirement: Secret

Other Requirements:

  • Must be United States citizen.
  • No nonjudicial punishement or convictions (civilian or military) within the three years preceding application for MA. Personnel with repeated offenses reflecting unfavorable upon their integrity and/or other offenses concerning moral turpitude are ineligible for the MA rating. Personnel with domestic violence convictions are ineligible (non-waiverable).
  • Must hold a valid, current state drivers license.
  • Excellent command of the English language, verbal and written. No speech impediments.
  • Tested negative on a drug-screening test within the previous 30 days, and have no history of drug use for three years prior to application.
  • No history of mental impairment or disorder, emotional instability, alcoholism, drug abuse, or any physical condition that impairs the performance of law enforcement and security duties.
  • Must have normal color perception, vision correctable to 20/20, and have normal hearing.
  • Must be in good physical condition capable of sustained exertion and meet body fat standards.
  • Must be worldwide assignable.
  • No moral turpitude waivers, e.g., alcohol, drugs, indebtedness, or other circumstances that would result in non-screening for the personal reliability program, security clearance granting, or overseas assignment.

Sub-Specialties Available for This Rating: Navy Enlisted Classification Codes for MA

Current Manning Levels for This Rating: CREO Listing

Note: Advancement ( promotion ) opportunity and career progression are directly linked to a rating's manning level (i.e., personnel in undermanned ratings have greater promotion opportunity than those in overmanned ratings).

Sea/Shore Rotation for This Rating

  • First Sea Tour: 48 months
  • First Shore Tour: 48 months
  • Second Sea Tour: 42 months
  • Second Shore Tour: 48 months
  • Third Sea Tour: 36 months
  • Third Shore Tour: 48 months
  • Fourth Sea Tour: 36 months
  • Forth Shore Tour: 48 months

Note: Sea tours and shore tours for sailors that have completed four sea tours will be 36 months at sea followed by 36 months ashore until retirement.

MA is classified as an INUS/OUTUS (in the U.S./Outside the U.S.) community, which means that instead of being assigned to ships, many of their overseas assignments are classified as sea tour duty for sea/show flow purposes.

Much of the above information courtesy of the Navy Personnel Command

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