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Navy Enlisted Rating (Job) Descriptions and Qualification Factors

Operations Specialist (OS)

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Sailor marks a map.  PACIFIC OCEAN (Sept. 29, 2012) Operations Specialist Seaman Jennifer Cloud, from Houston, Texas, plots points on a map in the commanding officer’s tactical operation plot compartment aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). Nimitz is en route to San Diego to embark Carrier Air Wing 11 as it prepares for a composite training unit exercise.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jess Lewis / Released

Operation Specialists (OS) function as plotters, radio-telephone and Command and Control sound-powered telephone talkers and maintain Combat Information Center (CIC) displays of strategic and tactical information. They operate surveillance and altitude radars Identification Friend or Foe (IFF), and associated equipment. They also serve as Air Traffic Controllers for helicopters and fixed-wing supersonic jet aircraft. OS Sailors serve as watch supervisors and section leaders; interpret and evaluate presentations and tactical situations and make recommendations to supervisors during watch conditions. They apply a thorough knowledge of doctrine and procedures applicable to CIC operations contained in U. S. Navy Instructions and Allied or U.S. Navy Publications and procedures necessary for radar navigation contained in Naval Oceanographic Office publications. OSs provide to the command technical information and assistance related to Anti-Surface Warfare, Anti-Air Warfare, Anti-Submarine Warfare, Amphibious Warfare, Mine Warfare, Naval Gunfire Support, and search and rescue operations, and other matters pertaining to the Operations Specialist's area.

The duties performed by Operations Specialists include:

  • plot a ship's position, heading, and speed;
  • operate common marine electronic navigation instruments including radar systems;
  • provide target plotting data to the combat information center based on information received from target tracking devices.

Working Environment

Operations Specialists usually work in a clean, air-conditioned electronic equipment space or computer room, and frequently perform their work as part of a team, but may work on individual projects. Their work is mostly mental analysis and problem solving. USN OSs are stationed primarily aboard USN deploying ships, FTS OSs are stationed aboard Naval Reserve Force (NRF) ships that deploy or conduct local operations. Upon completion of the course, OSs will be able to plot a ship's position, heading, and speed; operate common marine electronic navigation instruments including radar systems; and provide target plotting data to the combat information center based on information received from target tracking devices. Since Navy programs and courses are revised at times, the information contained on this rating card is subject to change.

A-School (Job School) Information

Virginia Beach, VA -- 61 calendar days

ASVAB Score Requirement: VE + MK + CS = 157 or AR + 2MK + GS = 210

Security Clearance Requirement: Secret

Other Requirements

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

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

Much of the above information courtesy of the Navy Personnel Command

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