Questions about the SSOP (Strategic Sealift Officer Program)


I’m confused about the obligations after graduation.
From the CSUM site -
Career Path Obligations

[li]Register with the Selective Service Registration Representative if required under the Military Selective Service Act (MSSA).
If required?

[li]Maintain a license as a deck or engineering officer with the U.S. Coast Guard for at least six (6) years following the date of graduation from the Academy.
Pretty self-explanatory.

[li]Serve the foreign and domestic commerce and the national defense of the United States for at least three (3) years following the date of graduation from the California Maritime Academy as:
[HR]/HR As a Strategic Sealift Officer serving on vessels documented under the laws of the U.S. or on vessels owned and operated by the U.S. or by a state or territory of the U.S. or
So working for the Military Sealift Command basically, right?
(2) As an employee in the U.S. maritime industry, profession, or marine science (as determined by the Secretary of Transportation), if the Secretary of Transportation determines that service under item (1) is not available to me, or
Does the bolded part above mean that this is only available if I can’t be an SSO for some reason? I don’t think I’d like working for the MSC.
(3) As a commissioned officer on active duty in an armed force of the U.S. or in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for at least five (5) years, or
By combining the service specified in sections (1), (2), or (3) above.

[li]Unlike other commissioning programs, members of SSO are not required to complete active duty service. Program midshipmen, however, have the option to request an Active Duty Commission. Active duty officer commitments are based upon the community entered such as Surface Warfare, Aviation, Submariners, Special Ops (SEALs), Intel, as well as Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force, or Army.
How competitive is getting a commission as an officer and how does this work? I’m confused about the options here. Can you do any of them or only if number (1) isn’t available to you? Regardless of the path chosen, are grads of the program SSOs? SSOs are officers in the Naval Reserve, correct? Does that mean you are part of the military and receive military benefits/pay? And how would that work if you decided to get an officer commission for a separate branch?


Ok I’ll do my best to help on this since its been months. I’m guessing you got it figured out by now but here it goes. I was in the SSOP program for a few months at GLMA and only have limited information. It may be inaccurate for your specific application so please ask the academy to help clarify everything.

1.If required. Are you male? If yes then its required if no then its not.
2.Maintain license for 6 years just means you have to renew it once essentially. It expires after 5 years so you have to keep it active and renew.
3.Yes you are a commissioned officer upon graduation in the Navy reserve under the MSC. At GLMA(where I attend) it was an 8 year commitment where you need to work for MSC for two weeks a year.
This sounds like a 3 year agreement to work for MSC or USA directly. So at GLMA we didnt have to work for MSC or the government but we would have to work on US flagged vessels for 5 years and stay in the reserve for the full 8. So you forgo that bu working directly for MSC. If and only if there isn’t any available jobs meeting that description you can work in the industry on US flagged vessels. Odds are there are openings in MSC and you be obligated to do 3 years there. Commission as an officer is going to happen so long as you pass all physical(PT tests, like 50 push ups in two minutes), SSOP, and academy standards through out your time there. Yes you would be apart of the Navy reserves and all benefits given to reserve personnel would be given to you. If you decided to work for another branch during the first 3 years it would have to be an agreement with the SSOP.

I hope in some way that helped. If not then maybe someone else can correct me. Most people on forums love to correct people even more so than answering the question in the first place. :rolleyes: Good luck!