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In an organization as large and complex as America’s Navy, it’s critically important to manage the flow of news and information for the Navy, the media and the public. Public Affairs Officers (PAOs) choose the best media to deliver information, respond to reporters and provide vital insight to top-level Navy decision-makers.
As a Public Affairs Officer, you may:
Public Affairs Officers (PAOs) work with enlisted personnel in the Mass Communication (MC) rating to accomplish their missions. For enlisted opportunities in the MC rating, please click here.
Public Affairs Officers may serve anywhere there is an audience, from aircraft carriers, to shoreside bases and installations, to the Pentagon and other high-profile locations.
Serving part-time as a Reservist, your duties will be carried out during your scheduled drilling and training periods. During monthly drilling, PAOs in the Navy Reserve typically work at a location close to their homes.
For Annual Training, PAOs may serve anywhere in the world, whether on a ship at sea or bases and installations on shore.
Take a moment to learn more about the general roles and responsibilities of Reservists.
Prospective Public Affairs Officers must first attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Newport, Rhode Island, and then complete the Public Affairs Qualification Course at the Defense Information School in Fort Meade, Maryland, where they learn the fundamentals of public affairs, including military-media relations. This is followed by the intensive 10-day Public Affairs Expeditionary Course that is focused on the application of public affairs skills in the field.
Promotion opportunities are regularly available but competitive and based on performance. It’s also important to note that specialized training received and work experience gained in the course of service can lead to valuable credentialing and occupational opportunities in related fields.
Most of what you do in the Navy Reserve is considered training. The basic Navy Reserve commitment involves training a minimum of one weekend a month (referred to as drilling) and two weeks a year (referred to as Annual Training) – or the equivalent of that.
Before receiving the ongoing professional training that comes with this job, initial training requirements must be met.
For current or former Navy Officers (NAVET): Prior experience satisfies the initial leadership training requirement – so you will not need to go through Officer Training again.
For current or former Officers of military branches other than the Navy (OSVET), as well as for Officer candidates without prior military experience: Beginning October 1st, 2019, Officer Candidates will be required to attend the Officer Development School (ODS) in Newport, RI instead of the 12-day Direct Commission Officer School. ODS is a five-week program that provides a comprehensive and intense introduction to the responsibilities of Navy Staff Corps Officers. Here you will learn about the military structure of the U.S. Navy, its rich history of traditions and customs, leadership development and military etiquette. There may be an option for attendees to request to split the five-week program into two sessions.
Beyond professional credentials and certifications, Public Affairs Officers can advance their education by:
A four-year degree is required to work as a Public Affairs Officer. Candidates seeking this Officer position must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in a communications field, such as journalism, advertising, radio/TV, cinematography, speech, marketing, motion picture production, industrial relations or photojournalism.
All candidates must also be: U.S. citizens; willing to serve worldwide and qualified for sea duty.
General qualifications may vary depending upon whether you’re currently serving, whether you’ve served before or whether you’ve never served before.