APRIL 13, 2016, STENNIS, Miss. (NNS) – Days of tight budgets and increased operational pressures have led to greater Naval Reserve Information Warfare Community integration and alignment with active duty assets.
For Naval Oceanography, that means additional reserve billets to support the active component.
The Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Reserve Activity, reserve companion of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command is adding 35 billets to a total oceanography reserve force of approximately 300 — an increase of more than 10 percent.
“We are excited by the opportunity and the increased capacity that these billets will give us,” said Capt. Diane Boettcher, NMORA commanding officer. “This will enhance the reserve contribution to Naval Oceanography and the Navy.”
NAVMETOCCOM Total Force Management Assistant Chief of Staff and Operational Support Officer Cmdr. Anthony Garrett noted the new billets, 34 enlisted and one officer will consist of ratings and specialties mostly outside the oceanography disciplines. Meteorology and oceanography units typically consist of aerographer’s mates, the Navy’s enlisted oceanography and meteorology Sailors, and oceanography officers.
NAVMETOCCOM secured the new billets to address new oceanography support requirements, such as Fleet Survey Team’s Maintenance and Materials Management program, and IT needs at Fleet Weather Center Norfolk and Fleet Weather Center San Diego.
Garrett said he will structure the billets this summer and that they should be available for application and fills by Oct. 1.
He said NAVMETOCCOM has long had needs in information technology and 3M (maintenance and material management). Consequently, the selected enlisted ratings include intelligence specialist, construction mechanic, information systems technician, yeoman, boatswain’s mate, engineman, electronics technician and logistics specialist. The officer billet will be filled by someone holding an information professional designation.
Garrett said the billets will not necessarily be limited to the traditional reserve role of one weekend a month and two weeks a year.
The realignment gives NMORA six O-5 commanders, including three new ones. The new billets realign more closely to match NAVMETOCCOM organizational responsibilities, which in turn will better support Naval Oceanography and the Information Warfare community. Reservists will also begin standing watches at the NAVMETOCCOM Maritime Command Operations Center.
“The greater use of reserves is happening in the Naval Information Forces domain, and in broader work with joint commands and agencies,” said Naval Information Force Reserve Liaison Officer to NAVIFOR Capt. Kirk Luker. “There are not enough of us to meet all of the needs.”
NAVMETOCCOM has long used and operated unmanned underwater vehicles and is recognized as the Navy’s expert in the operational use of the technology. Unmanned technology in the Navy is assuming a larger operational role, which brings with it new requirements that reservists can help fill.
Luker said NAVIFORES, with about 7,400 officer and enlisted members, is the only Navy reserve group that is growing along with special warfare. Increasingly, he said, commanders are turning to reservists to fill gaps generated by tight budgets and increasing requirements, and reservists with greater capabilities and training have been up to the challenge.
“They’ve done a great job; progressively more and better,” he said.