Strategic Sealift Officer Program 



  • Be a U.S. Citizen.
  • Meet Physical Standards specified by the U.S. Coast Guard for original licensing as an SSO.
  • Be at least 17 years old and not have passed your 25th birthday on the day of enrollment.
  • Meet the commissioning program eligibility requirements.


  • Maintain a cumulative college GPA of 2.5.
  • You must be majoring in Marine Transportation, Marine Engineering Technology, or the licensed track of Mechanical Engineering.
  • Complete NSC-100 Naval Science for the Strategic Sealift Officer (SSO), NSC 200 Naval Science for the Merchant Marine Reservist I, and NSC-400 Leadership and Ethics for the SSO.
  • Participate in a 2 hour Naval Science Lab once a week.

Physical Fitness

  • All program midshipmen must attain a performance level of "Good" on push-ups, sit-ups, and a 1.5 mile run on their physical readiness test per Navy standards.
  • All program midshipmen must participate in Unit-level physical training on Wednesday mornings.
  • All program midshipmen must qualify as a third-class swimmer.

Age Limitations

  • Age limit of 27 by June 30 of the commissioning year. Waivers are possible up to age 30 with prior military service.

  Career Path Obligations

  • Register with the Selective Service Registration Representative if required under the Military Selective Service Act (MSSA).
  • 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.
  • 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:
    1. 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
    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
    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
    4. By combining the service specified in sections (1), (2), or (3) above.
  • 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.