Navy forms Strategic Sealift Officer Program
The U.S. Navy has transformed its Merchant Marine Reserve Program into the Strategic Sealift Officer Program (SSOP).
SSOP supports national defense sealift requirements and capabilities, which are carried out by the Navy's Military Sealift Command. The program provides the Navy with officers that possess sealift, maritime operations, and logistics subject matter expertise, and further hold U.S. Coast Guard credentials as merchant marine officers.
SSOP, like the former program, will continue to provide the capability for emergency crewing of sealift ships and shore-side support to Navy commands that require maritime expertise. Further, this change provides opportunities for greater operational support to the Navy by expanding selected reserve billets and active duty recalls to SSOP officers.
“The improved program aligns strategic sealift officers under MSC (Military Sealift Command) to provide the best use for their training as both Navy officers and licensed merchant marine officers,” said Rear Adm. Mark Buzby, Military Sealift Command head, in a statement. “It also expands training requirements to ensure that these officers are best ready for mobilization.”