United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps

United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps
United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps
Type Congressionally chartered
Founded 1958
Location Arlington, Virginia
Key people Captain Michael Ford, USNR (Ret.)
Website Naval Sea Cadet Corps official website

The United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps (USNSCC or NSCC) is a congressionally chartered, U.S. Navy-based organization that serves to teach individuals 13 to 17 years old about the sea-going military services, U.S. Naval operations and training, community service, citizenship, and an understanding of discipline and teamwork. Another version of the NSCC, the Navy League Cadet Corps (NLCC), exists for youth between the ages of 11 and 13.



The NSCC was founded in 1958 by the Navy League of the United States at the request of the Department of the Navy. In 1962, the USNSCC was chartered under Title 36 of the United States Code as a non-profit youth organization with an emphasis towards the sea-going services of the United States.[1] The law was amended in 1974 to allow female participation in the USNSCC.

In 2000, the US Congress found that the NSCC and related programs "provide significant benefits for the Armed Forces, including significant public relations benefits."[2] Although under no service obligation, a sizeable percentage of cadets later enlist in the military. Members who obtain the pay grade E-3 or Seaman/Airman may receive an advanced paygrade of E-3 if they join the Navy or Coast Guard, and E-2 in the Marine Corps or other services, due to the training they receive. Former Sea Cadets also represent a percentage of students at the five federal service academies.


Sea Cadets in formation, Harvard, Illinois.

The Naval Sea Cadet Corps is officially supported by the Navy League of the United States, and is endorsed by the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, and United States Coast Guard. The United States Coast Guard, through COMDTINST 5728.2C, USCG Public Affairs Manual, has designated the USNSCC as the Coast Guard's primary youth program, rather than a JROTC.

The national headquarters of the NSCC is located in Arlington, Virginia. Captain Michael Ford, USNR (Ret.) is the Executive Director, the "Commander-in-Chief" of the USNSCC. There are six field areas in all. Each field is headed by an NSCC NHQ Representative, who is usually the grade of a Navy captain. Each field area may be further divided into regions, which are headed by a Senior Regional Director, who is an NSCC lieutenant commander (LCDR). Each region can have sub-regions, depending on the size of the area and number of units in that region. Each sub-region is headed by a Regional Director (RD), who is also an NSCC LCDR. Each RD will report to the Senior RD for any matters regarding the region and/or sub-regions themselves. RDs are also responsible to the NSCC NHQ Representative for matters regarding Petty Officer Exams, PO1 and CPO advancements, NSCC officer matters, and anything else that would be of importance to the NHQ Representative or to the Executive Director. Each sub-region may be composed of anywhere between two to ten units. For example, the Pacific Southwest Field Area is composed of Region 11 (covering Southern California and the Las Vegas area) and Region 12 (covering Northern California, and in Nevada, those areas north of Las Vegas). Region 11 itself is divided into 8 sub-regions, each headed by one Regional Director and their regional staff.

Each unit is required to have a complement of at least twenty-five cadets. They must be physically fit, have no criminal record, and have a good academic standard to become members. Each unit has a Commanding Officer and Executive Officer, and depending on the number of adult volunteers, may have other billets which cover different areas important to the operation of that unit. Some units have far more or far less than the required minimum, due to a vast array of recruiting issues. All units must have the minimum number of personnel in order to be commissioned into the NSCC.

Adult leaders are volunteers with myriad experience ranging from active/reserve/retired military personnel to civilian parents of cadets. Adult volunteers must be 18 years and older. NSCC officers, instructors, and midshipmen all must go through a thorough application process -- including a background check -- before they can be accepted as adult volunteers. High school graduates aged 18, up through adults aged 21 may serve as Midshipmen (MIDN). Midshipmen are technically NSCC officers, and are mostly former cadets, but can be ROTC, service academy, or other personnel with some type of experience relevant to the function of the NSCC and NLCC. Adults aged 21 years and older can serve as NSCC instructors, Warrant Officers, or officers (although Warrant Officer grade is reserved to military personnel with specific qualifications). Cadets who are 18 years old can elect to remain a Sea Cadet up through high school graduation until 30 September in the year of their graduation.

The United States Navy, United States Navy League, and the United States Coast Guard all support the NSCC by providing such resources as uniform assistance, use of military facilities, and assisting with training courses. Most support, however, comes from the volunteers and parents of the NSCC program. Most of the NSCC's funding has come from the enrollment fees of its cadets and officers, the Navy League of the United States, private sources, and through appropriations from the DOD's annual budget. In recent years, the NSCC has lobbied for, and obtained, through congressional support, between $1-2 million a year to offset the rising costs of supporting and running NSCC trainings.


Sea Cadets participating in EOD/MDSU training at Fort Story, Virginia.

Each new Sea Cadet must attend NSCC recruit training, which serves to introduce each "recruit" to the standards and routine involved in the life of a Sea Cadet. Military drill, customs and courtesies, physical fitness training, and other courses related to the sea-going services, are part of the demanding schedule of recruit training.

After graduating from NSCC recruit training, Sea Cadets have the opportunity to attend Advanced Training in many different locations and in many different fields, depending on their personal interests. Cadets must attend at least one Advanced Training each year in order to advance in rank. These training opportunities usually occur during the summer and winter breaks, but also may occur anytime throughout the year.

Advanced Training is held primarily at Navy and Coast Guard installations, and can range anywhere from five days up to three weeks in length. The training courses are coordinated and staffed by NSCC Officers and Instructors, and may have outside instructors from all branches of the Armed Forces, who are mainly made up of Active and Reserve Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard personnel.

These training activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Amphibious Operations Training
  • Shipboard Training with the Navy and Coast Guard
  • Navy Airman School
  • JAG Legal Training
  • MAA (Master At Arms, the Navy/Coast Guard equivalent to Military Police) Law Enforcement Academy
  • Petty Officer Leadership Academy
  • Construction School (Navy SEABEE)
  • Sailing School
  • Submarine Seminar
  • USN Seamanship Academy
  • Firefighting and Damage Control School
  • Port Operations
  • Honor Guard School
  • Medical School
  • Music School
  • Joint Special Operations Command Training
  • SEAL Training
  • EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Training
  • Field Operations Training
  • Homeland security training
  • Search and rescue training
  • Marksmanship training
  • SWCC (Special Warfare Combat Crewman) IE "special boats"
  • Maritime Interdiction
  • International Exchange Program
  • And locally arranged trainings
US Naval Sea Cadet EOD/MDSU Training - Norfolk, Virginia - 2006

Each of the NSCC and NLCC's 200 units [3] perform drills all around the United States during the school year. Some units have a weeknight drill of 2 - 3 hours, or drill for an entire day over the weekend twice a month, while others drill once a month for an entire weekend. Each unit's drill schedule is set by the unit Commanding Officer and depends on the location of the unit and availability of both adult staff and cadets. During the school year, nearby units often come together to participate in weekend trainings, including Field Training Exercises, Small Arms Training, Shipboard Training, and Regional Flagship Competitions.

The USNSCC owns a ship, the USNSCS Grayfox, homeported in Port Huron, Michigan.

The USNSCC also sponsors an International Exchange Program with other Sea Cadet programs around the world: exchange countries include the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Korea, Japan, Sweden, Hong Kong, Russia, and Bermuda.

Uniform and ranks

The Navy allows the NSCC and NLCC to wear the uniforms of the United States Navy, only modified with a distinguishing shoulder insignia. U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations are adhered to by both the NSCC and NLCC. Officer rank insignia are the same as the Navy's. Sea Cadet rate insignia are slightly different in design; the colors are changed to yellow, are in the form of chevrons (V-shaped), and are worn on the right sleeve. An exception relates to the Navy Working Uniform (NWU), where the rate insignia are worn on the cadet's collar and are slightly different from the US Navy collar devices.

Sea Cadet ranks follow the same path as of the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard, from E-1 (Seaman Recruit) through E-7 (Chief Petty Officer) (see United States Navy enlisted rates). All cadets have to take the Navy correspondence courses and pass Navy examinations to gain rank. They must have a minimum time served in each rank before moving to the next higher rank. All new Sea Cadets enter the NSCC as an E-1 (Seaman Recruit); detailed requirements for advancement are outlined below.

Officers must be at least age 21 (18 in the case of MIDN), obtain a waiver if older than 65, be a US citizen, and have successful completion of a background check. Officers must also meet height and weight requirements to wear the uniform, and military personnel (active and retired) are allowed to wear their military uniforms (see U.S. Navy officer rank insignia).

Advancement and promotion


Rank Correspondence Course Training Time in Rate Exam Approval Authority

Seaman Recruit/ SR


Seaman Apprentice / SA

Basic Military Requirements


NSCC Recruit Training (9-day or 2-week course) 3 Months in NSCC N/A Commanding Officer

Seaman / SN



10 Days (Two- 5 Day Non-Consecutive) Advanced Training 6 Months as E-2 N/A Commanding Officer

Petty Officer 3rd Class / PO3

Petty Officer 3rd & 2nd Class


10 Days (Two- 5 Day Non-Consecutive) Advanced Training 6 Months as E-3 PO3 Exam Commanding Officer

Petty Officer 2nd Class / PO2

Petty Officer 3rd & 2nd Class


10 Days (Two- 5 Day Non-Consecutive) Advanced Training, Must Graduate From POLA (Petty Officer Leadership Academy) 6 Months as E-4 PO2 Exam Commanding Officer

Petty Officer 1st Class / PO1

Petty Officer 1st Class


10 Days (Two- 5 Day Non-Consecutive) Advanced Training 6 Months as E-5 PO1 Exam NSCC Executive Director

Chief Petty Officer / CPO

Chief Petty Officer


10 Days (Two- 5 Day Non-Consecutive) Advanced Training

Staff RT (Effective 1 September 2008)

6 Months as E-6 N/A NSCC Executive Director

Adult officers

Rank Course Training Time in Service Other Requirements

Midshipman (MIDN)*

NSCC Officer/Midshipman Study Guide N/A N/A NSCC E-3 or above, JROTC, ROTC

Instructor (INST)

NSCC Officer/Midshipman Study Guide N/A N/A N/A
Warrant Officer

Warrant Officer (WO)

NSCC Officer/Midshipman Study Guide N/A N/A Must have reached E-6 or above in military

Ensign (ENS)

NSCC Officer/Midshipman Study Guide


N/A One year as MIDN or INST

One year in NSCC


Lieutenant, Junior Grade (LTJG)

OPD 201 One Advanced Training as an LTJG or 2 TWT’s for INST, WO 2 Years as ENS. (Waived for INST, WO)

3 Years Minimum NSCC Time in Service


Lieutenant (LT)

OPD 301 One Advanced Training as an LTJG or 2 TWT’s for INST, WO 3 Years as LTJG. (Waived for INST, WO)

6 Years Minimum NSCC Time in Service


Lieutenant Commander (LCDR)

N/A One Advanced Training as an LTJG or 3 TWT’s for INST, WO 4 Years as LT. (Waived for INST, WO)

10 Years Minimum NSCC Time in Service

1 Career TWT must be Recruit Training

See also


External references

Media related to United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps at Wikimedia Commons

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