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Navy Public Affairs Officer Program (PAO)

Public Affairs Officer Candidate School Program

The basic requirements for selection to the Public Affairs Officer Candidate indoctrination (Officer designator 1650). Program leads to appointment on active duty as an Navy Ensign. Those selected will attend Officer Candidate School at Officer Training Command Newport, RI, followed by the Public Affairs Qualification Course (PAQC) at the Defense Information School (DINFOS), Fort Meade, MD.

PAO Officer Qualifications

Applicants must be a citizen of the United States. Must be at least 19 years old and not have passed their 42nd birthday at the time of commissioning. Prior qualifying service will be considered for year-for-year credit up to age 50.


Applicants must have a minimum of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.8 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Post graduate education is preferred but not required.

Desirable fields of study include: Broadcasting, Communications, English, Journalism, Marketing, Public Relations, Speech or related field. Other liberal arts degrees and experience in a communication field will be considered.

Test Scores/Certifications: A minimum score of 40 on officer aptitude rating.

Work Experience

Military or Civilian work experience should be similar to desirable fields of study, as discussed above.

Military experience will only be validated by submission of an applicant's service record that must include all performance evaluations, positions held and military training and education attended/completed. Also include documentation concerning any previous military service discharge.

Civilian applicants should include a resume highlighting experience related to public affairs.


Applicants must be physically qualified in accordance with the physical standards established by the Manual of the Medical Department, Chapter 15. Candidates must meet the physical fitness weight and/or percentage of body fat standards at the time of application and at time of commissioning.


Applicants must submit three interview appraisals as part of their application. At least one interview must be conducted by a Navy active duty, Reserve or retired Public Affairs Officer, in the grade of 0-5 or above. The second interview must be conducted by a Navy active duty PAO in the paygrade of 0-4, if a Navy active duty PAO is not available this can be waived by the OCM. The third interview may be conducted by any Navy officer in the paygrades of 0-5 or above.

Endorsements by senior officers or senior enlisted, active duty, reserve, or retired nay be included with the application.

Portfolio: Applicants must submit a portfolio to include but not limited to stories, photographs, speeches, communication plans and/or any marketing material.


Civilians and enlisted applicants in paygrades E-4 or below, who are selected for this program are designated officer candidates and advanced to paygrade E-5 upon reporting to OCS. Enlisted applicants in paygrades E-5 and above are designated officer candidates in their present paygrades.

Active Duty Obligation

Selectees would incur a four-year obligation from date of appointment. The obligation commences upon commissioning. The balance of service, sufficient to complete eight years of total obligated service may be served in a ready reserve status.

Pay and Allowances

Upon commencing Officer Candidate School, selectees will receive pay and benefits based on paygrade outlined above under the "Enlistment" header.

Information obtained from Navy PAO Program Authorization 103 dated April 2019. See an Officer Recruiter for further details.

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