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Become a Science Advisor

Office of Naval Research (ONR) science advisors have the highest level of fleet/force contact of any position at ONR Global. Significant technical and leadership experience should be gained by the candidate prior to applying for a science advisor position. Please follow the steps below to determine your level of interest in the program.

  1. Keep apprised of the various positions available.

    Although the majority of the science advisor positions are advertised in the fall as a result of the rotating appointments of the advisors, Fleet/Forces announces positions on an as-needed basis.

  2. Talk with a fleet/force program manager.

    Your program manager will be able to answer many of your immediate questions concerning fleet/forces, requirements (of your command and fleet/force), and potential vacancies that may be available. During their tour, science advisors remain employed by their home activity. As such, decisions regarding personnel action, travel regulations and relocation options are made by the home activity. Ask your program manager, or PM, to provide general information on various deployment modes (e.g., TDY, TCS, and PCS) and impacts on relocation issues (e.g., housing/real estate options, overseas allowances, dependent benefits, locality pay, tax implications). If you do not have a PM at your activity, feel free to contact Fleet/Forces. (Download a program manager listing.)

  3. Contact past and present science advisors.

    Science advisors who are serving in the field or those who have held previous assignments can provide details about the program and share valuable experiences with you. (Download a science advisors contact sheet.)

  4. Discuss long-term travel considerations with your PM and personnel office.

    The PM and your personnel office will be able to discuss the specific information regarding long-term travel, moving and other information (ask your PM for Fleet/Force's written guidelines on PCS/TCS/TDY).

  5. Talk to your family or those who may be accompanying you.

    Families or accompanying persons are important to fleet/forces and should be involved in decisions as early as possible. Please see a list of frequently asked questions for often-asked questions concerning assignments.

  6. Talk to your tax accountant or financial advisor relative to deployment requirements.

    Different tax regulations apply under PCS/TCS/TDY.

  7. Decide which position(s) to apply for based on your qualifications.

    Determine which position will best assist in developing your career, and apply for that position. Since this is a nationwide competition, we suggest you build your resume around your expertise in relation to the position, rather than the location of the position.

  8. Apply for the specific science advisor position(s) using the Department of Navy Civilian Human Resources' automated application process (Resumix), by the closing date posted on the announcement.
  9. Meet the requirements of your home activity and obtain a letter of nomination.

    The PM at your activity or your supervisory chain of command will review your resume. In addition, your activity may have internal processes and deadlines that you will have to meet before a nomination letter will be tendered. A nomination letter from the commanding officer or technical/executive director is required for selection consideration.

  10. Prepare for your interview.

    It is expected that all candidates thoroughly prepare for their science advisor interview. Candidates will be required to show that they possess knowledge and understanding about DoN, ONR, fleet/forces, and have a firm understanding of how science advisors fit into the overall picture. Candidates should consider reading the science advisor monthly reports (ask your PM), visiting the various websites, reading publications, completing a detail or rotation within the Naval Research Enterprise (particularly S&T) to gain additional exposure, and/or taking a relevant class to obtain the required knowledge of the naval/joint warfare commands.

  11. Interview at fleet/forces.

    Candidates that have been nominated and referred to the selecting official for further consideration may be invited to an interview.

  12. Interview with the fleet.

    Fleet/forces will "formally" nominate the selected candidates to the appropriate commands. Multiple candidates may be nominated to a command. The receiving command will have the option of interviewing the nominees and selecting the person that they feel is best qualified.

  13. Participate in orientation.

    After the selection, a formal five-tier (pass/fail) training plan is provided for nominees. All steps of this training must be satisfactorily completed, and the proper security clearance level must be obtained before official deployment as a science advisor.

  14. Deploy.