Strategic Sealift Midshipman Program (SSMP)



The Strategic Sealift Midshipman Program (SSMP) is a unique type of NROTC Unit that is only offered at the seven maritime schools, and has several key differences.  Upon graduation, the SSMP allows students earning a Coast Guard License to be directly commissioned as an officer into the Strategic Sealift Officer Program (SSOP), a specialized component of the Navy Reserve.  Formerly known as the Merchant Marine Reserve, the SSOP is a cadre of naval officers who are licensed merchant mariners with sealift, maritime operations, and logistics subject matter expertise.  The SSOP is called upon to provide integrated sealift operations in support of National Defense.

SSMP Midshipmen who commission into the Navy Reserve will have an eight year military service obligation.  The program also offers a limited number of opportunities to pursue an Active Duty commission.  These limited number of billets are based upon the current needs of the Navy and are not guaranteed.  If selected for Active Duty, the military service obligation is dependent upon the community.

Once commissioned into the Navy Reserve, Strategic Sealift Officer Program (SSOP) Officers serve in an Active Reserve status as either Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) or Selected Reserve (SELRES), with the majority of members falling under the Individual Ready Reserve.  Strategic Sealift Officers are reservists who serve on periods of active duty to support both afloat and shore-side military and reserve fleet operations that call for the training and experience of Merchant Marine Officers.  While most members of the SSOP work in the maritime industry in their civilian career, it is not a requirement of the program.

The following provides a brief overview of what a typical Midshipman can expect during their time in the Strategic Sealift Midshipman Program through commissioning.


Each semester (regardless of year)

  • Maintain both term and cumulative GPA greater than 2.5
  • Attend all routine Battalion events:
    • Military Lab (NS-1111, 0 credits): Mondays 1600 - 1800
    • Battalion Physical Training: Wednesdays 0600 - 0700
    • Military Drill and Rifle Training: Fridays 0600 - 0700
  • Support, as directed, additional scheduled Battalion events, such as:
    • Community service (typically one Saturday in a semester)
    • Battalion social events (typically one per semester)
    • Army vs. Navy flag football game (each fall)
    • Navy Birthday observance (each October 13th)
    • Open House events (as scheduled by the Academy)
  • Pass official Physical Fitness Assessment (minimum of Good-Low for 20-24 age group)
  • Complete Navy 3rd class swim qualification (repeat until qualified; successful qualification required to commission)
  • Complete Navy 2nd class swim qualification (repeat until qualified; successful qualification not required to commission)

First year students

  • Preliminary selections are made in September of Fall semester based on academic record and aptitude
  • Complete a DoDMERB physical examination to verify medical eligibility
  • Students must agree in writing to apply for, and accept if offered, a Reserve officer's commission
  • Complete participation in the Navy SSMP New Student Orientation (typically in October and separate from the Academy Orientation process)

Sophomore year

  • Pursue greater leadership roles within Battalion

Junior year

  • Begin active duty selection package, if applying
  • Pursue greater leadership roles within Battalion

Senior year

  • Complete all processing and apply for a commission
  • Pass the U.S. Coast Guard Unlimited License examination and meet all degree completion requirements.
  • Be commissioned at graduation as an Ensign in the SSOP, USNR or USN.
  • Must pass Navy physical fitness assessment and 3rd class swim qualification

Academic courses necessary in addition to degree requirements

  • NS-2111 - Naval Science for the Strategic Sealift Officer (NS-1)
    • Typically during First Year or sophomore year
  • NS-3111 - Strategic Sealift Officer (SSO) I
    • Typically during sophomore or junior year
  • NS-4111 - Leadership and Ethics
    • Must be taken during the fall semester of senior year
  • NS-4211 - Strategic Sealift Officer (SSO) II (Commissioning Seminar)
    • Must be taken during the spring semester of senior year

* These courses will satisfy free elective requirements.  NS-2111, NS-3111, and NS-4111 are 3.0 semester credit courses; NS-4211 is a 2.0 semester credit course.