The Perfect Soldier: Special Operations, Commandos, and the Future of Us Warfare by James F. Dunnigan
More Books by James Dunnigan
Dirty Little Secrets
A Few Good Nukes
Discussion Board on this DLS topic
by James Dunnigan
September 23, 2006
The U.S. Navy has a shortage of Captains (the naval
equivalent of Colonels), who are qualified to command a nuclear powered
vessel. The navy wants to have 130 of these captains on active duty (90
for subs, 40 for surface ships), but is currently 28 percent short. So
the annual bonus paid to nuclear qualified captains will be increased
from $12,500 to $22,000. That is expected to induce more captains to
stay on active service, and not retire. It's the unusually high rate of
retirements over the last few years that has caused the shortage.
Officers are eligible for retirement at half pay after twenty years of
service, or, after 30 years, they can retire at 75 percent pay.
To be a "nuclear qualified" naval officer requires a pretty high IQ
to begin with, and years of school and experience. With a booming
high-tech economy out there, these "nukes" have better economic
opportunities as civilians. Lower ranking nukes are seeing the same
opportunities, and the navy has a bonus program for them as well.