Newly commissioned Ensigns entering the Nuclear Propulsion Pipeline initially report to Naval Nuclear Power School (NNPS) in Charleston, SC. NNPS is a 24 week school designed to teach students the fundamental theories involved with Navy nuclear propulsion plants. Subjects include thermodynamics, reactor principles and dynamics, radiological fundamentals, and electrical engineering.
After Nuclear Power School, officers are assigned to one of the Program's prototype propulsion plants or moored training ship for 26 weeks of additional classroom training and hands-on instruction. The Prototypes are located either at Nuclear Power Training Unit (NPTU), Charleston, SC or NPTU, Ballston Spa, NY. Here, students receive hands on instruction in an operational reactor plant. Each student qualifies as a propulsion plant operator, attaining extensive watch standing experience and a thorough knowledge of all propulsion plant systems and their operating requirements. Under the guidance of experienced operator/instructors, students learn to properly react to normal and casualty situations in an operational Naval nuclear propulsion plant.
The last stop before reporting to a submarine is a 12-week Basic Submarine Officer Course at Submarine School in Groton, CT. Here, officers receive comprehensive training on basic submarine system, including weapons, navigation, fire control, and auxiliary systems. Students will also learn how to drive a submarine, which includes extensive use of hydraulically controlled submarine simulators. The last portion of the school concentrates on the fundamentals of contact tracking. This includes proficiency in all of the plots used during a typical tracking scenario and an introduction to submarine tactics. During the school, students will be informed of their first submarine assignment. Following successful graduation, the officers will report to their first duty assignment.
Having completed all of the above training, officers report to their first submarine. This will either be a Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN), a Fast Attack Submarine (SSN), or a Guided Missile Submarine (SSGN). During a first tour of duty, an officer's primary responsibility is to become qualified on their sub's particular systems and procedures. Additionally, they will serve as division officers, being responsible for overseeing the day to day operations and equipment maintenance of their assigned division.