Navy Dads

Hello Everyone,

  Is there a backlog going on for security clearance for Nukes?

  My son initially had June 2017 as ship dates which is now been pushed to Dec 2017.  We are really worried about what he will do for 9 months and it also delays his career. 

  Thank you for your response.

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Security clearance backlogs should not affect ship date. If there is a backlog, it will delay them starting Nuclear Power School, but they can still complete A-School without a full clearance. There may be a delay in the initial background  investigation that everyone has to do. If something flagged that requires more investigation or there was error on the paperwork that was submitted (or it was incomplete) that could delay the process.

Thank you for your reply. I will talk with the recruit.

My son is in the same situation. He will be a Nuke. He signed his contract the end of January and his initial ship date was 4/27. He heard a few weeks back that it is now January when he ships. It seems to be in flux, so I told him he can't control it, but just keep training and get himself prepared for it. He has a lead on a job to keep him busy during this time as well.

It will happen when it happens, and I am still very proud of him.

My son ships next month, he has been in DEP for almost a year.  He opted for the later start so he could get a full year of college under his belt.  Having been through the nuclear pipeline, many years ago, I was able to steer him on the classes that would help him both in nuke school and to speed a degree along after he completes the program.  That being said I would recommend a good junior college to get some of his Gen Eds out of the way.  It will only help him in the long run, and get him ready for a different type of studying.

Chris, can you please share your advice on classes that can help in nuke school and to speed a degree after the program? It will be 100% helpful.

Thank you for your time and advice.

Thank you Karl. I wish him the best. Let us know when you have an update.

Karl Goetze said:

My son is in the same situation. He will be a Nuke. He signed his contract the end of January and his initial ship date was 4/27. He heard a few weeks back that it is now January when he ships. It seems to be in flux, so I told him he can't control it, but just keep training and get himself prepared for it. He has a lead on a job to keep him busy during this time as well.

It will happen when it happens, and I am still very proud of him.

As a former NPS instructor, it's my personal opinion that as long as the student is proficient in algebra with a little base knowledge in trig, extra classes in chemistry/physics/advanced math prior to nuke school are not necessary and won't really help them at all. Here's why.
All of the courses at NPS are developed and taught assuming the student is starting from square one. Adding to that, they are taught from a completely different point of view than a high school or college class. They are approached from an operational perspective vice the theoretical perspective that a high school or college class is taught. The students will be taught theory but only as it applies to the operation of the plant. I always said that we give them just enough theory to make them dangerous.
Also, the students are going to be expected to formulate answers to questions and solve problems a certain way, even if there is more than one "correct" way. This is an exercise in procedural compliance, which is a cornerstone of the Nuke Program. This is the biggest hang up most students with advanced knowledge of the subjects have. I never took a physics class before nuke school and I think I was better off for it. The only information I knew was what I was taught at NPS so I didn't have any "old habits" to get rid of. I taught Chemistry and one of the first things I told a new class when I picked them up was to take everything you learned about chemistry prior to nuke school and forget it. Again, these courses are like Chemistry 101. More like Chemistry 50.5.
All a student really needs to pass Nuke school is the aptitude to absorb a lot of information in a short amount of time and a good attitude. Honestly, I think attitude plays the biggest role, but that's a whole other discussion.


My personal experience is a little dated, I went through the pipeline in the mid 80's, I was discharged in 1997, and I received my Bachelor's degree in 2013 and will be finishing my Masters in Physics this fall.  When I went through the program it had not been officially evaluated for credits, unlike the program is today. 

The credits awarded for military service and the nuclear pipeline are pretty extensive.  The exact transferability of credits is up to the school and evaluating department.  That being said, most of the general education requirements are not covered in the pipeline.  The only exceptions to this are the science requirements and maybe the math. 

A great reference, not to be taken as written in stone is at Thomas Edison State University note that most of the courses listed are not going to be found at a typical 4 year school.  So they will give them credits, but not in a specific discipline. 

What I would recommend for classes pre-entry are English, English comp, Speech, a PE class wouldn't hurt (I needed 1 PE credit after my 13 years of service), humanities courses, arts courses, or social sciences, etc.

Depending on what your child's aspirations are related to a degree, and contrary to Scott Henry's comment above, I would also recommend math up to Calculus 3, physics 101, Chemistry 101, or other courses at the 100 level that would work them toward their future plan.  It may require that the student re-evaluate that knowledge based on how the Navy wants it interpreted, but I am a firm believer that too much knowledge is not a bad thing.  Not to mention that we are talking about different end points, my end point is a 4-year accredited degree, Scott is talking about getting through nuke school.

No matter the classes, no matter the long term desire, the fact that your child has been screened into the program means they have the intelligence, next is to figure out if they have the ability and mental toughness.  For many, I fell into this category myself, it was the first time and only time in my academic career that I was average, that can be a tough pill to swallow when your on the inside.

I hope this helps

"THANK YOU". I will keep everyone posted further.

"THANK YOU", excellent information. This does help ease us as parents. I have passed the information to my son and wife. I will keep everyone posted and be active in helping others the way I have been. Excellent Job!

My son had the same experience.  He when he signed his contract he was scheduled for a Jan 17 ship date.  Because his security clearance wasn't complete, they adjusted his ship date to Mar 17 and then May 17.  His clearance came through in early April and was asked if he could ship early.  He happily agreed and departed last week (26 Apr 17) for Basic Training.  It was frustrating, but patience paid off.

My son enlisted as a nuke in Oct '16. Was set to go to boot camp Aug 1. They told him yesterday that his security clearance isn't done so it will likely be October.
We contacted the nuke coordinator in St Louis to try to find out what was going on. He assured us there were no indications of problems, and they were likely just having trouble making contact with people they needed to talk to.
So we started asking all the people we gave them contact info for. NONE of them have gotten a call from the Navy yet.
His temp job ends July 31 because he told them he was leaving. We now have to figure out if and how he can find a job that he can work August and September.
He just got his drivers license so we are going to be paying a lot more in car insurance than we thought. He has agreed to pay us back when he starts getting paid by the navy because he will then be richer than us.
It's definitely disconcerting that things are moving so slowly. He's already been in DEP over 9 months.

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