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22/02/24: Navy pulls trigger on new robotics warfare specialist rating

Robotics warfare specialists will be the Navy's subject matter experts for computer vision, mission autonomy, navigation autonomy, data systems, artificial intelligence and machine learning for uncrewed and autonomous platforms.




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The Navy is officially establishing a new “robotics warfare specialist” general rating as the sea service steams ahead in its pursuit of new maritime drones, according to a NAVADMIN announcement released Thursday.


Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti hinted at such a move last week at the WEST conference in San Diego.

“We’re exploring the establishment of a new rating, a robotics rating to build and develop a team for the next generation — a team who has the reps and sets in sensors, platform autonomy and mission autonomy programs, and who can provide input and machine learning feedback processes,” she said.


The CNO and other Navy leaders are pursuing a so-called “hybrid fleet” of crewed and uncrewed systems enabled by AI capabilities and other supporting technologies. The sea service is pursuing a variety of new drones and has been experimenting with unmanned aerial vehicles, surface vessels and undersea vehicles in multiple theaters.


“RW Sailors will enable Robotic and Autonomous System (RAS) operations and maintenance at the tactical edge. RWs will be the subject matter experts for computer vision, mission autonomy, navigation autonomy, data systems, artificial intelligence and machine learning on our RAS platforms,” according to the NAVADMIN announcement from Franchetti.

The new rating will initially be limited to a “small and highly selective” group of active-duty sailors, with the primary source ratings for robotic warfare conversions coming from personnel currently or previously assigned to billets in unmanned vehicle divisions and sailors who have earned applicable Navy Enlisted Classification codes.


“E-4 through E-9 Active Duty Sailors meeting those criteria may submit an Electronic Personnel Action Request (NAVPERS 1306/7) to the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Enlisted Community Management Division (BUPERS-32),” per the announcement.

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