What is a Division Officer (DIVO) in the Navy?

Last Updated on September 12, 2023

If you’ve ever considered a career in the U.S. Navy or just wanted to know more about the organizational structure, you’ve probably heard the term “Division Officer.”

While the title may sound straightforward, the role is far more comprehensive than the name suggests.

The Navy Division Officer is a crucial position within the United States Navy, responsible for leading and managing a division of enlisted sailors.

They handle the day-to-day operations, training, and welfare of their division, ensuring that it is ready and capable to fulfill its mission.

Becoming a Navy Division Officer requires a combination of education, training, and experience.

It is a challenging and demanding role that requires strong leadership, problem-solving, and communication skills.

In this article, we will explore the key aspects of being a Navy Division Officer, including the responsibilities, qualifications, and career opportunities associated with the position.

Whether you are considering a career in the Navy or are simply curious about what it takes to be a Division Officer, this article will provide valuable insights into this important role.

Who is a Division Officer?

Navy Division Officer DIVO - Image 704X396

A Division Officer (DIVO) in the Navy is a mid-level management position held by a commissioned Navy officer.

They lead and manage a specific group or “division” within a ship, squadron, or shore-based unit.

Generally, a Division Officer holds the rank of Ensign, Lieutenant Junior Grade, or Lieutenant.

Division Officers are important to the Navy because they are the glue that holds the organization together.

They build teamwork, ensure safety, and provide direction to their sailors.

The Responsibilities

  • Personnel Management: Overseeing the welfare, discipline, and professional development of the enlisted personnel within their division.
  • Operational Management: Planning and executing specific tasks for their division, ensuring that operations align with the overall mission.
  • Administrative Duties: Managing records, reports, and correspondence for the division.
  • Equipment Maintenance: Ensuring that all equipment under the division’s purview is operational and in good condition.


To become a Division Officer, you typically need a Bachelor’s degree and must complete the Officer Candidate School (OCS). Other commissioning paths, like Naval Academy or NROTC, also prepare you for the role.

Once you check-in to your first command, you must complete the Division Officer Leadership Course (DOLC). This is a two-week course designed to teach you the basics of personnel management and naval operations.

You will also have to attend professional development courses from time to time, such as Advanced Naval Leadership and Management or Shipboard Damage Control Training.

Newly assigned Division Officers must complete a Personnel Qualification Standards (PQS) upon taking over the role.

Why the Role Matters: The Backbone of the Navy

The Division Officer is an indispensable part of the Navy’s operational efficiency.

They’re the glue holding together the enlisted personnel and senior leadership, facilitating a smoother chain of command and communication.

Their effectiveness directly impacts mission success rates and overall unit cohesion.

DIVOs also coordinate closely with the Chief’s Mess , who manage enlisted personnel. The result is an operationally efficient and harmonious working relationship between the two groups.

Division Officers lead the way in naval operations, and their leadership sets the tone for success.

Division Officers on a Destroyer: An Example

On a Navy Destroyer, you will typically find several Division Officers in charge of different sections. These are some of the key Division Officers you would encounter:

  • Operations Officer (OPS): Responsible for managing the ship’s navigation and CIC (Combat Information Center).
  • Weapons Officer (WEPS): Manages the armament and weaponry systems.
  • Engineering Officer (CHENG): Oversees the mechanical and electrical systems, ensuring they’re in operational condition.
  • Supply Officer (SUPPO): Takes care of provisioning, food service, and financial transactions.
  • Communications Officer (COMMO): Manages the ship’s internal and external communication systems.
  • Damage Control Assistant (DCA): In charge of the ship’s damage control and firefighting efforts.
  • Electronics Material Officer (EMO): Handles the electronic systems and their maintenance.

Each of these officers plays a crucial role in ensuring the destroyer is always mission-ready.

The Path to Becoming a Division Officer

Education and Training

  • Bachelor’s Degree: A 4-year degree from an accredited institution is required. Some specialized roles may require specific degrees.
  • Officer Candidate School (OCS): A 12-week program designed to train future officers.
  • Specialized Training: Depending on the specific role, additional training may be required, such as attending Surface Warfare Officers School.

Career Advancement

After serving as a Division Officer, the next step is a Department Head position, leading multiple divisions.

Further advancement can lead to roles like Executive Officer and, eventually, Commanding Officer.

A successful DIVO tour is a great foundation for climbing the ranks in the Navy.

Day in the Life of a Division Officer

Ever wondered what a typical day looks like? Here’s a snapshot:

  • Morning Briefings: Catch up with senior leadership and outline the day’s tasks.
  • Operations: Lead the team in executing assigned duties.
  • Training: Conduct or supervise training sessions.
  • Administrative Tasks: Paperwork, evaluations, and communications.
  • Evening Debrief: Summarize the day’s achievements and set objectives for the next day.

The Challenges and Rewards

The Tough Stuff

  • High Stress: Division Officers often work long hours and must make quick decisions.
  • Personnel Management: Leading a diverse group of personalities can be challenging.

The Payoff

  • Leadership Experience: Few roles offer such immediate leadership opportunities. DIVOs usually have a lot of responsibility and are expected to set an example for the entire crew.
  • Job Security: The role is essential, offering long-term career potential. This position offers the opportunity to progress up the ranks of the Navy.
  • Skill Development: The variety of tasks and responsibilities ensures you’ll never stop learning. The skills you learn as a DIVO will be invaluable for the rest of your career.

Closing Thoughts

Becoming a Division Officer in the Navy is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a role that demands both technical proficiency and leadership skills.

However, the rewards—both tangible and intangible—are significant. You gain not just a job, but a vocation, a chance to be part of something greater than yourself.

So, if you’re drawn to the sea and the allure of leadership, consider charting a course towards becoming a Navy Division Officer.

It’s a journey that promises both challenges and the rewards that can define a lifetime.

Scroll to Top