The Navy Full Time Support (FTS) Program

The Navy Full Time Support (FTS) Program

Image by Tim Liedtke © The Balance 2019

Navy Reservists are dedicated and diverse men and women of all ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities. They work to defend the nation while also working in a variety of careers as professionals of all kinds, and with a range of education levels. Typically, Naval Reservists are continuing their military service after serving active duty for less than 20 years.

However, some Reservists joined directly to the Reserves, received basic training, follow-on training, and like their former active duty counter-parts serve one weekend a month and two weeks a year. However, some programs allow for the Reservists to go active duty for a short period (weeks or months) or an extended period (years or full deployments). Depending on your skills and training, you may be eligible for more active duty time and be a part of the Full-Time Support Mission of the Navy.

Training the Navy Reserve With the FTS Program

Navy Full-Time Support (FTS) is a program that allows Navy Reservists to perform in positions as full-time active duty members, supporting the Navy Reserve Force. These members receive the same pay, allowances, and benefits as active-duty members. Often there are jobs in the military that are understaffed. Depending upon the deployment status or immediate requirement to have a fully trained member fill one of these empty billets, the Reservists can fill a need of the active-duty Navy. 

The purpose of the Full-Time Support (FTS) program is to train and administer the Navy Reserve. It is open to both male and female personnel. Enlisted FTS personnel serve in demanding billets both at sea and ashore, providing the support necessary to prepare Navy Reservists to deploy when needed. Often in times of war and deployment, the needs of the Navy grow, and critical job skills are a commodity. The Reservists can fill that role as well as build their military resume by deploying or filling an active-duty position stateside.

A related program, the Navy Individual Augmentee (IA) program allows Reservists to perform full-time active duty service in positions that support strategic objectives. Members may be chosen or volunteer to fill in for roles requiring specialized knowledge or skill sets. They could potentially fill needs outside the Navy in any of the service branches. 

Advantages for Navy Full-Time Support Members

The primary advantage of FTS over regular active duty is that FTS members generally spend longer in a single location (they are not re-assigned as often), and there are Navy reserve bases where these members can be stationed that are not normally available for active-duty sailors.

Enlisted FTS personnel may be assigned to:

  • Operational units, such as Navy Reserve Force ships and Reserve air squadrons.
  • Shore activities like Navy Operational Support Centers.
  • Major shore commands, such as the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Personnel Command, and the Navy Reserve Forces Command.

Enlisted Ratings Available in the FTS Program

The Navy calls their enlisted jobs "ratings." Similar ratings are placed into various "communities." Click on each rating designator to read a basic job description, as well as basic qualification criteria established to obtain the particular rating.

AC - Air Traffic Controller EN - Engineman
AD - Aviation Machinist’s Mate ET - Electronics Technician
AE - Aviation Electrician’s Mate HM - Hospital Corpsman
AM - Aviation Structural Mechanic HT - Hull Maintenance Technician
AME - Aviation Structural Mechanic (Safety Equipment) IC - Interior Communications Electrician
AO - Aviation Ordnanceman IT - Information Systems Technician
AS - Aviation Support Equipment Technician MR - Machinery Repairman
AT - Aviation Electronics Technician NAC - Naval Air Crew, 82xx
AW - Aviation Warfare Systems Operator NC - Navy Counselor
AZ - Aviation Maintenance Administrationman PR - Aircrew Survival Equipmentman
BM - Boatswain’s Mate PS - Personnel Specialist
CS - Culinary Specialist SK - Storekeeper
DC - Damage Controlman YN - Yeoman
EM - Electrician’s Mate  

Information derived from

The only negative news from the open FTS jobs in the Navy is that there is minimal opportunity for re-enlistment bonuses. And most of the needs for a position in the FTS are for E-6 and below sailors with less than 14-years of service. However, sailors above that threshold can submit an Enlisted Personnel Action Request 1306/7. Submit the request to change component re-enlistment to Navy Personnel Command’s Enlisted Active Programs Branch.