Naval Careers Service

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The Naval Careers Service (NCS) is part of the Naval Service in the United Kingdom which also includes the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and the Reserve Naval and Marine Forces. NCS career advisers are responsible for the running of Armed Forces Careers Offices, providing career advice to potential recruits and managing their applications. When required, regular and reserve ranks and rates can be temporarily assigned to the service.

The Naval Careers Service processes applications to the Royal Navy (both Regular and Reserve), the Royal Marines and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.


The Naval Careers Service (NCS) was formed on 1 April 1963 when the Naval Recruiting Service was renamed. It is one of the four components of Her Majesty's Naval Service – alongside the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines and the Reserve Naval and Marine Forces – and is governed by the Admiralty Board of the Defence Council. The service is led by the Captain of Naval Recruiting. The service's personnel consist of former Royal Navy, Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marines and Royal Marines Reserve warrant officers, sergeants and petty officers. These personnel hold the named title of career adviser in the NCS of which there are three ranks – CA3, CA2, CA1 (in order of ascending seniority). Personnel wear the uniform conforming to the rank or rate they held in their regular service, with the addition of the NCS badge. Careers advisers are typically assigned to one of the 53 Armed Forces Careers Offices.

NCS members are subject to the Queen's Regulations, service law and the provisions of the Armed Forces Act 2006. Service members are classed as Full Time Reserve Service (FTRS) under the Reserve Forces Act 1996 and are subject to call-out (mobilisation) in addition to any liability they have as ex-regular service personnel (as recall reserve). NCS members are also entitled to the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal.

The NCS is by far the smallest of the four components of the Naval Service: in September 2017 it amounted to 180 full-time trained personnel. The Royal Navy had a strength of around 22,500 regular personnel and the Royal Marines around 6,600. The combined Royal Navy and Royal Marine reserves amounted to around 2,700 personnel.