An engineering duty officer (EDO) is a restricted line officer in the United States Navy, involved with the design, acquisition, construction, repair, maintenance, conversion, overhaul and disposal of ships, submarines, aircraft carriers, and the systems installed aboard (weapons, command and control, communications, computers). As of August 1, 2016, there are approximately 835 engineering duty officers on active duty in the U.S. Navy, representing approximately 2 percent of its active-duty commissioned officers (and approximately 400 engineering duty officers in the Navy Reserve).
The engineering duty officer community provides experienced naval engineers to provide technical advice and leadership . EDO's are involved with the design, acquisition, construction, repair, maintenance, conversion, overhaul, and disposal of ships, submarines, and the systems installed aboard. EDOs are unique to the Navy because they start their careers as URL officers. First, prospective EDOs learn how to operate ships or submarines. Next, all EDOs obtain technical/engineering Master's degrees. Then, as engineering duty officers, they assume technical leadership roles.
As line officers of the Navy, EDOs wear an inverted gold star above their rank stripes on both their dress blue uniforms and on their shoulder boards. In virtually all respects, their uniforms are indistinguishable from their Unrestricted Line (URL) counterparts. The two predominant sources of new EDOs are by Lateral Transfer from another URL designator or by choosing to exercise their Engineering Duty Option granted upon commissioning. For active duty URL Officers, a requirement for Lateral Transfer, or for exercising an Engineering Duty Option, is the completion of either Submarine Warfare or Surface Warfare qualification. Therefore, the vast majority of EDOs wear the same Submarine Warfare or Surface Warfare insignia as their URL counterparts.
A small number of EDOs not previously qualified as submarine warfare officers can volunteer for the Engineering Duty Dolphin Program, and by successfully completing it, earn their Submarine Engineering Duty insignia.
The EDO qualification insignia was approved in June 2017. Taking the same form as other warfare or qualification devices, it is a metal or embroidered chest device worn on the left side primary or secondary position of the uniform. Once qualified, EDOs can wear this insignia according to U.S. Navy uniform regulations (December 22, 2017). Warfare-qualified EDOs have the option of wearing the EDO insignia in the secondary position since warfare devices take precedence over the EDO qualification insignia.
Current EDOs serve in one of several career fields, including:
The importance of engineering duty officers in United States Navy history is memorialized in a bronze bas-relief by American sculptor Antonio Tobias "Toby" Mendez , on the sculpture wall at the United States Navy Memorial in Washington DC, entitled "Engineering Duty Officers – 'Sharpening the Point of the Spear.' " This is one of 26 such reliefs along the southern hemisphere of the Granite Sea at the Navy Memorial, which commemorate events, personnel, and communities of the various sea services.