Limited duty officer

Limited Duty Officer

Limited duty officer

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A Limited Duty Officer (LDO) is an officer in the United States Navy or United States Marine Corps who was selected for commissioning based on his/her skill and expertise, and is not required to have a bachelor's degree. They are employed in situations where it is desirable to have an officer with strong, specific technical knowledge and seasoned leadership. Per Title 10, US Code, an LDO is a permanent commissioned officer appointed under section 5589 in a permanent grade above chief warrant officer, W-5, and designated for limited duty.


LDOs perform similar tasks as those of the Warrant Officer (WO), but the formal definition differences are subtle and focus on the degree of authority and level of responsibility, as well as the breadth of required expertise. The term "Limited Duty" refers not to an LDO's authority, but rather the LDO's career progression and restrictions. Historically an LDO, prior to World War II, could only advance as far as lieutenant. Later an LDO could be promoted to commander and, in the Marine Corps, the senior LDO rank is Lieutenant Colonel. In the 1990s the ceiling in most U.S. Navy communities was raised to captain.

The LDO/WO motto is "sursum ab ordine" which means "up from the ranks" to underline a distinction between them and officers commissioned directly from collegiate programs such as the U.S. Naval Academy, Naval ROTC, and similar pre-commissioning officer candidate programs of the Navy and Marine Corps....
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