Navy Feeling Impact of High Retention, Low Attrition

Story Number: NNS090514-03Release Date: 5/14/2009 3:07:00 PM
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By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW) Maria Yager

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- The chief of naval personnel (CNP) talked with Sailors and civilians at the Navy's personnel and manning headquarters May 7 to discuss the future of the force and the hold on permanent change of station (PCS) moves throughout the summer.

"We started this fiscal year with an end strength of about 332,230 active-duty Sailors. We sit today at about 332,280 active-duty Sailors. We have stopped reducing the size of the force, and we are stabilizing in response to a strain placed on watch standers in the fleet and the individual augmentee demand," said Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson, CNP, during his visit to Navy Personnel Command.

The Navy has been reducing the size of the force for several years at a rate of approximately 10,000 Sailors annually, but according to Ferguson the time has come to level off.

"The cumulative effect of the (manpower) reductions over the last six to eight years and the increased individual augmentee demand demonstrated that if we hadn't pulled out of the force reduction glide slope, you would be experiencing more significant impacts than you are now," said Ferguson referring to the Navy's $350 million dollar budget shortfall which has in part impacted PCS transfers through the end of the fiscal year.

The other factor contributing to the hold on PCS moves was a change in the accounting system which requires the Navy to fund PCS orders when they are written versus when the orders are executed. This paired with record retention and fewer separations from attrition has slowed the number of Sailors leaving active duty and required the Navy to divert money for payroll instead of previously budgeted programs.

"Attrition is significantly down. So those individuals who may have terminated their service early are choosing to stay. We have a rare opportunity now with great morale, great compensation and stabilized end strength to shape the Navy of the future and retain the best Sailors with the right skills.

"Not all Sailors but the best Sailors with the skills we need will be retained through the Perform to Serve process," said Ferguson.

In the past months, the Navy has introduced several performance-based measures designed to help stabilize the force including controlling short-term extensions, time in grade waivers, senior enlisted continuation boards and Perform to Serve expansion. These programs allow the Navy to keep a balanced force based on experience, skill sets and seniority matched to the requirements.

"You are worth every penny and every benefit you have earned through your service. What we ask in return is a commitment to the organization -- performance. I think it is a pretty fair trade," said Ferguson.

For more information on force stabilization or PCS delays, visit the NPC website at

For more news from Navy Personnel Command, visit

Sailors from the reactor department reenlist in the forecastle the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73).
090508-N-6233C-059 PACIFIC OCEAN (May 8, 2009) Sailors from the reactor department reenlist in the forecastle the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). Fifteen sailors reenlisted with a combined Selective Reenlistment Bonus of more than $1.3 million dollars. George Washington is conducting flight deck certification and carrier qualifications in the western Pacific Ocean after completing its first Selective Restricted Availability. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Rachel N. Clayton/Released)
May 9, 2009
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