WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The recently announced enlisted retention board (ERB) will help the Navy achieve mandated end strength, the chief of naval personnel (CNP) said in an April 25 interview.
The ERB will eliminate overmanning in 31 ratings and will benefit high-performing Sailors in the long run by improving advancement opportunities. The Navy has witnessed improved retention over the past decade which can be attributed to factors such as work-life balance initiatives and improved recruiting. Additionally, the slow economic recovery has influenced many Sailors to re-enlist.
"We are attracting and retaining the highest quality force we've ever had and these Sailors are increasingly looking at the Navy as a great long-term career choice," stated chief of naval personnel, Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson. "With this sustained high retention, systems designed to help maintain the balance in our Force, particularly Perform-to-Serve, have become over-burdened. As a result, re-enlistment and advancement opportunities for our high-performing Sailors are being negatively impacted Fleet-wide."
The ERB will review Sailors in 31 of the most overmanned ratings and will look at performance to fill a specific number of retention quotas within competitive groups broken down by rating, pay grade and years of service. The board will value Sailors with proven performance in challenging billets, while Sailors with negative performance indicators such as convictions for drunk driving, declining performance evaluations, lost security clearances and non-judicial punishments will be less competitive for retention quotas.
By focusing on performance in addition to quotas, Navy reinforces its strategy to retain the best and brightest.
"In designing this board, we were determined to separate only those Sailors in ratings needed to rebalance the force and stay within our congressionally mandated manpower limits," Ferguson said.
Although the number directly affected by the ERB represents a small percentage of Sailors, the impacts will be felt across the force.
While Navy-wide advancement opportunities to E-5 declined modestly over the past several advancement cycles and E-6 opportunities remained relatively stable over the same period, opportunities to both E-5 and E-6 in the 31 ratings being considered have dropped steadily. Reducing overmanning in these ratings will result in career stability and will likely result in increased advancements in these ratings.
Not only will the ERB help stabilize advancement opportunity in the 31 ratings, currently undermanned ratings will benefit from the expanded conversion opportunity Navy leaders approved in advance of the board. Several factors that are normally mandatory for rating conversion, including maximum years of service, maximum paygrade, and minimum activity tour requirements, are being waived. This will allow the greatest opportunity for Sailors who would otherwise be board-eligible to ensure their continued service, while increasing manning in ratings that the Navy has been challenged to fill.
"Our Sailors are dedicated to serving their country, and this is why we are providing additional opportunities for them to convert into undermanned ratings ahead of the board," Ferguson said. "Sailors will see the benefits of increased manpower support in some critical areas."
Sailors chosen for conversion into the undermanned ratings listed in NAVADMIN 129/11 will be exempt from the board and will be given an opportunity to continue serving in areas of need for the Navy. The procedures for requesting conversion will be released by the beginning of May and applications will need to be received by June 15 to be considered.
A more balanced force - the goal of the ERB - will benefit the entire Fleet, Ferguson said.
"Improved advancement opportunities, expanded PTS re-enlistment quotas, and increased manpower support in needed ratings over the long term - these are the positive results," he said.
For more information on the ERB, as well as overmanned and undermanned ratings, read NAVADMIN 129/11 at http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/reference/messages/Documents/NAVADMINS/NAV2011/NAV11129.txt.
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