WASHINGTON – The Navy is defying the odds – in a year where COVID-19 caused rippling effects worldwide, the Navy has again exceeded retention benchmarks in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020.
The news was announced in NAVADMIN 337/20 on Dec. 23, a message that also gave commands their new marching orders to nail down next year’s Retention Excellence Award.
Sailors in their first 10 years of service—Zones A and B—stuck around at reenlistment rates of 69 and 76 percent, respectively, well above the 57 and 67 retention percent benchmarks set at each level.
Zone C, those in the 10 to 14 year window, achieved a reenlistment rate of 85 percent, exceeding the 82 percent retention benchmark.
The Navy tracks retention behavior through its Navy Retention Monitoring System, the official Navy retention data repository. The Navy also uses the system to help identify commands who meet the annual requirements for the Retention Excellence Award (REA).
“Building upon the retention gains in the last few years, the Navy remains committed to retaining the right talent and experience in the right pay grades and ratings,” wrote Vice Adm. John B. Nowell, Jr., the Navy’s chief of naval personnel, in the message.
Along with the FY-20 success comes the news that the Navy’s targets for FY-21 will remain the same as those set for this past year.
As a result, the Navy-wide goals for Zones A, B, and C will again be 57, 67, and 82 percent, respectively. Also, the Zone A attrition target remains at 4.5 percent or less. Commands that meet or exceed these FY-21 retention and attrition benchmarks will be eligible for next year’s Retention Excellence Award, the message says.
Sustained high retention often comes with some unintended consequences. Nowell noted in the message that as the Navy has grown in recent years, “some enlisted ratings have become overmanned, creating imbalances in the fleet.” He is calling for commands to help the Navy keep talented Sailors, even if it means encouraging them to change ratings. It’s a move that can mean better community health for the Navy and in turn, increased advancement opportunities for Sailors.
“As we move into FY-21, the Navy will make a concerted effort to provide balanced enlisted ratings and improve community-rating health across the Fleet,” Nowell wrote.
“Leadership and engagement at every level is needed to sustain our level of retention, with a renewed focus on strengthening undermanned ratings and providing for expanded career progression opportunities for our Sailors.”
For the full NAVADMIN, visit https://www.navy.mil/Resources/NAVADMINs/Message/Article/2456234/fy-20-summary-of-retention-behavior-fy-21-retention-benchmarks-and-retention-ex/.
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