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Your Career

Career Navigator: Career Waypoints

Plotting Your Career

Career Navigator was launched June 3 and is designed to help Sailors make informed decisions about their career. This is a major shift from the way the Navy has done business in the past because it puts career management tools at Sailors fingertips.

The Navy wants to spread the word about these policy changes which is why Navy Personnel Command is deploying their fleet engagement team to talk to Sailors about the changes. These experts recently visited Norfolk to tell Sailors, their leaders and their families everything they need to know about one of the most important parts of Career Navigator; Career Waypoints Reenlistment or C-Way.

C-Way reenlistment deals with Sailors E-3 through E-6 with less than 14 years of active duty.

"Career waypoints are, in a nautical term, if a sailor is navigating his or her career, there are different avenues to take or different waypoints to reach, to make that career decision," said Capt. Bruce Deshotel, the head enlisted community manager at the Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS) in Millington, Tenn.

C-Way is a sub-program of Career Navigator and Sailors will recognize some of the processes and language from PTS.

"[It's] basically the reenlistment authorization, lateral conversion authorization, the reserve to active component, the active component to reserve, and the ability for reservists to request lateral conversion," said Chief Personnel Specialist Christie Cole, Career Waypoints leading chief petty officer. "It's all contained in Career Waypoints."

The Navy has programs like C-Way to have the right Sailors in the right jobs at the right time. Cole compared the process to a bag of chocolate candy.

"If I have a 200 count bag of M&Ms and I have 60 reds but I only have 3 blues, I need to somehow change those reds to blues," said Cole. "It's the same concept. I may have 322,000 Sailors in the Navy but if out of those I need 2,000 of them to be PR's , if I only have 1200 and I need 2000, where's that other 800 going to come from? Well, that's going to come from another rating that maybe has 3500 and only needs to have 300."

Career Waypoints isn't just a new name for an old program. The principle of PTS remains but Cole says C-Way is a lot more Sailor friendly.

"They get faster answers and they can make more educated career decisions at a sooner point," said Cole.

C-Way allows Sailors to make decisions sooner so they're not being faced with the challenges of rotating or separating on short notice.

"The differences are that we have mandatory applications at a Sailor's [projected rotation date (PRD) and soft end of active obligated service date (EAOS)]", said Cole. "The reason that the applications are set up the way they are is because nine months prior to a PRD, the Sailor's in their [detailing] window, so they're going to be communicating with their detailer for their next set of orders."

The way the C-Way process work is, in the 12 months before the PRD, a Sailor goes into their C-Way window, which means they can begin to request reenlistment. With commanding officers approval and in an open or balanced rating, a Sailor shouldn't have a problem getting approval through the system to reenlist before the 9 month mark prior to their PRD. If they don't get picked up for reenlistment, they remain where they are stationed until 13 months before their EAOS. Then they get the 3-2-1 options.

The 3-2-1 process begins 12 months before a Sailor's EAOS. They begin the process having three options: they can apply to reenlist in their own rate, convert to a different rate or transition to the reserve. The application receives four reviews. If it's not approved by the 10 month mark, the number of options is reduced to two; convert or go reserve. That application also receives four reviews. Once a Sailor hits the six month mark from their EAOS, they will only have the option to go reserve. That application is reviewed three times.

In general, every rating is manned differently and every Sailors situation is different. The C-Way was designed to be more user-friendly. In PTS, sometimes a Sailor didn't know they could reenlist until six months prior to their EAOS which put them within the "Needs of the Navy". That forced Sailors to fill critical billets whether or not it was their first choice.

"Now they know at 10 months prior, when they go to talk to their detailer and making applications in CMS-ID," said Cole. "They know that they're staying in-rate, and they know they'll be able to reenlist."

NPC is publishing a monthly manning snapshot on its website of all active enlisted ratings as well as full time support. Skillsets are divided into three categories: Open, for rates that are less than 98 percent manned, Balanced for rates that are between 98 and 102 percent manned, and Competitive for rates more than 102 percent.

Since the program is so new, Sailors can also be on the lookout for more online resources to help them see all of their career options, including an online Sailor portal scheduled for FY-14.

Another perk of C-Way is the vast majority of first class petty officers in open rates will receive instant approval on their first reenlistment application. Officials say that soon, some balanced rates will receive the same auto-confirmation for E-6s on the first application.

Deshotel said the enhancements to the Navy's enlisted career management system for Sailors, are like looking in a crystal ball.

"It shows them what they're up against; it shows them what the fleet is as a whole and how they fit in," said Deshotel. "It provides them information, that before, wasn't available to them without the career counselors."

The NPC fleet engagement team will give C-Way presentations on board several ships in San Diego at the end of Sep. 24-26 and plans to visit more fleet concentration areas before the end of the year. Cole said the visits aren't just to get the word out but also because they want to empower Sailors with the tools they need to succeed.

"You have to be in control of your own career," said Cole. "The more you educate yourself on the steps you need to take to elongate your career, the better off you are."

There are many resources out there for anyone with questions about Career Waypoints. The Career Navigator program is outlined in NAVADMIN 150/13. Visit the NPC website and click on Career Waypoints under Career Navigator. Sailors can also send their questions to or call 1-866-U-ASK-NPC to get their questions answered over the phone.