Saturday, January 28, 2012

High Year Tenure

It comes as no surprise to most people that at some point, if you aren't promoting to the next rank, the Navy can boot you out. Most people have heard the "Make LCDR and get a retirement" speech. That comes about because the high year tenure for O-4s is exactly 20 years. From the officers perspective, this is job security. From the Navy's perspective, it may not always be a good thing.

Before Admiral Greenert took over as Chief of Naval Operations, I read an article in the Navy Times about how he wanted to lower the high year tenure for O-5s and O-6s. I found the transcript of the article here (jump down to page 19). What he is hoping to do is cut out a lot of officers that are simply hanging around waiting for retirement, in order to free up slots for officers coming up...or possibly eliminate those slots all together.

It comes as no surprise that this is now happening at the enlisted level. NAVADMIN 030/12 allows the Navy to boot E-2s after 4 years, and E-3s after 5 years. Oh by the way, if you were reduced in rank, this still applies (the full instruction is here).

What does this mean? Well, for starters, it is going to be easier for commands to get rid of non-performing junior enlisted. Anyone that messes up badly enough to be reduced in rank can be caught by this. The reductions for officers are going to start opening up slots on top for our younger officers to come up.

As a leader, you'll need to understand these changes:
- If you have a sailor screwing up, these changes can be to your benefit to separate him or her so that you can get someone new in your slot. Any violation that causes a reduction in rank can now also cause an involuntary separation.
- If you have a sailor that is non-performing (not doing their job, but not doing anything wrong), they are either going to make rank or be booted. If their non-performance holds them up from being promoted...then you and the Navy win.
- For officers, if you decide to hang around as an O-5 or O-6 and just get a sweeter retirement without adding any value to the Navy, you're going to have less time, and possibly be involuntarily cut (boards are already convening on such things)

The whole point is this: the Navy is clamping down. There was a time a few years back when you could fail the PRT, be over the body weight standard, not pass your exams, not meet career wickets...and if you had an important job, it would be overlooked. That's not happening now. The advice that many of these old-timers, who lived under those rules, will be wrong. You'll have to be paying more attention, and continually excelling at what you do.

For the top performers, this is good news. It means the fat is getting cut away. For guys in the middle, it means it's time to step up your game. And the ones on the bottom...heck, they never cared anyway.