Sunday, November 4, 2012

Incoming personnel

I remember having to watch a movie called "The first 72 hours," which detailed a new sailor checking into a command, and how his chain of command basically blew him off, so that the only person that helped him was a stereotypical "bad" sailor. The movie was supposed to remind us (as future division officers) that we had to watch out and ensure that new sailors got checked in and had a good start on their jobs.

At a small command, this isn't too hard, since you normally know when you've got people coming in. When you get to a giant shore command of over 1000 people, this actually becomes a challenge. Big commands typically have a manpower manager, and you should know that person by name. It's best to do a monthly check with the manpower manager on the status of incoming personnel for your division. You might find some ugly surprises, such as:

- A sailor continues to be detailed to you, but isn't physically qualified to do the job
- A sailor fails out of an important school, but is still being sent to you
- A sailor has reported to your command, but is taking his/her sweet time checking in

Another benefit of knowing about personnel early is that often times they have gaps in their orders, where they will report TDY to a PSD. Typically, the command that they are at will use them to sweep floors and do other minor tasks, but if you ask, you can normally send them to school or have them complete some online courses. A great resource for this is the CETARS website, which has course availability at most Navy schoolhouses:

(CAC enabled)

The earlier you know about a sailor coming to you, the more you can influence the process of them arriving, meaning you can wind up with a more qualified sailor and less issues to deal with early on.