Monday, February 4, 2013

Your FITREP debrief

(Thanks to for the comic)

So you finally get to sit down with the CO and do a FITREP debrief. So, what sorts of questions should you ask?

Well, start with the numbers:

- Why am I where I'm at as compared to the Summary Group Average?
- Why am I where I'm at as compared to your Reporting Seniors Average?

Summary Group Average (SGA) is everyone else being evaluated. If you're above, then you're in the top 50%. If you aren't, then you're not. Reporting Seniors Average (RSA) is a bit more important. Being above the RSA is looked upon as a good thing on a selection board.

Not all reporting seniors keep track of their averages. Be sure to know where you fall out.

If you're below the average, is it because you're new? Because you're junior? Or because you really didn't perform well? If you're above, is it because of great performance, or did you happen to get graded in a cycle when someone got a DUI and an SP?

Then, go to what you did:

- Was your CO happy with what you accomplished?
- Where did you take on a project and fail?
- Where did you not take on a project that you should have?

You might be surprised that some of the things that you thought the CO cared about are really not concerns of his. You also might be surprised that he noticed areas you neglected.

Then, talk about your personality:

- Are you displaying the qualities of a professional officer?
- Where are you really strong (and thus can take jobs that show off your skills)?
- Where are you weak (and thus need to get some mentorship)?

Don't hide strengths or weaknesses. If you're strong in something, ask the CO if there is an opportunity to fix a problem of his that plays to your strengths. And if you're weak, ask the CO for a recommendation for a mentor.

Lastly, talk about the future:

- Schedule your midterm review.
- Agree to work on something.
- Thank the CO for his time

Midterm reviews are not widely used in the Navy, and that's a shame. It's a chance to review progress and change course should something not be working right. Be sure to schedule yours right away, it'll prevent it from falling by the wayside.

Also, agree to change something. If the CO says you are not a great briefer, offer to practice or take on the next few navigation briefs. Don't walk out of a FITREP debrief without something to do.

Finally, thank the CO. Commanding Officers have precious little time during the day, and a thank you (which they often don't get) shows that you value their time.