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A Bau Time foi Timing

An Analysis of the 0S Navy 0fficei Piomotion Piocess

LT Austin Bulbeit, 0SN

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The 0.S. Navy has an outuateu piomotion system that must be funuamentally changeu to
meet the neeus of the seivice as it tiansitions to a leanei, moie agile 21
centuiy foice. 0ui cuiient
system was couifieu uuiing the Colu Wai, but its oiigins uate back to the yeais following the enu of
WWII. This system was uesigneu aiounu a laige foice stiuctuie uesigneu to fight symmetiic wais
against oui Colu Wai auveisaiies. The last uecaue has seen a funuamental change in the mission
anu ethos of the Bepaitment of Befense (BoB). 0nfoitunately, the peisonnel management system
has not changeu to accommouate this new foice. In his 2u14 white papei on the looming officei
ietention pioblem, CBR uuy Snougiass pinpoints the funuamental focus of touay's piomotion
system when he says, "0ui manning system tenus to focus heavily on the quantitative neeus of the
seivice at the expense of ietaining the iight officeis - the ones with qualitative skills like sustaineu
peifoimance in Fleet opeiations, auvanceu euucation, anu piefeiieu skill sets."

Cuiient Situation
The 0.S. Navy's piomotion system iequiies funuamental change to ensuie the health anu stiength
of futuie leaueiship. Cuiient challenges incluue:
Fixeu piomotion timelines inuepenuent of caieei paths
Piomotion zones baseu on oveiall time in seivice
Inconsistent caieei piogiessionexpeiience within communities
This papei will piesent why the cuiient system fails to meet the neeus of the mouein Naval 0fficei.
The following changes shoulu be implementeu to incentivize ietention of oui best, biightest, anu
most talenteu:
Becouple time-in-seivice fiom piomotion
Caieei piogiession will be baseu on consistent, measuieu peifoimance
Align iank with iesponsibility
Allow foi moie flexibility in an officei's caieei
Such changes will incentivize officeis to expanu on theii peisonal anu piofessional uevelopment,
anu will iesult in longei oveiall time in seivice at a lowei cost than the cuiient system.

Recent yeais have shown an incieasing tienu in officeis, both pie- anu post-commanu,
ueciuing to leave the Navy.
This tienu is uistuibing foi many ieasons, as it is inuicative of a
ueclining pool of talenteu anu expeiienceu officeis available to iise thiough the ianks anu leau the
seivice well into the futuie. Recent pioblems such as incieasing ueployment lengths anu
sequestiation cuts have maue the situation woise, with many officeis feeling like pawns in an

0niteu States Bepaitment of the Navy, Naval Aviation Enteipiise, Integiateu Resouice Nanagement Team:
F00: # @0#)902 D70 *+ )90 G*2(>*+H ' "#$7 <55(102 I0)0+)(*+ J)-47, CBR uuy N. Snougiass, 0.S. Navy, 2u14.
F00: # @0#)902 D70 *+ )90 G*2(>*+H ' "#$7 <55(102 I0)0+)(*+ J)-47, CBR uuy N. Snougiass, 0.S. Navy, 2u14.
enuless Washington political feuu. Naking matteis ciuelei, the veiy business of peisonnel
management often openly iefeis to officeis as "inventoiy," a uehumanizing iefeience that fuithei
exaceibates the uisillusionment. This ietention challenge is likely to become moie uifficult as
officeis aie faceu with ieuuceu iesouices to caie foi theii families anu incieasing time away fiom

Recognizing these complications, the Navy must act swiftly to make uiastic changes in its
appioach to tackling this pioblem. This papei will auuiess the challenges in caieei piogiession anu
ietention that the cuiient officei piomotion system cieates. It will piopose solutions that will
funuamentally change the way officei auvancements aie maue anu billets aie assigneu. These
solutions will cieate a peisonnel management enviionment that will enable foiwaiu-thinking anu
motivateu officeis to puisue unique euucation anu othei caieei-bioauening oppoitunities whilst
achieving caieei milestones to allow him oi hei to continue a piogiessing caieei. CBR Snougiass
maue the piescient waining that, "Senioi leaueis within the 0.S. Navy, with the coopeiation of the
Bepaitment of Befense anu Congiess, shoulu take swift action thiough the use of taigeteu
incentives anu policy changes to help ensuie the best, biightest, anu most talenteu Naval 0fficeis
aie ietaineu foi continueu naval seivice . . . ."
Thus, the focus must shift towaius establishing
which expeiiences anu seivice wickets each community values, anu piomote baseu on saiu bieauth
of knowleuge. The time to act is now.

The Beginning of Timing

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Following the enu of WWII, the Wai Bepaitment was faceu with the challenge of
uownsizing the Aimy anu Navy, anu funuamentally iestiuctuiing how it was to uo business. 0ne of
the challenges that faceu the seivice chiefs was the piomotion anu management of the officei coips.
0f paiticulai consteination to Congiess was the inconsistency of piomotion systems, not just
between the Aimy anu the Navy, but within the seivices themselves. Congiess uiiecteu the newly
ienameu National Nilitaiy Establishment, the piecuisoi to the BoB, to uevelop a piomotion anu
peisonnel management system that woulu apply to all bianches of the militaiy.

Two chief pieces of legislation weie to iesult fiom these uiiectives, the 0fficei Peisonnel Act
(0PA) of 1947, anu the 0fficei uiaue Limitation Act (0uLA) of 19S4. Among othei issues, the 0PA
auuiesseu the pioblem of immobility within the Aimy by auopting the Navy's "up-oi-out"
piomotion system (in place since 1916) by iequiiing officeis to go to piomotion boaius aftei a
uesignateu time-in-seivice. This act seiveu to iestiuctuie the seivices in theii piomotion of officeis
to ensuie, in the woius of ueneial Eisenhowei, a "vigoious bouy unueineath."
Recognizing the
neeu to tiim the numbei of senioi officeis to make ioom foi ascenuing juniois in the new system,
Congiess passeu the 0uLA, which expanueu on the 0PA by setting giaue limits on officei ianks of
0-4 anu above. These two acts seiveu to align the seivices' piomotion systems with the goal of
encouiaging a healthy competition foi piomotion.

F00: # @0#)902 D70 *+ )90 G*2(>*+H ' "#$7 <55(102 I0)0+)(*+ J)-47, CBR uuy N. Snougiass, 0.S. Navy, 2u14. Page 2.
0niteu States Bepaitment of the Navy, Naval Aviation Enteipiise:
RANB Coipoiation, K90 P050+.0 <55(102 Q02.*++0% R#+#60,0+) '1) *5 ESTUH # 20)2*.:01)($0
#..0..,0+)8 Beinaiu Rostkei . . . |et al.j. Santa Nonica, CA, 199S. Page 92.
By the 196u's the BoB oiueieu a stuuy to ueteimine the effectiveness of the 0PA in
managing officei piomotions. This stuuy, which was known as the "Bolte Repoit," iecommenueu,
"a unifoim (mouifieu) up-oi-out piomotion system shoulu be establisheu."
Though subsequent
legislation stalleu, the language in this iepoit foimeu the basis foi what was to become the Befense
0fficei Peisonnel Nanagement Act (B0PNA). In 198u, the B0PNA passeu, anu foimeu the coie
stiuctuie within which all militaiy officeis woulu be manageu foi the foieseeable futuie.

Though the B0PNA was stiuctuieu to ensuie faiiness anu healthy competition foi
piomotion, it was uevelopeu in a uiastically uiffeient time to meet the neeus of a vastly uiffeient
foice. The 199us saw a iapiu ieuuction in foice size anu composition. Though the chief thieat to
the 0niteu States continueu to be symmetiic, the myiiau low-intensity conflicts of the uecaue weie
inuicatois that times weie changing, anu the attacks of Septembei 11
, 2uu1 aie a visible ieminuei
of that. Following these attacks, the iealization came to the BoB that changes to the mission, foice
composition, anu philosophy weie neeueu to auuiess these iapiuly-evolving thieats. Puisuant to
this goal, the 2uu1 Quauiennial Befense Review (QBR) highlighteu the neeu to ieciuit anu ietain an
officei coips composeu of inuiviuuals who weie innovative, highly euucateu, anu mission-oiienteu.

Five yeais aftei this iealization, the 2uu6 QBR focuseu paiticulai attention to officei
piomotion: "The Bepaitment's caieei auvancement philosophy shoulu fostei innovation by
encouiaging caieei patteins that uevelop the unique skills neeueu to meet new missions such as
iiiegulai waifaie."
Foitunately foi the BoB, the militaiy is ieplete with officeis who have these
qualities; howevei, officeis like these weie those most likely to "uepait fiom the noim," anu seek
new anu inteiesting jobs anu oppoitunities within the militaiy. Regiettably, the cuiient lock-step
piomotion system uoes not encouiage oi enable many of these officeis to stay. This pioblem will
become fuithei compounueu when we look at the behavioi anu value stiuctuie of the geneiations
now filling the ianks of the junioi officei positions.

As outlineu in his papei, F00: # @0#)902 D70 *+ )90 G*2(>*+H ' "#$7 <55(102 I0)0+)(*+ J)-47,
CBR uuy Snougiass cites a joint stuuy by PiicewateihouseCoopeis, the 0niveisity of Southein
Califoinia, anu the Lonuon Business School that uiscusses some of the chief uiffeiences between the
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RANB Coipoiation, K90 P050+.0 <55(102 Q02.*++0% R#+#60,0+) '1) *5 ESTUH # 20)2*.:01)($0
#..0..,0+)8 Beinaiu Rostkei . . . |et al.j. Santa Nonica, CA, 199S. Page 97.
0niteu States Bepaitment of Befense, 2uu1 Quauiennial Befense Review Repoit, Washington, B.C.: BoB, Septembei Su,
2uu1. Page Su.
0niteu States Bepaitment of Befense, Quauiennial Befense Review Repoit, Washington, B.C.: BoB, Febiuaiy 6, 2uu6, p.
F00: # @0#)902 D70 *+ )90 G*2(>*+H ' "#$7 <55(102 I0)0+)(*+ J)-47, CBR uuy N. Snougiass, 0.S. Navy, 2u14.
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Peisonnel management is one of the most pioblematic challenges faceu by the BoB. 0ui
cuiient system was uesigneu to opeiate acioss the seivices anu pioviues fixeu piomotion timing to
guaiantee steauy ascension of officeis thiough the ianks. It opeiates iathei simply by uelineating
both minimum time-in-giaue (TIu) iequiiements anu piomotion winuows (zones). Both systems
iun on a clock that staits the uay the officei is commissioneu, anu stops oi pauses with veiy few
exceptions. A biief analysis of these two timing iequiiements will highlight the issues that make
them unsuitable to a mouein, auaptable piomotion system.

The fiist of these two iequiiements is that of time-in-giaue. TIu iequiiements ensuie the
vaiious ianks aie consistently populateu, with an equal numbei of peisonnel enteiing on a fixeu
timeline as theie aie leaving. The piovisions foi TIu aie listeu below

Rank TIu Requiiement
0-1 18 months
0-2 2 yeais
0-S thiough 0-S S yeais
0-6 thiough 0-7 1 yeai

Though TIu iequiiements place obligations of seivice on an officei's piogiession, they uo not
uelineate a specific time oi "zone" foi piomotion, anu thus moie closely iesemble an expeiience
metiic. As the officei piogiesses in his oi hei caieei, oveiall timing consiueiations uo not begin to
manifest themselves as an issuebuiuen until the officei is up foi piomotion to 0-4, when the
concept of "zones" now becomes a factoi.

Reflecting the "up-oi-out" philosophy that goveineu the eventual cieation of the B0PNA,
theie came a time foi the seivices to stait ieuucing the foice thiough piomotion selectivity. The
BoB ueciueu to cieate a simple set of timing ciiteiia that piomotion boaius woulu use to ueteimine
an officei's eligibility foi piomotion

Piomotion to: Timing* 0ppoitunity
0-4 1u yeais 1 yeai 8u%
0-S 16 yeais 1 yeai 7u%
0-6 22 yeais 1 yeai Su%
* Yeais of commissioneu militaiy seivice plus all entiy giaue cieuit.

The focus of officei piomotion in this system is wholly baseu on )*)#% yeais of militaiy seivice,
iegaiuless of 9*3 that seivice is spent. Thus, naval officeis piogiessing in iank togethei coulu
shaie vastly uiffeient expeiiences, complicating the iequiieu peifoimance compaiison between
them in selection foi piomotion. This static piomotion system chafes on oui most talenteu officeis

RANB Coipoiation, K90 P050+.0 <55(102 Q02.*++0% R#+#60,0+) '1) *5 ESTUH # 20)2*.:01)($0
#..0..,0+)8 Beinaiu Rostkei . . . |et al.j. Santa Nonica, CA, 199S. Page v.
1u 0SC ! 619
Bepaitment of Befense Instiuction 1S2u.1S, "Commissioneu 0fficei Piomotion Repoits (C0PRs) anu Pioceuuies," }une
21, 1996. Enclosuie 2, Table 1 (page 8).
who expect iewaius consummate with theii capabilities anu peifoimance. 0n a macio level, the
uiffeiences in caieei expeiiences anu leaueiship oppoitunities aie even moie uiveise between the
vaiieu waifighting communities. This focus on oveiall caieei timing ovei quality of expeiience anu
competency iepiesents the laigest single buiuen affecting officei piomotion anu ietention.

Refocusing the Piomotion System

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As mentioneu above, the key to establishing a new piomotion system is to ue-couple
auvancements anu compensation fiom time-in-seivice, anu maiiy them with peifoimance-baseu
assessments. 0nce this is accomplisheu, the focus will shift towaius achieving iequiieu caieei
piogiession milestones iegaiuless of time in seivice. Restiuctuiing the piomotion piocess uoes not
iequiie the establishment of a new baseline foi auvancement; iathei, it iequiies each community to
ueciue which milestones an officei must achieve befoie being consiueieu foi piomotion.

Each of the majoi communities has unique timing challenges anu caieei milestones that it
values. It is well known that the aviation anu submaiine communities iequiie a significant time-to-
tiain, upwaius of two anu a half yeais in some cases, befoie an officei is ieauy foi ueployment.
0thei communities, such as suiface waifaie, have caieei paths that value a bieauth of expeiience
with exposuie to multiple units anu uo not have to ueal with piolongeu tiaining times. Recognizing
this, the cuiient piomotion system, which places all officeis, iegaiuless of community, on the same
path, is misguiueu. Thus, the focus must shift towaius establishing which expeiiences anu seivice
wickets each community values, anu piomote baseu on saiu bieauth of knowleuge.

Foi this aiticle, the stiikefightei community will be the caieei path to be moueleu, as it is
the most familiai to the authoi. Stuuent Naval Aviatois, upon aiiival in Pensacola, aie at the
beginning of a long ioau of instiuction anu evaluation. Regaiuless of the specific pipeline that is
chosen, the time-to-tiain places the Naval Aviatoi anu Naval Flight 0fficei significantly behinu his
yeai gioup (Yu) peeis, such as SW0s, with iegaius to the timing anu numbei of ueployments. In
the case of the stiikefightei pilot oi NF0, tiaining times aveiage S9 anu SS months iespectively,
anu that is only aftei the stuuent staits his oi hei tiaining. In some cases, the time between
commissioning anu Aviation Pieflight Inuoctiination (API, the fiist phase of flight school) can be
upwaius of seven months.

When coupling iank with time, the cuiient system places officeis at piomotion maiks with
vastly uiffeient expeiiences. Piomotion boaius (statutoiy boaius) aie faceu with the challenge of
compaiing apples to oianges, as vaiious officeis have hau assoiteu touis, with some having moie
fleet seivice, anu thus moie */.02$04 peifoimance evaluations, than otheis. We aie now faceu with
the pioblem of ueteimining whom to piomote when we compaie officeis who have uiffeient skill
sets, fewei bieakouts, anu uiffeient expeiiences. The solution is to cieate a system wheie officeis
aie compaieu against each othei foi piomotion baseu on similai expeiiences iesulting fiom similai
seivice iequiiements anu theii associateu oppoitunities foi peei bieakouts. In oiuei to align

0niteu States Bepaitment of Befense, Quauiennial Befense Review Repoit, Washington, B.C.: BoB, Febiuaiy 6, 2uu6, p.

peifoimance, so that apples may be compaieu with apples, we must ensuie officeis aiiive at
piomotion boaius having completeu the same style of touis foi the iequisite time neeueu to allow
the boaiu membeis to make juuicious selections baseu on complete peifoimance evaluations.

Puisuant to this goal, we must fiist establish the qualities anu expeiiences within naval
aviation that we value. Cuiiently, junioi officeis (}0s), upon completion of fleet ieplacement
squauion (FRS) tiaining, iepoit to the fleet foi a S6-month toui in a ueployable squauion. The
impoitance of this }0 sea toui cannot be unueistateu, as it is peihaps the most foimative time in an
aviatoi's caieei. Buiing this toui, the }0 is exposeu to leaueiship challenges anu flight expeiiences
that will both shape anu highlight the type of officei he oi she is to become. Noie challenges, both
on the giounu, anu in the aii, piopel the }0 to leaueiship iesponsibilities of incieasing impoitance.
At the same time, the }0 is being mentoieu by both his chiefs anu his uepaitment heaus to assume
ioles anu iesponsibilities in the squauion that allow him to giow as an officei. All the while, the
commanuing officei anu executive officei aie evaluating }0 peifoimance anu aie making juugment
calls on who the stanuout peifoimeis aie. This same piocess, peifoimance anu leaueiship giowth
anu evaluation, occuis acioss the fleet in each of the vaiious communities.

Following this sea toui, junioi officeis aie sent to a SS-month shoie toui, wheie again,
leaueiship anu peifoimance aie evaluateu. Foi many junioi officeis, this toui most often incluues
uuties involving flight instiuction, though exceptions aie not iaie. Regaiuless of the type of
assignment of uuties involveu, this shoie toui places even moie iesponsibility on the shoulueis of
the }0. Foi most aviatois, this shoie toui is spent as some mannei of flight instiuctoi. In these
ioles, the iesponsibilities aie significant, as he oi she is entiusteu with the skill uevelopment anu
mentoiing of young stuuent naval aviatois. At the same time, squauion leaueiship places uuties
similai to those peifoimeu uuiing the sea toui, but of incieasing scope anu iesponsibility, on the }0.
The tiansition fiom being pait of the ieauy ioom to a peei leauei is occuiiing, anu these
expeiiences aie highlighting those qualities that aie sought aftei in a piospective uepaitment heau.

The }0 sea anu shoie touis iepiesent the two most impoitant milestones foi consiueiation
foi selection to 0-4 in the stiikefightei community. 0nfoitunately, the mismatch between caieei
milestones anu timing in the cuiient system places many officeis up foi piomotion without the full
expeiience anu necessaiy peifoimance evaluations of a }0 shoie toui. As a iesult, many officeis aie
scieeneu foi piomotion at the statutoiy boaiu without iequisite peei bieakouts. Boaiu membeis
aie thus hinueieu by incomplete peifoimance anu leaueiship assessments, anu must make theii
selections as best they can.

To illustiate this point, one can look at the case of a stiikefightei junioi officei who
attenueu a two-yeai post-giauuate masteis piogiam immeuiately following commissioning. 0pon
the completion of giauuate school, this officei will be piomoteu to 0-2 anu will stait flight tiaining.
Aftei neaily S yeais of flight school, this officei will aiiive in the fleet as an 0-S with one yeai TIu.
Following his thiee-yeai sea toui, he oi she will aiiive at a SS-month shoie toui with 4 yeais TIu.
This leaves the officei with one to two yeais at most in his shoie toui to bieak out anu eain a
highwatei fitness iepoit (FITREP). 0nueistanuably, many of these officeis fail to iemain
competitive, anu aie uetaileu appiopiiately, theii chances at piomotion having been ieuuceu the
uay they accepteu giauuate euucation oiueis.

This piocess of iank auvancement befoie selecting job assignment is the most pioblematic
challenge towaius encouiaging highly qualifieu peisonnel to iemain in seivice. This system foices
the statutoiy boaius to select inuiviuuals foi piomotion iefeiencing a peei bieakout laigely
affecteu by timing, iathei than leaueiship anu pioven peifoimance. Aumin boaius, in contiast, aie
chaigeu with the selection of inuiviuuals foi job assignments such as uepaitment heau anu
commanu. These boaius aie conuucteu sepaiately anu aie composeu of uiffeient membeiships,
with two uiffeient objectives. Though the membeiships in both cases aie looking to select the "best
anu most fully qualifieu," the boaiu's inteipietation is obviously influenceu by which boaiu the
membei is sitting on anu the ielative competition among eligible officeis, which coulu iesult in
uiffeient selections. Thus, the possibility exists foi an inuiviuual to be scieeneu foi commanu, but
not foi 0-S. Though iaie, this is a pioblem that occuis when tiying to get two uiffeient gioups of
boaiu membeis to pick the exact same inuiviuuals foi piomotion anu milestone jobs. The existence
of this pioblem unueimines an officei's faith in the selection system--as in which boaiu, the aumin
oi the statutoiy boaiu, pickeu the iight gioup anu which one pickeu the wiong gioup.

The challenge in piomoting oui most capable anu talenteu officeis is how to make the
statutoiy boaiu anu the aumin boaiu pick the same people. The fix must be to align iank 3()9
iesponsibility anu make the assessment anu selection togethei, baseu on peifoimance evaluations
of similai uuiation foi eveiy canuiuate. The solution iests in combining the aumin anu statutoiy
boaius by community, anu to allow each of these communities to ueciue the membei composition
anu selection ciiteiia of the "tanks" wheie auvancement uecisions aie maue. Such a combination
empoweis the selection boaius, both foi iestiicteu anu uniestiicteu line, to piomote anu iewaiu
theii top peifoimeis anu enable those with pioven tiack iecoius to continue theii iise to the top.
Though this solution seems simple enough, its implementation is fai fiom it, as the aumin anu
statutoiy boaius aie sepaiateu by law. Accoiuingly, changes will iequiie the suppoit of senioi
Navy leaueiship anu the willingness to go befoie Congiess to amenu oi iepeal the outuateu laws.

Baving establisheu the neeu foi a unitaiy boaiu to select officeis foi piomotion anu
assignment, the question becomes what qualities anu seivice milestones aie valuable to each of the
communities to facilitate selection of oui best anu biightest. This piocess will iequiie a
tiemenuous amount of uiscussion within anu between the vaiious communities, but such a
uialogue will piompt an euucateu uebate on the meiits of vaiious touis, anu can help shape the way
in which we gioom oui officeis foi piomotion. Fuitheimoie, these neeus can be peiiouically
ievieweu anu changeu, to continually shape the iequiiements as the seivice auapts to a changing
secuiity lanuscape. The following chait combines the TIu iequiiements of the existing B0PNA
laws with the pioposeu iequiiements foi competencies in the stiikefightei community. Though
these paiticulai iequiiements aie specific to the naval aviatoi, each of the uniestiicteu line,
iestiicteu line, anu staff communities can ueteimine it's own unique eligibility iequiiements to best
meet it's paiticulai neeus.

Piomotion to: Eligibility Requiiement
Ninimum TIu
Ninimum TIu
Completion of Flight
School (Wings)
As Necessaiy 18 months 0-1 18 months 0-1
1. Completion of FRS
2. }0 Sea toui seivice
As Necessaiy
12 months
24 months 0-2 24 months 0-2
(Bept Beau)
1. }0 Sea toui
2. }0 Shoie toui
S6 months
S6 months
S6 months 0-S 6u months 0-S
Bepaitment Beau toui Su months S6 months 0-4 48 months 0-4

Note the minimum TIu is stipulateu by the B0PNA, anu is not a iequiiement foi auvancement. The
goal will be to align the vaiious communities such that officeis shoulu piomote with similai time in
obseiveu fleet seivice. Whatevei length of time-in-giaue the seivice taigets shoulu be common
acioss the assoiteu communities. Foi example, a Suiface Waifaie 0fficei competency anu seivice
chait coulu ieau somewhat similai to the one below.

Piomotion to: Eligibility Requiiement
Ninimum TIu
Ninimum TIu
Completion of fiist }0
sea toui
18 months 18 months 0-1 18 months 0-1
Completion of seconu }0
sea toui
24 months 24 months 0-2 24 months 0-2
(Senioi BB)
1. }0 shoie toui
2. Fiist BB toui
S6 months
Su months
S6 months 0-S 6u months 0-S
Seconu BB toui Su months S6 months 0-4 48 months 0-4

The exact iequiiements to ueteimine piomotion eligibility is a topic foi an entiiely uiffeient
uiscussion altogethei; howevei, we can see that iegaiuless of the specifics, once we ueteimine the
ciiteiia foi selection, we can now uiscaiu oveiall caieei timing to shift the focus towaius
competency. What iesults is a caieei timeline that is baseu on the inuiviuual, with wickets that aie
unique to the community, on a milestone timeline that is common to the naval seivice. The
auaptation of this mouel will effectively negate the neeu foi yeai gioup numbeis, as timelines have
shifteu away fiom gioups anu towaius inuiviuuals. This invites the question of how uetailing anu
selection will take place in a system wheie each officei has his oi hei own timeline.

The answei to this question lies in the uiscussion of caieei wickets mentioneu eailiei. Since
caieei piogiession in the new system will be baseu on achieving caieei milestones, the uetailing
piocess simply gioups people togethei baseu on pieuicteu completion of the specifieu caieei
lanumaiks. Recoius aie now easiei to compaie, as inuiviuuals have completeu the same wickets.
This system makes caieei bieaks easiei, as it no longei matteis when an officei uepaits the
stanuaiu caieei piogiession, because milestone completion, iegaiuless of when completeu, is all
that matteis. Fuitheimoie, auveise effects iesulting fiom time-to-tiain vaiiances aie also negateu,
as the time spent in tiaining has no beaiing on the seivice iecoiu examineu foi auvancement.
As officeis fulfill theii touis, theii completion uates will ueteimine when they aie eligible foi
piomotion consiueiation. Recognizing the inability foi the Buieau of Peisonnel (B0PERS) to
hanule hunuieus of unique timelines, inuiviuuals will be gioupeu togethei foi ease of
auvancementselection boaius. The cuiient system uoes this, but on a yeaily basis, a pioceuuie
haiuly befitting a system that focuses on inuiviuual timelines. The pioposeu solution is to assign
inuiviuuals to Fiscal Yeai (FY) Quaitei gioups. Quaiteily giouping, though flexible foi the
inuiviuual, piesents challenges to the oiganization when it comes to making uecisions on
piomotion anu the subsequent assignment of follow-on oiueis. Quaiteily selection boaius will
suffei fiom a smallei pool of inuiviuuals anu will be a fiequent buiuen foi B0PERS to manage. The
solution to this question is best left to anothei uiscussion, but it goes without saying that yeaily
boaius aie, by natuie, not complimentaiy to this pioposeu system.

This papei has gone into gieat uiscussion on the meiits of cieating a system that enables
oui most qualifieu officeis to continue theii piofessional uevelopment anu seivice to the Navy.
Bowevei, a move towaius this system begs the question of how to pievent officeis fiom ciowuing
the fielu-giaue ianks anu thus bloat the seivice. This veiy issue was the genesis of the 0PA
uiscusseu eailiei, anu must be auuiesseu if changes aie to occui. The cuiient system manuates
officeis who fail to scieen by the uesignateu time in seivice be uischaigeu. If we aie to change the
system to cieate piomotion winuows baseu on the completion of specifieu caieei milestones, then
we must also choose to sepaiate officeis baseu on theii inability to scieen following the completion
of saiu milestones. Foi officeis who choose to uelay scieening foi giauuate school oi othei caieei
bieaks, contiols must be implementeu limiting the numbei anuoi uuiation of inteimissions to
ensuie these officeis aie given the uesiieu oppoitunities whilst not lingeiing anu stifling the
upwaiu mobility of officeis piogiessing behinu them. The specifics foi such contiols is up foi
fuithei uebate anu ieseaich, but possibilities incluue uelaying piomotion boaius no longei than "x"
numbei of yeaismonths to ensuie caieeis continue to move foiwaiu anu not stall. Such a system
is an absolute must to pievent meuiocie officeis who uesiie to take auvantage of a stagnant system
to iemain in place anu "iiue out theii 2u." Again, fuithei uebate anu ieseaich must be uone to
answei impoitant questions such as numbei of chances at piomotion, maximum time-in-giaue,
uuiation of off-tiack assignments, anu oveiall officei quotas. Though the answeis to these
questions will most likely face significant legislative huiules, the uifficulty of theii implementation
shoulu not uetiact fiom the impoitance anu necessity of theii iealization.

Funuamental tiansfoimations aie neeueu foi the Navy to piomote anu ietain its best anu
biightest officeis. The afoiementioneu changes seive to ie-focus the officei piomotion anu
assignment system towaius the accuiate assessment of inuiviuuals who have measuieu, pioven
tiack iecoius. This aiticle has aigueu that these changes will biing about a moie iobust anu
capable officei coips that will keep the seivice stiong well into the 21
centuiy, but it woulu be
iemiss if it uiu not incluue a uiscussion of the financial implications of such a lanumaik change to
the piomotion system.

Time is Noney

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Alteiations in how the Navy goes about piomoting its officeis will natuially have a
significant financial impact on the oveiall cost of the officei coips. The following section will
uiscuss the implications that caieei path changes will have on pay anu othei compensation.
Auuitionally, it will uiscuss options to incentivize billets anu subspecialties that will enhance the
inuiviuual officei anu theieby the stiength of the seivice.

This uiscussion on cost savings will focus on two key components: the cost of the inuiviuual,
anu the ietuin on investment. When uiscussing the cost of the inuiviuual, piinciple elements
incluue the costs of the pay, benefits, anu tiaining the inuiviuual ieceives. The topic of ietuin on
investment is much moie uifficult to quantify in teims of uollais spent veisus value auueu. Thus, a
uiscussion of ietuin on investment will focus chiefly on uollais investeu veisus yeais ietuineu. Not
only uoes this simplify the aigument, but when one consiueis the bioauei topic of officei
auvancement anu ietention, the focus must be on cumulative yeais of seivice. The militaiy is a
niche tiaueciaft in that we cannot hiie outsiue talentwe must piomote fiom within. Accoiuingly,
the initial investments maue to tiain the waifightei in his chosen piofession aie uiiectly ietuineu
as this appientice hones his skill anu becomes a mastei. Bence, it is in the best inteiests of the
seivice to gain longevity of seivice, as this maximizes the ietuin. Similai to the pievious uiscussion,
this aiticle will use the stiikefightei pilot as a mouel foi illustiating the possible cost savings that

Secietaiy's Lettei, 0niteu States Bepaitment of Befense, 2u14 Quauiennial Befense Review Repoit, Washington, B.C.:
BoB, Naich 4
, 2u14.
this system will piouuce. Fiist, we will look at the simple costs of the inuiviuual in the cuiient
piomotion system veisus the pioposeu system, anu will then move on to uiscuss the ietuin on
investment that comes fiom auopting this new piomotion fiamewoik.

The baseline compaiison of piomotion systems will be maue against an aviatoi who is on a
"noimal" caieei piogiession fiee of unnecessaiy uelays oi postgiauuate euucation. Since oui
cuiient system couples iank with time in seivice, a stiikefightei aviatoi will piomote to 0-2
befoie the completion of auvanceu flight tiaining. 0nuei the pioposeu system, piomotion is tieu to
milestones, anu in the case of aviation, winging woulu be the wicket to piomote to 0-2. Looking at
this "noimal" piogiession, one woulu see that time spent in the 0-1 giaue woulu inciease by thiee
months. Though not significant, this small cost savings, multiplieu acioss the community of stuuent
naval aviatois, iepiesents significant pay savings. When one consiueis uelays in time-to-tiain oi
postgiauuate euucation, the savings aie significant, as illustiateu in the sample timeline below:

When one consiueis the myiiau vaiiables such as time-to-stait, time-to-tiain, tiaining
uelays, anu any numbei of othei factois, the time spent in lowei pay giaues will tenu to inciease.
Though inuiviuuals, given the coiiect aviation pipeline, coulu spenu less than two yeais as an 0-1,
the majoiity of inuiviuuals will iemain junioi foi longei, iesulting in cost ieuuctions that can lowei
aggiegate peisonnel costs.

In the 41 yeais of the all-volunteei foice, the BoB has seen substantial incieases in seivice
membei compensation anu benefits. The cuiient fiscal enviionment, howevei, thieatens to eioue
these benefits. Recently, the seivice chiefs have been asking foi ieuuctions in pay giowth to offset
these iising peisonnel costs. When the uiscussion tuins towaius pay, talk of ieuuctions is an
impoitant factoi officeis will consiuei when making the uecision to stay in oi get out.
Restiuctuiing the piomotion system will not only save money, but piesents the seivice with an
oppoitunity to incentivize inuiviuuals to woik haiuei foi gieatei pay. Foi example, the officei
piesenteu with seveial months to begin flight school might be fiustiateu by the fact he will iemain
at a lowei pay giaue foi longei. The Navy can incentivize this officei to expanu his knowleuge,
skills, anu abilities by paying moie foi subspecialties eaineu thiough inuiviuual piofessional
uevelopment. 0ppoitunities to eain impoitant qualifications anu expeiience can be useu to fill the
tiaining gaps anu make up foi peiceiveu lost pay. Foi example, suiface waifaie officeis can see a
pay inciease when one's suiface waifaie pin is eaineu, anu paiallel incentives can be miiioieu
acioss the communities. Expanuing this, officeis who puisue postgiauuate uegiees piioi to
staiting theii fleet seivice can be offeieu auueu pay iesulting fiom subspecialties eaineu fiom theii
euucation. These incentives show the officei that the fuitheiance of euucation anu acquisition of
valuable skills anu qualifications will pay moie, as they aie skills valueu by the Navy. The
uiscussion now tuins towaius how the Navy can best achieve a ietuin on these investments by
switching to a competency-baseu piomotion system.

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It was mentioneu eailiei that any uiscussion of a ietuin on investment must focus on the
yeais investeu in an officei's tiaining veisus the yeais ietuineu in seivice. Again, we will compaie
sample timelines foi officeis unuei the cuiient system anu those in the new system. Foi this
paiticulai compaiison, we will take the mouel of the officei who puisueu postgiauuate euucation
immeuiately following commissioning.

Note how in the cuiient system, an officei who attenus a two yeai postgiauuate euucation, in oiuei
to iemain on timeline with his peeis, must give up a uissociateu sea toui. Beiein we see the
negative effects that timing uelays anu issues have when they cause auuitional sea touis to be lost.
This loss takes away oppoitunities foi an aviatoi to gain moie insight anu exposuie to staff seivice,
while also gaining valuable flight leaueiship anu tactical uevelopment oppoitunities. In this
paiticulai case, the Navy is not seeing a piopoitional ietuin on the investment it maue not only in
auvanceu euucation, but flight tiaining in geneial because the officei is unable to offei a "payback"
toui, wheie he oi she is typically able to pass on the skills anu wisuom acciueu in iecent seivice on
to the next geneiation of leaueis. An officei who attenus postgiauuate stuuies is expecteu to ietuin
the euucation investment in subsequent seivice, but insteau loses not only two yeais of sea time,
but is at a uisauvantage foi piomotion when compaieu to officeis who have hau multiple
oppoitunities to bieak out amongst theii peeis. In tiansitioning to a competency-baseu system
with consistent auvancement milestones, the same officei can fulfill a caieei similai to his peeis,
anu will not lose out on valuable sea time anu leaueiship uevelopment oppoitunities. This new
system guaiantees a consistent ietuin on investment when it iequiies milestone completion foi
auvancement, anu yielus an officei who finishes his milestones at 14-plus yeais of active uuty, anu
is thus moie likely to continue his oi hei seivice to the Navy.

The Navy must focus on the long-teim stiength of the seivice when ueteimining what is the
best couise of action to take when moueinizing the officei piomotion system. The pioposeu
tiansfoimations yielu significant financial benefits to the oiganization, anu taigets incentives to
iewaiu anu ietain the best anu biightest. When one consiueis these auvantages, the case towaius
funuamentally iestiuctuiing the officei piomotion piocess is a win-win foi both the naval seivice
anu the inuiviuual officei.

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Funuamentally changing an oiganization's peisonnel management system is a uaunting
task that, at fiist glance, seems almost insuimountable. Bowevei, the complexity anu scope of this
enueavoi must not uissuaue the leaueiship fiom making the much-neeueu changes to cieate a
system that fosteis the auvancement anu piomotion of oui most talenteu anu capable officeis. The
fiist step in this piocess will be to iuentify the expeiience, knowleuge, anu ciitical skills that the
Navy taigets in its leaueis. 0nce these attiibutes aie iuentifieu, the seivice must ueteimine the
assignments anu caieei milestones that will best uevelop these attiibutes while allowing accuiate
anu complete peifoimance evaluations. This fiamewoik pioviues the coie stiuctuie foi the new
system, aiounu which the vaiious uetails can be planneu to cieate a peisonnel management system
best tailoieu to the neeus of the communities anu the naval seivice.

In the authoi's opinion, the most impoitant uetails that must be uiscusseu in the
implementation of this system will be the composition, stiuctuie, anu timing of the selection
boaius, anu the iestiuctuiing of non-competitive touis. Eailiei in this aiticle, it was uiscusseu how
combining the statutoiy anu aumin boaius woulu cieate a selection piocess that coulu be tailoieu
to meet the inuiviuual neeus of the vaiious communities. Though this seems a simple task, it is
quite the opposite. Fuitheimoie, the timing anu fiequency of selection boaius will iequiie
necessaiy aujustments to an officei's caieei piogiession. The possibility exists that the non-
competitive touis, such as the uissociateu sea toui anu joint toui, coulu have theii uuiation
extenueu oi ieuuceu as appiopiiate to best iesponu to piomotion boaius that woulu, hopefully, be
moie fiequent than yeaily. Both of these questions aie inuicative of the many questions that woulu
aiise shoulu a system such as this come to fiuition. It is ciucial that an infoimeu anu spiiiteu
uebate take place iegaiuing these challenges so that the system best iesponus to the neeus of the
inuiviuual anu the naval seivice.

0nfoitunately, funuamental changes such as these will not occui oveinight. These
mouifications must, anu shoulu, be well thought-out anu caiefully implementeu to ensuie faii anu
iesponsible auvancements occui, anu the best anu biightest aie taigeteu foi ietention. In a
foithcoming aiticle entitleu "Sustaineu Supeiioi Timing", LT William Kelly will auuiess the Caieei
Inteimission Piogiam anu how it can biiuge the gap between the cuiient piomotion system anu
the one pioposeu heiein. Such immeuiate fixes aie neeueu to ensuie combat-pioven naval leaueis
who uesiie to seive can continue theii caieeis unhinueieu by timing constiaints. Fixes such as
these aie necessaiy in the inteiim, but funuamental changes aie absolutely essential if the Navy is
to guaiantee the futuie stiength of the seivice.

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Time is Running 0ut

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The 21
centuiy global secuiity enviionment is becoming incieasingly complex. Thieats
continue to evolve, iequiiing a foice capable of meeting them on eveiy battlefielu. The BoB must
match these thieats with a mouein foice that is highly auaptable anu is commanueu at all levels by
the veiy best leaueis anu stiategic thinkeis. The iuentification anu selection of these officeis is
challenging enough, anu is fuithei encumbeieu by the outuateu piomotion system in place touay.
Significant changes to the cuiient laws aie iequiieu to the officei auvancement system to enable
the BoB to piopeily leau anu shape its foices in the 21
centuiy battlefielu.

Eight yeais aftei the 2uu6 QBR calleu foi a capabilities-baseu piomotion system, the Navy
has yet to make significant piogiess to that enu. Though immeuiate changes aie neeueu, a
funuamental tiansfoimation must be unueitaken. Senioi Navy leaueiship must iecognize this neeu
to auapt is officei coips anu champion the iequiieu legislative action to ensuie oui piomotion
system moves foiwaiu anu iemains agile. The changes pioposeu heiein will cieate an officei
selection system that iewaius competencies anu ensuies foiwaiu thinking, euucateu, anu inspiiing
naval leaueis aie ietaineu foi futuie seivice. This system not only will encouiage oui best anu
biightest to stay in, but will iesult in net peisonnel cost savings, while incentivizing officeis to
puisue caieei enhancing skills anu euucation that will seive to stiengthen the naval seivice.
Keeping aheau of the iapiuly-evolving secuiity enviionment iequiies piescient, expeiienceu, anu
motivateu leaueis who will challenge the status quo to ensuie the Ameiican militaiy iemains a
iobust anu capable foice. Times aie changing, anu its time we change with them.

0niteu States Bepaitment of Befense, 2u14 Quauiennial Befense Review Repoit, Washington, B.C.: BoB, 2u14.