Is our promotion and command selection process TRULY fair?

Re: Is our promotion and command selection process TRULY fai

Postby 12345qwert » Sun Jul 20, 2014 3:28 am

It's always interesting to see where these threads go!

A few follow-ups:
(1) O-4 XO requirement for O-5 Command: I wholeheartedly agree with Stewie (who, if I am guessing correctly, has some extensive experience leading the IW community in the not so distant past), O-4 XO is NOT required for O-5 command. The newest COs of NIOC Yokosuka, Whidbey Island, and Pensacola did not have O-4 XO tours (I am not 100% certain of the bios of our other O-5 COs). What IS required is a STRONG mix of leadership and operational experience. While O-4 XO is a great leadership opportunity, there are also O-5 N3 jobs at the big four - and a ton of other O-5 milestone billets - that often provide an opportunity to lead more Sailors than being an O-4 XO at some of our smaller O-5 commands. Also, consider the fact that for "breakout purposes," as an O-4 XO you are expected to be the number one soft/hard breakout - if you get your major leadership opportunity as an O-5 DH at a large command you are "competing" (or more appropriately, "evaluated") against peers serving in similar positions. This document (http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/o ... edback.pdf) found off of our community's NPC site gives some fantastic feedback on the most recent IDC CMD Screening board. Approximately 5% of those up for O-5 command were selected - and 17% that were up for O-6. Each of the officers selected for O-5 command "excelled" throughout a diverse career and the only path that will put you in a position to be competitive for command truly seems to be sustained (and DOCUMENTED) superior performance in challenging jobs.

(2) O-4 Milestone Screening Board: In my opinion, having an O-4 milestone board will not "solve" anything. First and foremost, I believe that the board process (itself) is flawed (which was the reason that the thread was started). Even still, our community is small enough and we have enough O-4 milestone billets for everyone to get a chance. Will everyone get to be a CRC on a Carrier? No. But that doesn't matter. I hope we all believe that you can do well enough in any job to be selected to command (the diverse careers of the selectees from the past 4 years of IDC CMD screening boards seem to back that up). Plus, even if we did have an O-4 milestone board, the board process would not detail to those highly coveted billets - that's left to the detailer. As far as I know, this is the same in the SWO community (you screen for DH - then work with the detailer on location/platform). How does our IW detailer decide? From what I have heard, he/she generates a "slate" based on the interest in specific jobs by specific officers (detailer compares the records of each candidate to determine the "best fit" for each job). That slate (with names attached to specific billets) is then routed to our community's most senior leaders for review/approval. That sounds incredibly fair to me - but does put a lot of trust in the detailer (who is always hand-selected into that important position).

(3) Letting your record speak for itself: Early in the thread "Stalwart" proposed the following (in addition to removing the picture, gender references, and personal experiences from the board process): "We would also need to remove references to people in FITREPs by their first name and not have the first name listed on the OSR, PSR etc ... I don't know too many males named Jennifer or females named David." This is a fantastic point! Everything should be done to ensure that the merit of the individual record is what is driving the decision for promotion/command - yet, there MUST be a fine line between making FITREPs completely impersonal. I was told early in my career that my FITREP was not for me - it was for the board. Hopefully, instead of counting on your FITREP/midterm each year to see how you are doing, your "rater" is constantly giving you feedback on your performance throughout the year.

(4) Reporting Senior's Average: Since we have a few senior (and very successful) officers on this thread, would also love to hear your thoughts on forcing (or overtly "advising") COs/raters to keep their Reporting Senior's Average within a certain range. I have always been advised that COs (and all officers) should maintain between a 3.7 and 4.2 (for both officer FITREPs and enlisted evaluations), but this is an unwritten rule that is only followed by some. Having a 5.0 FITREP written by a 3-star who has a RSA of 4.86 (which actually happened to me) doesn't send a very strong message to the board. Yes, hard/soft breakouts are used to help send a message, but why don't we advise COs/XOs (and all officers for that matter) that they must stay between a certain range throughout their career - to help better communicate just where a certain officer/enlisted Sailor falls out compared to the historical average they've seen throughout their career? What would be the downside to "forced ranges?" We already do it for EPs/MPs/Ps - why not give the board even more information through a more conservative RSA?

Would truly appreciate some candid feedback on "why" the current board/evaluation process makes sense in today's Navy? I know that there is a "long tradition" of conducting boards in this manner - but if the coast guard and air force have changed their methodology, why don't we re-evaluate the process to see if there is a "better way?"
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Re: Is our promotion and command selection process TRULY fai

Postby COMEVIL » Sun Jul 20, 2014 12:19 pm

12345qwert wrote:...O-4 XO is NOT required for O-5 command. The newest COs of NIOC Yokosuka, Whidbey Island, and Pensacola did not have O-4 XO tours (I am not 100% certain of the bios of our other O-5 COs). What IS required is a STRONG mix of leadership and operational experience. While O-4 XO is a great leadership opportunity, there are also O-5 N3 jobs at the big four - and a ton of other O-5 milestone billets - that often provide an opportunity to lead more Sailors than being an O-4 XO at some of our smaller O-5 commands.


Unless you are writing the requirements, you can no more say what IS/ISN'T required for selection to O-5 CMD then I can. Unfortunately, we are both left with hearsay as our community doesn't tend to communicate these things very well. That being said, I have heard from multiple senior sources that a LCDR XO tour will be required for CDR CMD selection. I did the same thing when I heard this, looking at the current selections and noting an utter lack of this pre-req. Regardless, it appears that this may be the new norm. Only time will tell, but I do think this puts us in a good place. After all, doesn't make since to ensure those in command serve as XO's first? DH of a large department is one thing, but service within the command leadership triad is another. I view this as another step towards normalcy when it comes to our assignments. Other communities have followed many of the same processes for years. It is about time we utilized some of the same methods and mentality.

12345qwert wrote:(2) O-4 Milestone Screening Board: In my opinion, having an O-4 milestone board will not "solve" anything. First and foremost, I believe that the board process (itself) is flawed (which was the reason that the thread was started). Even still, our community is small enough and we have enough O-4 milestone billets for everyone to get a chance. Will everyone get to be a CRC on a Carrier? No. But that doesn't matter. I hope we all believe that you can do well enough in any job to be selected to command (the diverse careers of the selectees from the past 4 years of IDC CMD screening boards seem to back that up). Plus, even if we did have an O-4 milestone board, the board process would not detail to those highly coveted billets - that's left to the detailer. As far as I know, this is the same in the SWO community (you screen for DH - then work with the detailer on location/platform). How does our IW detailer decide? From what I have heard, he/she generates a "slate" based on the interest in specific jobs by specific officers (detailer compares the records of each candidate to determine the "best fit" for each job). That slate (with names attached to specific billets) is then routed to our community's most senior leaders for review/approval. That sounds incredibly fair to me - but does put a lot of trust in the detailer (who is always hand-selected into that important position).


I think you are missing the point here. Not everyone will get a milestone tour, nor should we want that to be the case as that would really defeat the purpose of the term/billet description. There are limited billets and not everyone will, or more importantly should, fill one. Establishing a process will ensure the right people fill these jobs. A board doesn't have to connect a person to a billet, just determine who should is qualified to fill them.

12345qwert wrote:Everything should be done to ensure that the merit of the individual record is what is driving the decision for promotion/command - yet, there MUST be a fine line between making FITREPs completely impersonal.


Agree!!! Which goes back to my point...we must accurately evaluate our personnel and reflect that evaluation in their FITREP. Not everyone is cut out for advancement, milestone tours, or command. Until we fix that part of the process -- the key part which speaks to the board -- our process will never be fair.

Futher, this has very little to do with race and sex. Are you or anyone else assuming we pick an inordinate number of one sex or race? Take a look at the IWOL and read the first names that were up for LCDR. Or read just those selected.... John, Robert, Richard, Twan, Karen, Thomas, Matthew, Reginald, Max, Sara.... If we have a problem with diversity it is at the input point. Otherwise, selections typically reflect the pool of those considered. I would be curious to see proof saying otherwise.

BL: the problem with our board process starts with how we evaluate our people. When we say everyone is great, ready for advancement, and on the face-track to command we leave the board with a very challenging choice.

12345qwert wrote:Would truly appreciate some candid feedback on "why" the current board/evaluation process makes sense in today's Navy? I know that there is a "long tradition" of conducting boards in this manner - but if the coast guard and air force have changed their methodology, why don't we re-evaluate the process to see if there is a "better way?"


What would your solution be?

v/r

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Re: Is our promotion and command selection process TRULY fai

Postby Mjölnir » Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:38 am

COMEVIL wrote:Unless you are writing the requirements, you can no more say what IS/ISN'T required for selection to O-5 CMD then I can. Unfortunately, we are both left with hearsay as our community doesn't tend to communicate these things very well. That being said, I have heard from multiple senior sources that a LCDR XO tour will be required for CDR CMD selection.


I think you are getting to one of the bigger problems we have as a community -- the lack of a clear criteria or "path" to command similar to URLs. Looking at the bios of our CO's and Flags I see many different means to the same end. This can be good, but can also be bad – it seems the recommendations change based on the experience of the particular detailer at the time. It isn’t that the advice is bad or that they aren’t “in the know”, but I have heard so many de facto requirements that my head spins:

want to be a FLT Cryptologist?
Divo Afloat :: CRC :: FLT Cryptologist

want to be an O5 CO?
O4 Milestone :: O4 XO :: O5 CO

I can understand the need to require a particular previous tour for some of our billets ensuring a mid-grade or senior officer is bringing the right tools in the tool kit to do the job; but I do wish if we are going to have these requirements we would put them to paper so that the process is:

1. clear cut.
2. less ambiguous/arbitrary -- don't tell one officer they don't meet one interpretation of the criteria to do a job and then send someone who doesn't meet the criteria just spelled out.
3. better able to allow people to plan a career path that is both personally edifying and works with what they bring to the IDC and the Navy without ‘burning a bridge’ to an opportunity as an O5 because of a missed de facto requirement at the O1-O3 level.

COMEVIL wrote:I think you are missing the point here. Not everyone will get a milestone tour, nor should we want that to be the case as that would really defeat the purpose of the term/billet description. There are limited billets and not everyone will, or more importantly should, fill one. Establishing a process will ensure the right people fill these jobs. A board doesn't have to connect a person to a billet, just determine who should is qualified to fill them.



Very valid point. My big personal concern right now is I recently checked into a tour (DEC13) after promoting to O4 (SEP13). I am not in a milestone job and hope to do one for my next tour. If this tour is 36 months and my next tour is 36 months, that does not leave me time to do an O4 XO tour. Even cutting my current tour and next tour to 24 months each would put me at approx. 4 1/2 to 4 3/4 years time in grade before being able to squeeze in an XO tour. The timing just worked out (or didn't) this way for me.

COMEVIL wrote:BL: the problem with our board process starts with how we evaluate our people. When we say everyone is great, ready for advancement, and on the face-track to command we leave the board with a very challenging choice.


Maybe the boards are not what is "broken" and the better question we are alluding to is how to we fix the officer evaluation process? Quick sea story:

I am sitting on a STA-21 board at a det site with the VQ-2 CO. After the interviewee leaves for the board members to discuss, CO asks our first impressions. One of the other officers says "He seems like a really good guy" ... CO slams his hand on the table and says "Dammit, we are all good guys ... not all of us should be officers." If our evaluation process is one that only addresses how great we are and we have to look for key phrases or words that hint at what is really meant ... then the evaluation is broken. Two examples:

1. I was helping the MPA (LT LDO) on my DDG with her FITREPs and her previous FITREPs had very flowery write ups in the comments section but she was well below the summary group average and the cumulative average and she did understand why that could be a problem since the FITREP sounded so good.
2. My first FITREP as a Sgt (USMC) did not recommend me for promotion to SSgt, I had only been a Sgt for 3 1/2 weeks and was going TAD in excess of 90 days and my RS did not think I had enough time as a Sgt to be recommended for SSgt. It never hurt me and I picked up SSgt my first time eligible -- granted it is a different system but maybe the Navy should simplify the language we use and make what we are trying to say a bit more obvious.
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Re: Is our promotion and command selection process TRULY fai

Postby Mjölnir » Wed Jul 23, 2014 6:10 am

12345qwert wrote:(4) Reporting Senior's Average: Since we have a few senior (and very successful) officers on this thread, would also love to hear your thoughts on forcing (or overtly "advising") COs/raters to keep their Reporting Senior's Average within a certain range. I have always been advised that COs (and all officers) should maintain between a 3.7 and 4.2 (for both officer FITREPs and enlisted evaluations), but this is an unwritten rule that is only followed by some. Having a 5.0 FITREP written by a 3-star who has a RSA of 4.86 (which actually happened to me) doesn't send a very strong message to the board. Yes, hard/soft breakouts are used to help send a message, but why don't we advise COs/XOs (and all officers for that matter) that they must stay between a certain range throughout their career - to help better communicate just where a certain officer/enlisted Sailor falls out compared to the historical average they've seen throughout their career? What would be the downside to "forced ranges?" We already do it for EPs/MPs/Ps - why not give the board even more information through a more conservative RSA?


I agree that some RS's let their average get beyond them and hope to never see the phrase "I am resetting my average" at the top of any of my FITREPs. That said, I would not be in favor of a mandated range for a reporting senior's cumulative average. Why?

1. Early on as an RS, you would be unable to rank someone outside of that range since you would not have enough aggregate to compensate for the higher or lower rating.
2. Later on when that RS does have enough aggregate to ID a stellar performer, the hot-runners from earlier in the RS history are going to not stand out as much as one later on when the aggregate allows a PTA that is .5 or more points from the cumulative.
3. I will caveat this with I only been a Senior Rater and not a Reporting Senior; but if I was ... I would not want a mandate to me that determines how high or low I could rate someone. If I have someone who is truly average, collecting a paycheck and treading water (but not getting in trouble) they are ... in all fairness ... not even really a 3.7 (but if that was the first person I rated I would be required to put them in that zone.) At the same time, if I have a 5.0 working for me, let me rate them as such and not limit my ability to do so because of an arbitrary mark. I think it is the responsibility of the officer to manage their average ... to disseminate to the XO or LCPO etc. what their average is (or what they want it to be) and to manage that with the QRB process.

I still would think that a 5.0 from a 3-star whose cumulative is 4.86 is pretty good, especially since it is from a 3-star. I have the same dilemma, my first O4 FITREP was a 5.0 from an RS whose average across 9 O4's was 5.0; in the long run it may be a null report or it may turn out that since the RS was a U.S. Senator being just "on the average" was okay.
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Re: Is our promotion and command selection process TRULY fai

Postby COMEVIL » Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:30 am

All good points, Stalwart, thanks!
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Re: Is our promotion and command selection process TRULY fai

Postby Arkad » Sat Jul 26, 2014 1:54 pm

RS Trait Average Management is a topic I bring up at each Command Qual Board. It's an equally appropriate topic in our Wardroom, Department, Division, Workcenter training/mentorship sessions. Most people do not understand the nuances (they need to), neither have they really thought through a strategy for when it becomes their turn. Glad to see it getting such thorough discussion/contemplation in this forum.
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Re: Is our promotion and command selection process TRULY fai

Postby yoshi » Sun Jul 27, 2014 2:42 pm

Interesting to view the difference in opinion over whether a board process would be preferable to the status quo for O4 milestone selection. It seems to underscore a lack of knowledge, maybe a lack of transparency. If those who served in Millington grasp the reasons, why don’t the rest of us? I don’t mind not understanding – I do mind the incredible difficulty associated with trying to understand. Guess I’m not that smart. The problem with our officers not understanding the screening process is the potential for them to view the process as arbitrary, or maybe even rigged. If community leaders hand-pick XOs, COs, and milestone billet fills without finding a way to communicate the fairness of the process, what do most officers think? The truth is the detailer, senior detailer, and community leader(s) have likely served with a very small percentage of those at the O4 level. Community leaders are actually likely to have less first-hand knowledge of the candidates than other folks in the community, given the power distance. So, they rely on (?)…

…the FITREP - here is the problem. The FITREP (allegedly) measures one’s performance. Even if it does, it fails to capture one’s effectiveness relative to the job assigned. The difference between performance (MOP) and effectiveness (MOE) is the key: they are not synonymous. Measuring effectiveness against commander/mission priorities (while maintaining other required standards) doesn’t always happen with even our highest performers. Wielding 10 pounds of results with one pound of influence might be better than 12 pounds of results with 5 pounds of influence, at least from an ability standpoint. The FITREP issue is hugely important, as it dictates future leadership. I have a tendency to take our (my) leaders to task where this is concerned. Most of my RSs have been outside our community, but we aren’t any different than the other communities. As we go forward, the criticality of selecting the most effective leaders for command/milestone jobs will sharply increase as that will determine the fate of our community.

When I contemplate the way things are, I am not comfortable with the lack of information used by our community leaders to determine who goes into what billets. They are capable of making decisions; it’s just difficult to believe they are using sufficient and quality information. I think we must have options which better describe an officer’s effectiveness and performance relative to their assigned task. And, we must have options which better describe the quality of their leadership. How about 360 reviews for our officers (how can you lead if subordinates, peers, and superiors alike have no confidence in you)? I haven’t heard talk of 360 reviews in a while, but I have come to understand, and believe, its value. Or, how about a review board during each tour to generate consistent CO recommendations? A metric might be helpful for decision makers – how couldn’t it be? Control over the process is difficult to yield, I get it, but, if you want it bad, you often get it badly. Is there difficulty involved with getting better? Sure is. Is it harder than not changing? Sure is. Not sure why we continue to locate our efforts/discussion on this topic somewhere between change which truly cannot be made (law/other barriers) and feeble excuses. What if we killed all ideas taking extra effort?
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Re: Is our promotion and command selection process TRULY fai

Postby Arkad » Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:30 am

Yoshi - Problem (perceived or real) admiration in a forum such as this won't change anything and it takes little effort. Ideas won't grow unless you put forth the effort necessary to inspire meaningful action. As far as most are concerned, there is no idea to kill until you grow it beyond a bulletin board. You up for it? This forum should be all about understanding and idea incubation. Appears we lack the confidence and commitment to bring ideas to market...
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Re: Is our promotion and command selection process TRULY fai

Postby 12345qwert » Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:09 pm

Great discussion!

A few follow-ups:

(1) Lack of clear-cut path to success: Personally, I like the fact that the IW community is like the "pick your own adventure books" we read growing up. There aren't many other communities where you can PICK which community you will do your milestone tours in (SpecOps, Surface, Air, Subsurface - and now, Cyber: https://mpte.portal.navy.mil/sites/NPC/ ... 202014.pdf). If you are looking for what our community believes is a clear path to success/advancement, I would look at the governing documents used in our selection boards:

(a) Board Precept: http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/b ... RECEPT.pdf.

Note 1 – this was SHOCKINGLY hard to find. The CPO precept (http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/b ... recept.pdf) and Flag Precepts (https://mpte.portal.navy.mil/sites/NPC/ ... _17_16.pdf) are on the right pages – our O-6 and below Officer Board Precept was not. This may be a part of the complaints on transparency into the process.

Note 2 – Our community’s section does not specifically cover what’s expected out of an IW officer at different ranks (like IP does directly below it – which is VERY explicit). This might be something worth noting to community leaders (if it is truly an issue).

(b) SecNav Approved Community Presentations (these are briefed by the board members from our community to the OTHER board members outside the community to describe our career progression): http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/b ... 20Approved).pdf

Note 3: Note that it says “O-4 Shore leadership” and not XO. There was an earlier discussion on whether O-4 XO was required for O-5 command – if someone found the IDC Command Screen Board Precept (I have looked extensively and cannot), I am certain it will validate that O-4 XO is not “required” for O-5 CO selection.

Note 4: For those without much experience on the selection board process. You might find this useful (http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/b ... Rev%202013).pdf). Going back to the very first post on this thread, the far left screen in the "tank" is where your picture is shown. I found this enlightening, but I asked someone to walk me through the slides on the screen when I first saw it (ask questions if you have them – we have quite a few officers on this thread with extensive Millington experience).

(2) Reporting Senior Evaluation Measures: In my opinion, the "racking and stacking" of leadership and performance evaluations for officers will always be subjective opinions – and I (again, personally) am okay with that. I don't know about you, but I don't want to go to the point system used by the CPO board to evaluate officer performance (for those that have had the "pleasure" of sitting on a command First Class Eval board, you know how hard it is to TRY to determine how many of the 25 "leadership" or "expertise" points your “rockstar” CTR1 earned and then trying to compare that to the leadership and expertise of an IT1 that has a different operational mission in a different department). The number of Sailors you lead or time-sensitive reports you released are not the most accurate measures of your leadership ability and competence in comparison to someone else are they? I think they are a PART of the equation, but I think we want our hand-picked RS' (commanding officers/senior leaders) to use their experiences and expertise to pick the officers that have the "it" factor (compared to their peers) that is needed to succeed at the next level in ADDITION to the quantitative things we did throughout the year (that can be measured). Will all of these evaluations be somewhat different across different commands? Of course, but that's why the "sustained, superior performance" (with MANY reporting seniors in many different types of jobs) indicates to a board that an officer excels regardless of the mission or evaluator.

(3) Creating an O-4 milestone board instead of allowing the detailer and senior community leaders to develop a slate: I don’t know that it is in the best interest of any junior officers to take this away from the detailer. As outlined in the very first post, the board itself may not give everyone the same opportunity to succeed – having an O-4 board would only amplify the issues we’ve already highlighted. Today, you can pick-up the phone and call the detailer to discuss your career and goals. The detailer will look at your record and PRD and make some suggestions on possible milestone billets (or explain to you why he’s not recommending a milestone billet) he thinks would be good for your career. Based on availability, he might not have the exact thing you want – AND based on how he compares your record with others vying for the same operational billet, he may not put you down as his top choice – but at least you’ve had a chance to have input on the process AND he may offer you another option which also meets the milestone requirement. You will lose that in the board process. Additionally, there are some in our community who for whatever reason (LDO planning to get out/desire to stay in a geographic region/etc) do not want to take on a milestone billet.

(4) Where do we go from here? “Arkad” made an astute point that this forum is merely an incubator – that we’re not solving the problem by posting on a message board. I agree. If someone wanted to write a paper on why we should drop the picture from the board, drop references to gender, and figure out an effective way ensure that the reporting seniors average could effectively communicate performance with the board (taking into account that there would have to be a certain number of reports to allow a to a reporting senior to develop a baseline within a certain range), how would he or she do that? Would that be a white paper? Who would one send it to?

Truly enjoying the spirited discussion!
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Re: Is our promotion and command selection process TRULY fai

Postby MrGrythms » Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:52 pm

Okay, this is my first post on this forum, and I realize I'm coming into this discussion a little late, but I think I've got some salient points to add, specifically about the O-4 milestone screen process (or lack thereof).

First of all, let's talk numbers.

The current inventory of Active Duty IWO LCDRs and selectees is 246 (238 1810s and 8 6440s). I have included the LDO's because of off ramping. The current inventory of Active Duty IWO CDRs and selectees is 125 (124 1810s and 1 6440). I acknowledge that the inventory fluctuates, but taking static numbers won't throw the results off enough to matter. There are currently 49 O-4 and 42 O-5 milestone billets. In a perfect world (for billet distribution), there would be three opportunities at each milestone during an IWO's tenure at each paygrade (based upon six years in grade and two year billets). However, because not everyone spends six years in grade, because they sometimes are still in their last grade's billet for some time, and because the milestone billets don't rotate exactly every two years, that isn't the case. For some individuals, they will only get two tours in a particular paygrade, but that is also not the norm. The detailers use 2.5 as a good estimate of the number of billets an IWO will have during his time in grade, and I also believe that's a good number to use.

So, based on those numbers, let's do some simple math. 49 milestone billets times 2.5 equals 123 opportunities for the LCDR inventory to have an O-4 milestone billet. That is 50% of the inventory, but more importantly that is almost exactly the number of CDR billets in the inventory. Of course there will always be a few officers who fail in their milestone opportunity, or remove themselves from consideration for promotion through other means (retirement, DUI, etc.), so a few officers who do not serve in milestones will get promoted to O-5, but for all intents and purposes successful completion of an O-4 milestone tour will in the near future equal promotion to O-5.

For O-5s, milestones are not the discriminator that they are for O-4s. There are 42 O-5 milestone billets. Multiply that number by 2.5 and you get 103, with 45 CAPT billets. But neither is simply screening for command. If you look at statistics for the past two promotion boards, nearly every CDR selected for promotion has served as either an O-5 CO or XO (9 of 10 in the most recent board). You can argue other points if you want, but for me it's clear. Those O-5 leadership jobs are a must if you want to make CAPT.

Next, let’s talk about career path.

I’ve seen it argued back and forth on this forum whether or not holding an O-4 XO job is a prerequisite to O-5 command. I don’t know the answer to that, but I would argue that it certainly can’t hurt as there is now empirical data about your performance in a leadership role. I do know that successful completion of an O-4 milestone is a prerequisite to holding an O-4 XO job, or being the detailer or community manager. Based on that, I would recommend to anyone who wants to make CAPT that they get their O-4 milestone early, work in one of the post O-4 milestone jobs, then take an O-5 milestone job in order to set yourself up for an O-5 leadership billet. Obviously, everyone can’t take that path, so that leads to the last question.

Do we need an O-4 milestone screening board?

The JO detailer, CDR(s) Chad Smith, has laid out the process he uses to fill O-4 milestone billets. He has been screening the records of all the LCDRs and selects to determine those who have the paper to recommend them for a milestone billet and those who don’t. Then, for each milestone billet, he looks at those whose PRD window is a near match with the milestone billets availability date. From that group he solicits interested parties, starting with more senior O-4s, until he has a small pool from which to choose. He then racks and stacks those records according to which is the best for that billet, and prepares a brief for the senior decision maker (who I believe to be the senior detailer at this time). Working with the system that is currently in place, I believe the CDR(s) Smith has created as fair a process as can be expected, but considering how important these billets are, both to the Officer for career progression, and to the community for leadership development, placement in these billets should not be left in the hands of one or two people.

I propose that the IW community needs an O-4 screening board that convenes yearly. That board should be made up of four or five CAPTs, with the Community Leader signing off on the results. The board should consider two different items each year. First, they should screen for milestone eligibility. Officers should be considered upon their selection for LCDR, and those who fail that screening should get a second chance at the two to three year mark of their time in grade. The second part of the board should be to decide, from the list of board eligible LCDRs and selectees, the best fit for every milestone billet coming open during that fiscal year. This will result in some necessary scramble for the detailing shop, as some people will end up getting short-toured in order to take their milestone, but the result would be a process that was fairer for the officers while truly placing the best and fully qualified into those milestone billets.
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MrGrythms
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