Thursday, January 13, 2011

Why we stay - and, apparently too many of you are staying

Lots of discussion in the milblogosphere about why mid-grade Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines are leaving the service.  For all that is said about why they leave, why they stay is equally important. And, they are staying in large numbers - large enough numbers to require thinning of the pack.

In our community (Information Warfare), our Captains and Commanders are staying in such high numbers that our leadership has been forced to reduce the size of our promotion zones in those paygrades.  In a "promote to vacancy" environment, there are fewer vacancies today than there have been in the recent past.  Our promotion zones have been reduced by nearly 50% because our retention has been above historical norms.

The "curse of high retention" seems to be even more pronounced in the Unrestrticted Line (URL) Community (Surface Warriors, Aviators, Submarines and SPECWAR).  In the past few days, Navy Personnel Command released a Selective Early Retirement Board (SERB) message announcing the Navy's actions to ease the glut (100 Captains and 100 Commanders) of excess senior officers in the URL.  NPC cites high retention and low attrition as reasons for creating an excess of these senior officers.  So, they are going to get rid of some of them to make room for a younger, more capable group of officers.  This "force balancing" action will reduce the senior officer excess and will ensure a sufficient number of these officers are available at the right time in their careers to serve in critical Fleet billets.  The Navy will be keeping the officers who score highest at the SERB in leadership, integrity and superior performance. 

Staff and restricted line officers will not be considered for retirement by this SERB. 


Rubber Ducky said...

Years ago I was invited to an off-the-record meeting by a group of O-6s EDs in Crystal City to comment on their concerns for their community and its management (once a detailer, always a detailer ... and I had been one, though for submariners, and also a community manager). The group had been looking at the accession, retention, and promotion stats for their people and were properly worried that they had a big problem ahead if no action was taken.

I won't go into the details, but I went away from the meeting and its discussion reinforced in my mind of the absolute necessity of smaller communities to manage their pyramid. If that means adjusting promotion zones and opportunities, changing accessions, or even a SERB, so be it. Any of these painful minor steps are a lot better than a community trainwreck resulting from the bad management of small numbers.

For perspective, find some really ancient naval aviator from the early '50s and get him to tell you about The Hump Bill.

Manage the pyramid.

Anonymous said...

"Staff and restricted line officers will not be considered for retirement by this SERB."

Why not? Is it time for us to do the same? And who makes the call on this, the OCM?

NPC said...

This is an NPC decision.

Anonymous said...

It's in para 7 of the message.

Anathema said...

We're not looking at staff and restricted line because they either better managed their pyramid, or they aren't concerned about managing it.

This is not a reduction in force or anything like that. This is about making room so that we can promote the next group of Captains and Commanders.

Anonymous said...

I am curious how the board will measure "integrity".

Anonymous said...

Just found out the retirement of Rear Adm. Larry Rice has been placed on hold. The story is in the Navytimes.

Anonymous said...

The shadowbox pic made me think of a recent trip through an 'estate' sale in Northern Virginia - where a third party disposes of the remains of your goods - sort of an inplace consignment. There, on the home office wall was the shadowbox of a retired AF Col in all its splendor - much like the one in the page before the jump. On it was a yellow stickey proclaiming that it could be mine for 12$. Sad.

Anonymous said...

I think this was a long time coming. Why is it that the enlisted force takes the bulk of the cuts and the officer community takes none. We complain about personnel cost's but compare what we pay a E-7 at 24 years and an O-6 at 25 and see which one cost's more. We have so many JO's on a ship we fill an entire 18 man enlisted berthing with them. We need to draw down the officer community, Flag included, to make way for some really stellar individuals who are leaving the force now. I know what I am saying is tantamount to hearsay but it needs to be done for the GOOD of the NAVY.