What’s New in the FY21 O5 Promotion Board Convening Order?

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There were a lot of changes in the FY21 O6 promotion board convening order that emphasized operational medicine and readiness, but what about the recently released O5 order? While there are some minor changes from last year’s order I won’t address, here are all the important changes…

Page 2 of the FY21 Order

The promotion opportunities went from 85% down to 83% for the Dental Corps and from 63% down to 55% for the Medical Service Corps. The Medical and Nurse Corps remained the same at 77% and 70%, respectively.

Pages 8-10, Paragraph 6 – Medical Community Considerations

Language was added that emphasized operational medicine and readiness. I put the new language in underlined italics:

  • “Knowledge and proven performance/experience in a variety of settings including operational medicine, joint medical operations, and current garrison health care and fleet/FMF support is necessary.”
  • “Additionally, Navy Medicine greatly values joint experience and formal education, including JPME with knowledge and experience in a variety of settings including joint medical operations and current garrison health care delivery and operational support initiatives.”
  • “They must understand and use best clinical practices and business tools in managing the health and readiness of our operating forces to ensure they are healthy and on the job.” A reference to “population health” was changed to “health and readiness.”
  • This statement was added, “Excellence in operational support settings should receive special consideration as Navy Medicine shifts greater focus to readiness and operational support.
  • “Best and fully qualified officers for the rank of commander and below will be those who have demonstrated superior sustained performance in jobs that demonstrate increasing responsibility, scope and complexity across the spectrum of military medicine, especially inclusive of operational platforms.

The Bottom Line

Operational medicine and readiness is emphasized in the new O5 promotion board convening order.

Secretary Mark T. Esper Message to the Force on Accomplishments in Implementation of the National Defense Strategy

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On 7 JUL 2020, Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper released a video address to thank the members of the Department for their hard work and contributions as a team to achieve the goals of the National Defense Strategy over the past year. The Secretary addressed the progress made through three main lines of efforts: lethality and readiness of the force; strengthening allies and build partners; reforming the Department for greater efficiency and accountability. He also addresses his personal priority line of effort: service members and their families.

In addition, the Secretary outlined ten targeted goals to support implementation of these lines of efforts.

“Soon after I came into office, civilian and uniformed leaders across the Department and I met to develop detailed plans to implement these lines of effort. We created a list of ten targeted goals, each with sub tasks, and we set out to accomplish most of these by the end of 2020. They are as follows:

  1. Review, update, and approve all China and Russia plans;
  2. Implement the Immediate Response Force, Contingency Response Force, and Dynamic Force Employment enhanced readiness concepts;
  3. Reallocate, reassign, and redeploy forces in accordance with the NDS;
  4. Achieve a higher level of sustainable readiness;
  5. Develop a coordinated plan to strengthen allies and build partners;
  6. Reform and manage the 4th Estate and DoD;
  7. Focus the Department on China;
  8. Modernize the force—invest in game changing technologies;
  9. Establish realistic joint war games, exercises, and training plans; and,
  10. Develop a modern joint warfighting concept, and ultimately, doctrine.

I am proud to report that we’ve made real progress on these goals, with most on track to be accomplished on time. I will soon be posting an extended list of what we’ve achieved over the past year on the DoD website, but today I want to highlight several standouts, and celebrate what we have accomplished together.”

Secretary Esper’s full video message can be found here. The transcript can be found here.

Finance Friday Articles

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Here are my favorites this week:

Target-Date Funds Are Performing Well. But Choosing One Can Be Harder Than You Think.

Three Pathways to Wealth

What’s the Best Diversifier for Stocks? counterbalanced by Do Treasuries Have a Place in a Modern Portfolio?

Why Your Money-Market Fund Isn’t as Safe as You Think


Here are the rest of the articles:

5 Tax Benefits of Investing in a Syndication

5 Thoughts on a World with No Yield

5 Ways to Retire With $5 Million by Age 55

7 Ways For Physicians to Make an Extra $1,000 a Month

Active vs Passive Real Estate Investing

Asset Allocation Beyond the Zero Bound – Japan has had zero rates for 20 years. Here is what seems to have mattered for investment outcomes.

Best Passive Income Ideas for 2020

Covid-19 and Physician Burnout: How I Turned My Plank Into A Runway

Everyone Who Thinks the Stock Market Is a Game Loses

Explaining the 2020 Stock Market

How Low is Your Passive Income Tax Rate? The Taxes on Passive Income Streams

How to Fix Your Financial Problems

Investment Return vs Savings Rate: Designing Your Portfolio Pt 2

It Depends

Keep Your Distance

Jack Bogle Was Wrong About ETFs

My Thoughts on the “Passive Investing Bubble”

Tax-Efficient Investing and Asset Location

The Importance of Investing Money in Residency

TL;DR: The Best Finance Books in One Sentence

Two Reasons to Worry

Using an All-in-One Fund During a Downturn

Why Rebalancing (Almost Always) Pays Off

Throwback Thursday Classic Post – Step 1 to Crush the TSP – Prepare

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The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is the military’s retirement account. Learning how to maximize its utility should be high on your financial priority list. I’m going to create a guide that will show you how to crush the TSP. Here’s Step 1 in that guide…

Step 1 to Crush the TSP – Prepare

Before you can crush the TSP, you have to do a little preparation. You don’t need to be Warren Buffet, but you need to understand the basics of investing and the TSP. Luckily, there are many ways to learn the basics. Here are a few:

  1. Read a book – Go to your library, search for a used book with AddAll (one of my favorite tools), or buy one new on Amazon. The easiest and quickest read to increase your basic investing knowledge is The Elements of Investing: Easy Lessons for Every Investor. Read this book. THAT’S AN ORDER! (unless you outrank me)
  2. Read an online introduction to investing – The one that I’d recommend is the Bogleheads Wiki. Here’s a link to their getting started page and their investing start-up kit. What’s the best part? All of this is free.
  3. Watch videos – The Bogleheads have a video series, which is also free.
  4. Read blog posts – My favorite TSP-specific blog posts are found at The White Coat Investor. You can read What You Need To Know About The TSP, The G Fund – A Free Lunch, or The Military’s New Blended Retirement System. I wrote the last one.
  5. Read the TSP website – The TSP website has a wealth of information.

Now you’ve got some homework. Once you’ve done as much of this as you can, move on to the 2nd step.

Navy Updates Face Covering Rules: What You Need to Know

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By MC1 Mark D. Faram, Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs,

WASHINGTON (NNS) — Since April 5, the Navy has required the wearing of cloth face coverings for all military, Navy civilian and contractors as well as family members while on DoD property, installations and facilities when maintaining proper social distancing between people isn’t possible.

Those rules, laid out in NAVADMIN message 100/20, remain in effect. Now, the Navy’s top uniformed personnel official, Vice Adm. John B. Nowell has issued further guidance in NAVADMIN 194/20 on face coverings which can be worn in uniform and how to get them.

“Initial face covering guidance facilitated immediate wear and availability of face coverings as one of several COVID-19 protective measures,” Nowell wrote.  “Procurement, design and wear guidance was less defined pending the availability of more durable and conservative designed government procured face coverings.”

This initial flexibility was by necessity, Nowell said, to quickly put personal protective equipment (PPE) in the hands of Sailors and provided unit commanders flexibility in procuring face coverings through “multiple sources, designs, colors and durability,” allowing them to “rapidly field face coverings to their personnel.”

Since design type and configuration have been narrowed for wear with the uniform, here’s what you need to know about what can be worn and how to get them.

When worn in a Navy uniform, face coverings must still meet the standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and can be purchased by individuals or issued by commands.

Functionally, they must be made of at least two layers of cloth fabric and fit snugly and comfortably, covering the chin and extending over the bridge of the nose. They must not interfere with wearing eyeglasses or cause them to fog. Single-layer face covering already available through Defense Logistics Agency and Navy Exchange Service Command are acceptable and meet standards.

Fastening devices must be neutral in color and made of elastic, cord, string and loop. They must tie around the back of the ears or back of the head. It’s ok to use face coverings with barrel lock devices but only in areas where safety and Foreign Object Debris restrictions aren’t an issue.

Face coverings worn in uniform must overall be conservative in appearance, non-offensive and exhibit nothing that will bring discredit upon the wearer or the Navy.

Only face coverings made of plain neutral colors — specifically black, brown, tan, white, grey, green, blue can be worn. No lettering/wording, logos, symbols, prints or patterns are authorized.

The only exception is the option to wear coverings with camouflage patterns that match the Navy’s existing camouflage pattern uniforms.

Commands have the option of buying face coverings through Defense Logistics Agency or through open purchase if those available through the supply system “do not meet mission requirements,” Nowell wrote.  Purchase through the Navy Exchange is also available.

For further details, see NAVADMIN 194/20 which contains stock numbers for face coverings in all seven authorized colors. In addition, the message contains contact information for both uniform and supply points of contact in this issue.

Navy Rep on the USUHS Admissions Committee – O5/O6

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If you are in the DC area (local to USUHS) and would like to be considered for the Navy Rep position on the Admissions Committee, send your CV/bio to me at joel.m.schofer.mil < at > mail.mil by 24 JUL 2020. Further details are in this document:

Admissions Committee Navy SG Rep request 2020.2021

You Shouldn’t Need a PCS Order Waiver for Orders to GME

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It has been determined that no PCS waivers are needed for orders to “in-resident graduate education including in-resident Joint Professional Military Education.” This should include all GME and War College.

I’m sure, though, that people will hit road bumps with PSDs or when trying to set up a move, at which point your Detailer is your POC to try and resolve them.

Navy Suspends Fall 2020 Fitness Cycle

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By MC1 Mark D. Faram, Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) — The Navy has suspended the fall 2020 Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) to minimize risk of Sailor exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

The suspension was announced in NAVADMIN 193/20 on July 7, and is the second consecutive fitness cycle suspended because of COVID-19 mitigation concerns.

When fitness testing does resume in January 2021, the plank will replace the curl-up for the first time and the rowing machine will become an alternate cardio option as well, the message said.

“The COVID-19 situation requires that we continue to minimize risk to personnel, therefore all personnel will be “EXCUSED” from participation in Navy PFA Cycle 2, 2020,” wrote Vice Adm. John B. Nowell, Jr., the Navy’s top uniformed personnel officer, in the message.

“Suspension includes both the official Body Composition Assessment and Physical Readiness Test components of the PFA.”

Sailors will automatically be marked as “EXCUSED” in the Physical Readiness Information Management System (PRIMS) for the cycle. As a result, Command Fitness Leaders must not make any official PFA entries in PRIMS for the official Navy PFA Cycle 2, 2020 because the Physical Readiness Program (PRP) office will handle those updates.

The suspension also applies to organized or group physical training at the command level, including the Fitness Enhancement Programs, until further notice.

The only exceptions allowed will be for recruit training or if unit mission training requires such physical training sessions. In those cases, the exception must come from the appropriate Echelon II commander, who can also delegate the authority down to the first flag officer in the chain of command.

Unlike last cycle, mock PFA’s will be allowed for Sailors needing to regain advancement and retention eligibility as long as any local area and installation guidance as well as COVID-19 guidelines in effect are followed.

Also, all mock PFA’s must be conducted as outlined in OPNAV Instruction 6110.1J, the governing guidance of the Navy Physical Readiness Program with modifications as detailed in the NAVADMIN.  The curl-up will not be performed to minimize risk to Sailors.

Though the fall cycle is now excused, Sailors still must make good choices in maintaining a healthy diet and exercise program to keep within Navy physical fitness standards, Nowell wrote in the message.

The message recommended Sailors use the Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling 5-week conditioning plan. This is available online at https://www.navyfitness.org/fitness/5-week-training-plan. The plan was developed by Navy Installations Command’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation Fitness Program to help Sailors maintain Navy physical fitness standards while reducing the chances for injuries.

When fitness assessments do resume in 2021, the Navy will begin phasing in previously announced testing changes. This means, for the first time, curl-ups will replace by the plank exercise along and the rowing machine will become an alternative cardio option.  To give Sailors time to adjust to the new exercise, no plank failures will be counted during the first cycle the plank is implemented. Separate guidance on the implementation of the new events will be issued separately in September.

FY21 O4 and O5 Promotion Board Convening Orders Released – O5 Promotion Opportunity is 77%, Same as Last Year

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Here they are:

FY-21 Active Duty O4 Staff Corps Convening Order

FY-21 Active Duty O5 Staff Corps Convening Order

The promotion opportunities are 77% for O5 and 100% (like it always is for O4). For historical reference, here is an excerpt from the Promo Prep:

What Are My Chances of Promoting?

See the tables below for the actual promotion statistics for the Medical Corps.


  FY10 FY11 FY12 FY13 FY14 FY15 FY16 FY17 FY18 FY19 FY20 FY21
LCDR 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
CDR 80% 80% 80% 80% 80% 70% 70% 65% 75% 85% 77% 77%
CAPT 80% 80% 80% 60% 60% 60% 50% 70% 80% 90% 81% 91%

Medical Corps promotion opportunity. This percentage is multiplied by the zone size to give the number of officers to be selected for promotion. For example, if the promotion opportunity is 60% and there are 100 officers in-zone, then 60 will be selected for promotion. This 60, however, may come from officers who are below-zone, in-zone, or above-zone. For example, maybe 50 of the 60 are in-zone, and 10 are above-zone. That is why the percentage of people in-zone who are selected for promotion is always lower than the promotion opportunity.  See below…


  FY10 FY11 FY12 FY13 FY14 FY15 FY16 FY17 FY18 FY19 FY20 FY21
LCDR N/A N/A N/A 97% 89% 90% 93% 88% 85% 87% 91%  
CDR N/A N/A N/A 58% 66% 49% 53% 44% 40% 52% 53%  
CAPT N/A N/A N/A 55% 43% 47% 39% 34% 37% 41% 51% 53%

Actual percentage of in-zone Medical Corps candidates selected for promotion. N/A = data not available.