POM20 Navy Medicine Billet Reduction

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Some of you may have heard that Navy Medicine just had a significant billet cut. This has been referred to as the “POM20” (Program Objective Memorandum 2020) or “divestiture” billet cut. To be honest, the details are all still being worked out, so there isn’t a whole lot of solid information available about this, which is why I haven’t addressed it yet. Here is the high-level overview of what I know right now cut/pasted from the BUMED guidance/messaging sent out to Specialty Leaders:

  • Recent decisions by the Department of Defense have resulted in a reduction of military medical department billets across all Services beginning FY 2021, but could occur as early as FY2020. All of the Services’ medical departments will manage their own reductions.
  • We expect many of the billet cuts to the Navy medical department will be re-invested in other Navy priorities and communities that increase lethality.
  • The Navy Medicine reductions to medical end strength will impact both the Active and Reserve Components. These cuts are NOT related to MedMACRE.
  • Currently (as of 7 November), we anticipate potential billet reductions will affect the entire enterprise.  The exact number of billets and locations have somewhat been identified but decisions for all of the cuts are still pending.  We are sharing the known cuts and are prepared to share specifics as soon as the additional decisions are made.
  • The reductions impact our operational medical capabilities (e.g. Expeditionary Medical Facilities), as well as the scope of services available at facilities across the military health system.
  • While the specifics of the additional divestiture by Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) / Officer Specialty and rank / grade mix, have yet to be finalized, we understand some billet changes have already been programmed, which are impacting future assignments.
  • At this point, we expect reductions will impact graduate medical education (GME) and other training opportunities and adjustments will be necessary.
  • We will not be receiving replacement funding to address these billet reductions.
  • While we wait for decisions to be finalized, we’ve started formulating risk mitigation strategies and next steps to include:
    • Request partial restoral of POM20 issue cuts; especially Student / Training accounts.
    • Re-locate/reallocate platforms across the enterprise to ensure the most efficient and effective readiness placement/posture.
    • Working with the Regions to re-balance existing Operations & Maintenance (O&M) funding to ensure essential services are provided.
    • Work with the regions to conduct service reduction analysis.

The Best Education You Can Get in the Navy

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I’ve done a lot of courses and educational programs during my 17.5 years in the Navy. Here are the best ones I’ve done and why they are so good:

  1. Advanced Medical Department Officer Course (AMDOC) – This is tops on the list because it is the most useful and educational course with the widest applicability. Everyone should attend AMDOC as early as they can in their Naval career. This is where you’ll learn about BUMED, the Defense Health Agency (DHA), fitness reports, managing your career, and a whole host of other useful topics. While it was always hard to get into the course, it has recently become easier since they shortened it from 2 weeks down to 1 week, doubling the number of courses. You can find info on the course here.
  2. Naval War College Fleet Seminar Program – This is how I did my Joint Professional Military Education I (which incidentally is one of the best AQDs you can get). I tried to do the on-line Air Force version that everyone said was easier, but I’ve never been less motivated to do anything in my life. When I did the Fleet Seminar Program it was a lot easier because I had a class I had to show up to and classmates I had projects we were working on. It was also a lot more interesting to have discussions with folks of all backgrounds than doing it by myself on-line. You can read about it on their website.
  3. Naval Postgraduate School Executive MBA Program – This allows you to get a defense focused MBA in 2 years. The commitment is 3 years from the time you finish or quit, and it doesn’t interfere with your medical special pays. It is accredited as a standard MBA program, so you get all the usual MBA content you’d expect (finance, accounting, etc.), but there is a defense focus. This means that you take a class on funding the DoD and 2 semesters about how to purchase weapons programs. The weapons acquisition class was the least fun part of the degree for me, but I was warned ahead of time so I knew it was coming. I combined this non-medical MBA with the Certified Physician Executive courses to learn medical related leadership principles in addition to standard business principles. The work isn’t hard, but it is time consuming and about 10-20 hours per week. Overall, I’d highly recommend this program as you get a quality MBA for only the cost of books.
  4. Interagency Institute for Federal Health Care Executives (IFFHCE) – This is a very senior level course that is filled with O6 and the equivalent personnel from all branches and governmental agencies. When I attended I was a senior O5 and was the among the most junior in the class. You get exposed to all sorts of very influential speakers who are experts on their high-level strategic topics. It is tough to get into this class, but if you can go I’d highly recommend it.
  5. MHS Medical Executive Skills Capstone Course – This is similar to the IFFHCE (#4 above). It is senior and strategic. The course topics overlap, but both are excellent.
  6. MedXellence – This is a course run by the Uniformed Services University that they take on the road. You can often find that the course is coming to your area and sign up when it is local. This course is senior and more operational/tactical than the last 2 courses. It is for those interested in the business aspects of Navy Medicine, like clinic managers, department heads, OICs, Directors, etc. It is similar to an advanced clinic management course.
  7. Naval Justice School Senior Officer Legal Course – This course is for anyone who has Executive Medicine in their future. You will learn about legal challenges that senior leaders face in a case-based and enjoyable format. I was able to get into the course pretty easily as an O5. You don’t have to be slated to be an XO.
  8. Lean Six Sigma – If you are at a medium-large command, you should have someone somewhere that is the command’s Lean Six Sigma black belt. You may even have an entire office dedicated to it. I’ve done the green belt certification and taken the black belt course but never completed the full black belt certification. If you want an introduction to process improvement, start taking LSS classes available to you at your command.
  9. Medical Management of Chemical and Biological Casualties Course – I took this course a long time ago when I was a GMO, but it was great then and probably is still great. You get to go to the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). This is probably of even greater relevance lately due to all of the Ebola outbreaks.
  10. TRICARE Financial Management Executive’s Program (TFMEP) – This is another road show similar to MedXellence. You can find the course info here. I’d highly recommend this to anyone who is looking to rise to the senior levels of leadership at any MTF.
  11. Joint Senior Medical Leader Course (JSMLC)
  12. Joint Medical Operations Course – I did these last 2 courses back-to-back at DHA before I was deployed as a Joint Task Force Surgeon. They were a good introduction to the world of joint operations, but not among my favorites, which is why they are at the bottom of the list. If you want to be introduced to the world of joint publications and find out if “joint” really means “Army” have at it!

I’m sure there are other great courses available in the Navy, but these are the ones I’ve done that I found useful. If you have others you’d suggest, post them in the comments section.

Naval Postgraduate School Executive MBA Program Announcement

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Here’s the article about the Naval Postgraduate School Executive MBA that I did:


Distance Learning Degree, Certificate Opportunities Announced

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) — Navy announced Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) distance learning defense-focused master’s degree program opportunities for fiscal year 2019, including the Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) and graduate certificates, in NAVADMIN 275/18, Nov. 15.

These distance learning programs enable students to earn certificates or degrees at locations across the nation and around the globe.

NPS distance learning programs are part-time programs, normally lasting 12 to 24 months for officers, Department of Defense (DoD) civilians and some DoD contractor personnel who are unable to attend NPS residential graduate programs.

Distance learning master’s degree programs consist of one or two classes per quarter, for eight or nine quarters.

The EMBA is a 24-month, part-time online graduate program focused on financial resource management. This fully funded program targets middle to senior-grade active-duty officers, lieutenant commander (select) and above (lieutenant by waiver).

Admission to the EMBA program is available to applicants in any geographic location. The application deadline for the spring 2019 program is Dec. 7, 2018, with online instruction beginning April 2019.

Naval officers completing the EMBA are awarded the 3100P subspecialty code (NOTE – Medical Corps officers can’t hold this subspecialty code because there are no billets that require it). Officers interested in the EMBA program can visit the NPS EMBA home page at www.nps.edu/emba for detailed eligibility requirements.

All officers who enroll in a NPS distance learning master’s degree will incur a 2 to 3-year service obligation upon course completion/withdrawal, and all who enroll in a NPS certificate program will incur a 1-year service obligation upon course completion/withdrawal.

Copies of transcripts and participation agreements are required to support the application process for all degree programs.

Distance learning graduate certificates consist of a series of four graduate level courses delivered over four quarters, designed to provide enhanced knowledge and skills in specific subject areas. Graduate certificates are also available to qualified enlisted personnel. DoD contractor personnel applications will be considered for admission on a space-available basis.

A complete list of distance learning programs can be found at http://www.nps.edu/web/DL/. Each program’s webpage has the prerequisites and eligibility requirements for enrollment.

NPS is dedicated to providing relevant, high quality education to empower the next generation of leadership in the DoD, using a variety of delivery methods to expand learning beyond the traditional classroom.

For more information on NPS’s distance learning opportunities, read NAVADMIN 275/18.

3 Operational Billets in Summer 2019 for O5/O6

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Here are the three opportunities. Your Detailer is the POC if interested:

1.  CATF Surgeons/OICs Norfolk and San Diego, 2 on each coast needed.

–Deployed leadership opportunity for an O5/O6 to serve as the Senior Medical Authority Afloat.  Fleet Surgical Team OICs serve as the Subject Matter Experts (SME) in maritime Health Service Support and typically report to Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) Commanders or Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG) Commodores.  Supervising a team of 18 personnel, your role is to ensure that your team and assigned ARG ships’ Medical Departments are ready to deploy aboard LSD, LPD and LHD/LHA class warships to provide damage control surgical services, Intensive Care support, resuscitative support, en route care, blood bank management services, and behavioral health support. In addition, while underway you will serve as the Commander, Amphibious Task Force (CATF) Surgeon, responsible for coordination of health services support across multiple ships at sea.  Position open to all medical specialties.

2.  SMO’s needed for both Sub-tenders AS Emory Land and ES Frank Cable homeported in Guam.

–Support of 2-Tender Rotational Deployment model, alternating with one in support the submarine squadron and the other is forward deployed to support subs on mission and provide maintenance/logistics to any forward operating vessels. The SMO must be able to provide primary care to AD sailors (thus GMO credentials for non-primary care specialists). Additional medical staff responsible to the SMO: UMO, Sub IDC, and Surface IDC on board. Additionally the SMO’s leadership will assist in cases that benefit from an experienced provider who can determine which medical cases can be managed on board, utilizing remote host nation care, or which require ISOS MEDEVAC.

3.  3rd MLG Surgeon, Okinawa Japan.

–The 3D Marine Logistics Group (MLG) Surgeon is the Senior Medical Advisor to the CG either directly to the CG or via the Chief of Staff.  The MLG Surgeon has direct medical oversight over all of the General Medical Officers and Independent Duty Corpsmen and works with the Health Services Support Officer (G-3) to coordinate and validate medical coverage of all operations and training evolutions along with all Class VIII materials across the AOR.  Requires GMO credentials for non-primary care specialists. Also collaborates with both the 3d Medical and Dental Bn CO’s on Health Services related missions and taskers for 3d MLG.   The 3d MLG Surgeon also serves as the liaison between the Command and The Medical Officer of the Marine Corps via the III MEF Surgeon and MARFORPAC Surgeon.   Coordinates with other MSC Surgeons as well as the Naval Hospital Okinawa and host/guest nation military medical personnel on matters affecting Medical Readiness, Evacuations and other requests for information from the Commanding General and his/her Commanders.

Why the Navy is Using Photos for Promotion Boards Again

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A few readers have asked me why the Navy is using full length photos for promotion boards again. The official answer provided is:

This policy change is the result of board feedback received since the removal of the photograph requirement that the photographs and the board’s ability to assess the Title 10 requirements of an officer’s ability to perform the duties of the next higher grade.

Frankly, I had no idea what that really meant.

Then I read this article from Navy Times about the reinstitution of the photos. Here is what it says:

Vice Adm. Bob Burke, the Navy’s top uniformed personnel officer, changed course. He said selection boards wanted to appraise the appearance and physical fitness of officers submitting packages.

Appearance and physical fitness…now that makes more sense to me.