The 90% CAPT Promotion Opportunity and a Promotion Board Math Review

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People are very excited about the 90% promotion opportunity for the recently concluded FY19 Staff Corps O6 promotion board. But it is easy to misinterpret this opportunity. It does not mean that 90% of CDRs will be selected for CAPT. Let’s review promotion board math…

Where Does the Promotion Opportunity Come From?

The short answer is from manpower projections. How many physicians are getting out or retiring? What is the current Medical Corps manning level for that rank? What are future needs anticipated to be? What is the size of the promotion zone?

The answers to all of these questions determines the promotion opportunity and guides PERS and BUMED when they are making their decision.

As you can see here, the promotion opportunity varies from year-to-year:

  FY13 FY14 FY15 FY16 FY17 FY18 FY19
LCDR 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
CDR 80% 80% 70% 70% 65% 75%
CAPT 60% 60% 60% 50% 70% 80% 90%

Historical promotion opportunities for FY13-19.

But as you can see here, the percentage who are promoted from the in zone group is substantially lower:

  FY13 FY14 FY15 FY16 FY17 FY18 FY19
LCDR 97% 89% 90% 93% 88% 85%
CDR 58% 66% 49% 53% 44% 40%
CAPT 55% 43% 47% 39% 34% 37%

Historical percentage of in-zone candidates selected for promotion for FY13-18.


FY19 O6 Promotion Board Math

The FY19 lineal list shows that there are 74 CDRs in the FY19 zone. If you take the 90% promotion opportunity and multiply it by 74, you’ll see that they could have promoted 67 CDRs to O6 during the board:

90% opportunity X 74 people in zone = 66.6 (rounded up to 67) people they can pick for O6

These 67, though, could have been picked from CDRs who were below zone, in zone, or above zone. Usually, there is one person picked from below zone, and a number from the in zone and above zone categories. The exact mix won’t be known until they release the results in May.


The Bottom Line

I’d much rather have a 90% promotion opportunity for O6 than the 50% in FY16, but the actual percentage of CDRs who were picked from this year’s zone won’t be known until May. If I had to guess, the 90% promotion opportunity will lead to approximately 40% of those in zone being selected, but my guess could be way off. We’ll just have to wait and see.

FY19 O6 Promotion Board Members Released

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PERS always releases the members of the promotion boards. They used to do it as soon as the board started, but after the E-9 board had to be cancelled last year they now do it after the board is over. Here are the members of this year’s O6 board:

FY19 Active O6 Staff Corps Board Membership

90% Medical Corps Promotion Opportunity for FY19 O6 Board

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Here is the FY19 O6 Promotion Board Convening Order, which was just released on this website. On page 2 you can see that the promotion opportunity is 90% for Medical Corps, the highest it has ever been in recent times:

Historical Promotion Opportunities for Medical Corps

  FY13 FY14 FY15 FY16 FY17 FY18 FY19
LCDR 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
CDR 80% 80% 70% 70% 65% 75%
CAPT 60% 60% 60% 50% 70% 80% 90%


The YouTube Channel

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I’ve uploaded all of my video podcasts to the new YouTube Channel. There you can watch these videos:

  • 3 Financial Tips Every Young Doctor Needs to Know
  • Basic Anatomy of a FITREP
  • Fitreps in 18 Minutes
  • How to Read Your Performance Summary Report
  • Moonlighting
  • Outside the Box Opportunities
  • The Quick and Dirty on Updating Your Record
  • Tricks for Long-Term Asset Protection

This Job Will Probably Make You a Captain

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Whenever a position is advertised a second time, that usually means there is little qualified interest in the position. I’m not saying everyone would like this job or be good at it, but this position has been advertised a second time by BUMED:

BUMED Policy and Practice Officer

It is great prep for anyone looking to do Executive Medicine and is a high-level position at BUMED, which has historically led to promotion to O6. If you’re an O5, I’d look at this position and consider applying.

Guest Post – Networking and Mentoring for Military Women in the Digital Age

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Guest Post!

Today, we are going to hear from a CDR Schofer of a different variety: the wife.

CDR Wendy Schofer is a Navy Reserve pediatrician. She is the glue keeping the Schofer Family together through my demanding schedule, teens needing regular feeding/watering/supervision at home, and having her own part-time clinical job, nonprofit volunteer work, and regular orders. A personal interest of hers is keeping lines of communication open and mentoring personnel through transitions (of which she has had several).


Great to be here. It’s about time the Other CDR Schofer shared the fun.

I would like to address a couple of forums that have popped up online for females in the military. Yes, Facebook pages. There are a number of private or closed pages available to military women on Facebook. There are pros and cons to weigh for any social media pages:

***Before you sign up for any page on Facebook, be mindful of its privacy settings, as well as your own profile’s privacy settings. There is training on this – use that annual training guidance to ensure that you are not spilling personal nor governmental information inadvertently.

1) Pros according to Schofer:

  • Vetting: a number of these private/closed pages have you complete a questionnaire when you request to join, indicating service branch, where stationed, if know someone already in the group. There are also occasional requests from admin to help identify who truly meets the criteria to validly join the group.
  • Relatively safe haven: I have posted (and seen) questions that some might not ask elsewhere. It’s easier to ask when not face-to-face (see cons)
  • Broad audience/subscribers — you can get input from women beyond your immediate chain-of-command
  • If some guidance is questionable, it will often be addressed by someone else/clarified
  • Celebration of military women (we need to do this more)
  • Wealth of topics: dual-mil, pay, retirement, mentoring, protocol, hot topics, family leave policy, transgender policy/transitions, car transport, PCS, pet transport, looking for general mentorship, leadership approaches, uniform guidance, BRS, life after military, transitions to/from Reserves…
  • I love how professional my colleagues are: they are quite measured in their responses and often quote the MILPERSMAN

2) Cons according to Schofer:

  • It’s Facebook, still need to be mindful of OPSEC
  • It’s Facebook: social media can still call folks out online, or you may post something that you regret – also screenshots/forwarding can occur from people WITHIN your group – so nothing is truly private.
  • I am clearly only addressing the females in this audience. No males are allowed on these forums. It’s not meant to be exclusionary, but to support the safe haven noted above (how many men REALLY want to know the nitty-gritty about which bras to wear for pumping while in uniform?).
  • Take everything with a grain of salt. Just because someone has seen it/made it worked, doesn’t mean that it applies in your command.

Pages I have experience with, and others to consider:

There are other pages with broader appeal, such as Spouse Clubs, NOSC (for Reserve personnel) and local/regional unit supports. Examples local to Norfolk would be the The Oakleaf Club of Tidewater, Hampton Roads NOSC, Chesapeake Military Moms and Spouses Meetup Group.

These are not just for women, and tend to cover more family/childcare questions. But they highlight that there are a ton of resources available to families, whether established at a location, PCSing in, needing childcare suggestions or moral support. We are finding more and more moral support electronically – let’s use that for good. It has been immensely helpful in my Reserve transitions.

Thanks for joining me here. And please, keep it safe on social media, including realizing when to just turn it off and join the real world.