How to Sign Up for AMDOC While Website is Down

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For those who want to take or are trying to apply for AMDOC (see the leadership course catalog for FY 20 for dates), the website for application is currently down. To apply, please fill out these forms and send to Ms. Edna Smith (contact info is in the global address book):

NMPDC Non-Operational Nomination Form for AMDOC


Step 4 to Crush the TSP – Invest

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You’ve read steps 1, 2, and 3 to crush the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), and now you’re ready for step 4 and to start investing. In step 3 you came up with your desired asset allocation, so make sure you have that. You’re going to need it for the rest of the post. Just to make life a little easier, we’re going to use an example asset allocation of 80% stocks and 20% bonds.

Bond…James Bond

For the bond portion of your asset allocation, you only have two investment choices:

  • G Fund – US government bonds (specially issued to the TSP)
  • F Fund – US government, corporate, and mortgage-backed bonds

Both of these are US bond options, which is just fine. There are no international bonds available in the TSP.

We could have an intellectual discussion about the subtle differences between these two bond funds, but we’re not going to. It isn’t necessary. They’re both fine bond funds, so just split the difference, diversify, and put half of your bond allocation in the G fund and half in the F fund.

To illustrate, in the example allocation of 80% stocks and 20% bonds, we’d put 10% in the G fund and 10% in the F fund.

That’s it. The bonds are done.

The Stock Allocation

This is a little more complicated. The largest decision you have to make is how you’re going to divide your stocks between the three options. Here are your choices:

  • C Fund – stocks of large and medium-sized US companies
  • S Fund – stocks of small to medium-sized US companies (not included in the C Fund)
  • I Fund – international stocks of more than 20 developed countries

The first question is what percentage of your stock allocation should go to the I fund. There are a few schools of thought on this.

John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard, is famous for believing that you don’t need to invest any of your stocks in international stocks. His long held belief was that the US companies are doing business globally, so they are already worldwide diversified. For example, Coca-Cola is clearly selling Coke products all over the globe. He would say you should put 0% of your stocks in the I fund.

At the other end of the spectrum are people who believe that you should invest proportionally. If you look at the worldwide value of stocks, it is about a 50/50 split between the US and the rest of the world. These people would say you should put 50% of your allocation in international stocks.

Both of these opinions are reasonable, so anything between 0% and 50% allocated to the I fund is fine. What do I do?

I rely on the research done by Vanguard, an institution managing over $5 trillion. I figure they have more money and resources to research this stuff than I do. What does Vanguard do?

If you look at their Target Retirement Funds, which are meant to be a “one stop shop” kind of investment fund, you’ll notice that they split their stock allocation so that 60% is US and 40% is international. They used to do it 70% US and 30% international, but their research showed 60/40 to be a better split so they moved to it a few years ago.

You’ll notice that a 40% international allocation is between the 0% Bogle viewpoint and the 50% global weighting viewpoint, so it seems fine to me and that is what I do.

If you want another opinion, you can look at the TSP Lifecycle funds. You’ll notice that they do about a 70% US and 30% international split, like Vanguard used to do. Again, that seems reasonable.

Ultimately, you can pick anywhere from 0% to 50% and find someone really smart who agrees with you. I’d encourage you to have some exposure to international, so I’d say you should pick at least 20%, but it really is up to you.

Not sure what to do? Go with 30% (the TSP Lifecycle approach) or 40% (the Vanguard approach) for the I fund and call it a day.

How to Split the C and S Funds

This is easier, or at least I think it is. The C fund is basically an S&P 500 index fund of large companies, with the S fund having the rest of the small and medium sized companies. If you want to mirror the US stock market, you want to put about 75% of your US stock allocation in the C fund and the other 25% in the S fund. You’ll notice that this is what the TSP Lifecycle funds do, further backing up my assertion.

So, I recommend that you split your C and S fund allocation 75/25, respectively.

Putting the Stock Portion All Together

For the stocks, here’s the math:

  • (Your desired international stock %) X (your total stock allocation %) = % that goes in the I fund
  • (Your total stock allocation %) – (% you are putting in the I fund) = % you must divide into the C and S funds
  • (Your % you must divide into the C and S funds) X 0.75 = % that goes in the C fund
  • (Your % you must divide into the C and S funds) X 0.25 = % that goes in the S fund

Let’s use the 80% stock and 20% bond example we started with to illustrate. Let’s assume we’re going with a 40% desired allocation to international (like I personally use):

  • (Desired international stock = 40%) X (total stock allocation = 80%) = 32% goes in the I fund
  • (Total stock allocation = 80%) – (32% that is going in the I fund) = 48% we must divide into the C and S funds
  • (48% we must divide into the C and S funds) X 0.75 = 36% that goes in the C fund
  • (48% we must divide into the C and S funds) X 0.25 = 12% that goes in the S fund

That gives us a stock allocation of 32% I fund, 36% C fund, and 12% S fund.

The Bottom Line

We split our bond allocation 50/50 between the G and F funds. We put the desired percentage for international stocks in the I fund. We split the remaining stock allocation 75/25 between the C and S funds, respectively.

For the 80% stock and 20% bond portfolio we are using as an example, this plays out:

  • 10% in the G fund
  • 10% in the F fund
  • 32% in the I fund (based on a hypothetical 60/40 US/international stock split, which can vary as discussed above)
  • 36% in the C fund
  • 12% in the S fund

This can be tough to grasp in a blog post, so if there are questions or points that need clarification just put them in the comments section and we’ll straighten them out.

The next step you need to crush the TSP is to decide if you’re going to go Roth or traditional, coming soon…

2020 Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Conference: Call for Poster Abstracts

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The Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center is pleased to announce that the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Conference is preparing for 2020, pending approval.

The conference will be held in Tidewater (Virginia) March 17-19, 2020, with the specific venue to be determined.

The deadline for poster abstract submissions is 31 October 2019 by 2359 EST. No late submissions will be accepted. Selected posters will be announced December 2019.

Please submit an abstract with a title, author names and affiliations, and a body of no more than 250 words in a Word Document to Stephen.p.rossi.civ < at > with the email subject: Poster Abstract – Last Name, First Name.

Poster subjects should be related to public health in the military. Topics may include:

  • Supplements
  • PrEP
  • Changes in HPW
  • Diabetes Education
  • MHPPH Update
  • Smoking Cessation
  • HPW best practices
  • Readiness
  • Program Evaluation
  • Women’s Health
  • Process Improvement
  • Analytic techniques
  • Injury Prevention
  • Fleet HPW Programs
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Navy Needs Assessment
  • Semper Fit Update
  • Cancer Epidemiology
  • Hospital Acquired Infections
  • Behavioral Health Surveillance
  • Communicable Disease Surveillance
  • Public Health Dashboards and Assessment Tools
  • Injury surveillance

Our conference team is working hard to develop a solid readiness-focusedagenda that addresses force health protection strategies and solutions for current and future public health threats to Navy and Marine Corps mission readiness.

We look forward to your submissions.

Throwback Thursday Classic Post – Should You Send a Letter to the Promotion Board?

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Assuming you are under consideration by a promotion board, the answer is yes if:

  • You have letters of recommendation you want to send in, traditionally because you are above zone and were passed over at least once. In general, you should try to get letters of recommendation from the most senior members who know you well enough to discuss your contributions to the Navy and why you should get promoted. For example, it is probably better to get a letter from an O6 who knows you well than to get a letter from an O8 who does not. Your specialty leader is always a solid choice as a letter writer if you are unsure who to get one from.
  • You are reporting to a new command before the FITREP cycle and your Commanding Officer is willing to write a positive letter about your contributions to your new command.
  • You have issues in your record or career that require explanation or amplifying information. For example, you want to tell the promotion board how promotion to the next rank will allow you to do something you can’t do at your present rank, like screen for XO. If there are any gaps in your military service or any new information not on your FITREPs, these may need explanation as well.
  • You have to make corrections/additions to your record (like missing or illegible FITREPs, awards, academic or professional achievements, etc.) but you either don’t have time to update them the standard way or your have tried without success.


There are a few things to keep in mind:

  • After the board is finished, anything you sent is discarded. You cannot permanently update your record by sending documentation to the board.
  • By law, a letter to the board must be considered. In other words, if you don’t want the board to discuss a topic, don’t mention it in a letter. If there is adverse information in your record, sending a letter discussing it may help if you have amplifying information to add. Then again, if it is something they might not have noticed, sending a letter discussing it ensures that they will notice it!
  • Your Commanding Officer usually should not write a letter if he/she has done a FITREP on you, as his/her opinion should be reflected in the FITREP.
  • They are usually not recommended if you are in-zone unless there is a reason to send a letter listed above. Do not send one just for the fun of it.
  • Keep the length of letters to a minimum – one page or less – as boards have to read everything that is sent to them.
  • Do not send copies of publications.
  • Only the service member can send the letter on his/her behalf. In other words, if you have a letter from an admiral, you need to send it to the board. Don’t have the admiral’s aide send it because it will just get shredded and will not be briefed to the board.
  • Your letter must arrive no later than 10 calendar days before the board convenes.


Write the letter, but keep it brief. This way if you are not selected for promotion, you’ll at least know the board had all the info you wanted them to have.


See the following website for all the info you need, including a sample letter to a board:

If You Want to Improve Your Wellness and Reduce Burnout, Read This Article

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The articles discussing these subjects are endless. If you want to address your own wellness/burnout or that of others, read this article and take it to heart:

Reaching Peak Wellness – Most of It Is Nonsense. Here’s What Actually Works.

Three Global Health Engagement Positions Available – O4-O6

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Three GHE billets that are coming available in summer of 2020. Position descriptions and requirements are below:

  1. Director, Office of Global Health Engagement, BUMED: open to an O-6 from any Corps; duty station is Falls Church, VA.
  2. Deputy Director, Office of Global Health Engagement, BUMED: open to an O-4/O-5 from any Corps; duty station is Falls Church, VA.
  3. Chief, Lessons Learned, NATO: open to Medical Corps O-4/O-5/O-6; duty station is Budapest, Hungary.

Officers must be in their PCS window and have Detailer concurrence to apply.

Medical Corps applications are due to CDR Melissa Austin (contact info is in the global) NLT Oct 15, 2019.