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.

4 thoughts on “The 90% CAPT Promotion Opportunity and a Promotion Board Math Review

    David Larson said:
    February 12, 2018 at 07:47

    This is not surprising. The low selection percentages in the past means that some very good officers were passed over and now they get picked up above zone. They just have to live with the ‘stigma” of getting passed over. The Navy could have shrunk the zone sizes and spread out the time between promotions but chose not to. I suspect this lead to many officers getting out of the Navy when their commitment was up. Since in the past the Navy was getting smaller, this was probably an intended consequence.

    v/r David Larson CAPT(ret) MC USN

    On Mon, Feb 12, 2018 at 12:05 AM, Navy Medical Corps Career Blog wrote:

    > Joel Schofer, MD, MBA, CPE posted: “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 promotio” >

    Like

    CDR Wendy Schofer said:
    February 12, 2018 at 17:35

    So does this mean it’s a *really* good year to be above-zone?

    Like

      Joel Schofer, MD, MBA, CPE responded:
      February 12, 2018 at 19:26

      We won’t find out until the results are released. The board could have picked more above zone than in zone, a relatively equal mix, or more in zone. We’ll just have to wait and see.

      Like

    Greg Schluter said:
    February 12, 2018 at 23:46

    Joel,

    Great post! You simplified a subject that many officers from your Staff Corps and mine (CHC) find baffling.

    Keep up the great posts. I really enjoy them.

    CAPT Greg Schluter, CHC, USN

    Like

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