Officer Promotions and the NDAA 19

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Physicians are always interested in promotions, and the proposed NDAA 19 makes a number of changes to officer promotions. If you want the scoop, first I’d read this article from Military Times:

Congress is Giving the Officer Promotion System a Massive Overhaul

In addition, here are the relevant changes I pulled out of an article from the DHA Early Bird a few days ago:

  • Officers will continue to be considered for promotion as part of the same year group in which they were promoted to their current rank.
  • Congress is required to annually authorize the number of officers allowed to serve in the ranks of O­4 through O­6 across all the services.
  • It repeals a requirement that candidates for regular commissions not be older than 42, or at least have enough service years to complete 20 years by age 62.
  • ­It enhances the services’ authority to award constructive service credit for special private sector training or experience to allow active or reserve officer appointments up to the rank of O6 in critically ­needed fields.
  • Authorizing each service to award temporary promotions to the ranks O­3 through O­6 for specified positions. Only Navy has such authority today so this change would standardize it across all branches.
  • Authorizing promotion boards to recommend that “officers of particular merit” be placed higher on promotion lists than peers.
  • Allowing officers, when deemed in the best interest of the service, to have their names removed from consideration by a selection board for promotion to the next higher grade, and authorizing officers in certain military specialties to remain on active duty until reaching 40 years active service.
  • Authorizing use of an alternative promotion processes for officers in certain secretary­ designated competitive categories, to include a term­ based continuation process when certain officers are not selected for promotion. This would selectively end the traditional up ­or ­out requirement for officer management.

The devil’s in the details, and the Military Times article states that the changes are not mandatory for the services, so we’ll have to see how it all plays out over the next few years.


NDAA 2019 Update

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On Monday the House and Senate came out of committee having reconciled their two versions of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA 19) into a combined bill that will be voted on. Oh, and if I got any of that wrong so be it. It’s been a while since my last social studies or civics class, but that is basically what happened.

What emerged and is now contained in the NDAA 19? Here are the highlights, which can be found in the FY19 NDAA Conference Summary (Note that I highlighted the parts that were relevant to my readership):

  • A 2.6% pay raise, the highest in nine years.
  • It makes the Career Intermission Program permanent.
  • No medical treatment facilities are allowed to be closed or downgraded until they are all transitioned to the Defense Health Agency.
  • Mandates retention of a Navy hospital ship capability.

Whether you knew it or not, prior to this committee work there were provisions that would have:

  • Disestablished BUMED (and the equivalent Army and Air Force medical commands).
  • Changed service obligations for training, requiring them to be served consecutively rather than concurrently.

These things were removed and are not in the unified version that emerged from committee. That’s probably a good thing since the last one probably would not have improved morale, accession, or retention (other than forced retention).

If you’re really interested, here are some other very long PDFs that tell you everything that was debated and the result:

Joint Explanatory Statement (651 pages long)

Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 5515 (2552 pages long)

Searching for “medicine” or “medical” will probably get you to the most relevant medical portions. There are also some significant changes to promotions that I have not had the time to deep dive on. You can find them by searching for “promotion.”

MOAA Post – Big Changes to Post 9/11 G.I. Bill: What You Need To Know

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You can read the full post here:

Big Changes to Post 9/11 G.I. Bill: What You Need To Know

The quick summary is:

  1. Effective July 12, 2019, service members desiring to transfer their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit to a spouse or children will need to do so no later than their 16th year of service.
  2. Effective immediately, any sailors and naval officers who can’t serve four additional years is ineligible to transfer the benefit. This affects Navy personnel ineligible due to their time in grade as well as those with an impending medical retirement.
  3. Regardless of where you are in your career, if you are considering transferring the benefit to one or more of your dependents, it’s best to do so now, before the new rule takes effect.