FY17 CO/XO Slate Released

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Here is the 2017 CO/XO slate for those who haven’t seen it:

FY17 CO/XO Slate

Intern Specialty Leader Position Available – O4-O6

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Navy Medicine Intern Specialty Leader

Remember that “Specialty Leader” has historically led to a promotion to CAPT…

Intern Specialty Leader Position Description

POSITION VACANCY.  The Navy Medicine Intern Specialty Leader (SL) is responsible for the administrative coordination of all Navy Medicine post-graduate year 1 (PGY-1) trainees and reports to the Navy Surgeon General via the Corps Chief’s office. Intern SL is a collateral duty; provider administrative discounts are negotiated at the command level.

LOCATION. Eligible candidates must be assigned or have orders to a CONUS MTF with PGY-1 trainees.

POSITION DESCRIPTION.  Roles and responsibilities of the Intern Specialty Leader include but are not limited to:

  • Provide advice and counsel to Navy Medicine leadership on matters concerning scoring, placement, and training of PGY-1 Graduate Medical Education trainees.
  • Provide expertise for effective policy decisions to support and ensure graduating PGY-1’s are ready to assume the responsibility of serving as a General Medical Officer, Flight Surgeon, or Undersea Medical Officer or enter residency training at the conclusion of PGY-1 training.
  • Collaborate with Specialty Leaders, Navy Graduate Medical Education, BUPERS, Medical Corps Accessions, USU and GME leaders at respective training facilities to ensure a successful PGY-1 Graduate Medical Education Selection Board process.
  • Attend Medical Education Policy Council meetings either in person or via video-teleconference.
  • Mentor medical students and PGY-1’s regarding career opportunities and challenges.
  • As SL, serve as panel chair at Joint Graduate Medical Education Selection Board for Navy Transitional Interns.


  • Board-certified physician with a strong clinical and medical education background. Fleet/operational experience is preferred but not required.
  • Expertise gained through diverse management/leadership positions such as a Division Officer, Department Head, Program Director or Command Intern Advisor.
  • A strong interest in providing advocacy for all Navy PGY-1 programs across Navy Medicine.
  • A working knowledge of Graduate Medical Education administration and a solid understanding of professional development, education and training.
  • A track record of superior performance in previous positions.
  • Excellent military bearing. No recent PFA failures.

Applications are open to qualified Navy Medical Corps (O-4/O-6).  The length of assignment is 36 months with projected selection Dec 2016.  Target interview dates late November, with a decision by December 2016.

Submission packets will include:

(1) Bio

(2) Letter of intent

(3) Curriculum vitae or resume

(4) Performance Summary Record

(5) Officer Summary Record

(4) Letter(s) of Recommendation (optional)

Submit completed package via email to Mr. Rogers Fluellen NLT 07 NOV 2016.

Interested candidates are encouraged to contact CAPT Carl Petersen if they have questions about the position.

Hardship Duty Pay-Tempo Reauthorized for Sailors

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WASHINGTON (NNS) — Today, the Navy announced a reauthorization of Hardship Duty Pay – Tempo (HDP-T) to help compensate Sailors for extended deployments and longer periods away from their homeport of more than 220 consecutive days.

The Department of the Navy’s HDP-T reauthorization proposal was approved by the Department of Defense for one year through Sept. 30, 2017. The pay was first authorized in Sept. 2014, for a two year period.

“The Navy is in high demand and is present where and when it matters,” said Vice Adm. Robert Burke, Chief of Naval Personnel. “Hardship Duty Pay – Tempo is designed to compensate Sailors for the important roles they continue to play in keeping our nation safe during extended deployments around the globe.”

Sailors will receive HDP-T on a prorated basis of $16.50 per day, not to exceed a monthly rate of $495, when they are operationally deployed beyond 220 consecutive days. There will be no differentiation in rates of HDP-T by paygrade or Active/Reserve Component status.

The New Blended Retirement System

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There has been a lot of recent activity surrounding the new Blended Retirement System (BRS), and I don’t intend to reinvent the wheel and explain the whole system to you when there are some nice resources that already exist:

DoD BRS 1 Page PDF Summary


DoD BRS Article and Video

Military OneSource BRS Frequently Asked Questions

What I intend to do is give you a bottom line recommendation if you have a choice about using the current retirement system or going with the BRS.

If you know you are going to resign before you are eligible for retirement, you should select the BRS.  Under the current system, you would get no retirement benefit, so that is a no-brainer.

If you are not sure how long you are going to stay in the Navy, you’ll have a tough decision to make.  I’d read the above resources but also check out this article that discusses how flawed the BRS is:

New Military Retirement System Has Major Flaw

If you know you are going to stick around long enough to be eligible for retirement, my personal opinion is that you should choose to stay with the current retirement system.  There are a few reasons for this:

  1. The BRS shifts risk from the government to you.  We buy insurance when there is a risk that we can’t bear ourselves.  People buy health insurance because a huge hospital bill could financially ruin them.  We buy life and disability insurance because if a breadwinner died or was disabled in our household we wouldn’t have enough money to continue our desired lifestyle.  The current government pension system is like retirement insurance. When it comes to retirement, the largest financial risk you run is that you outlive your financial assets.  Social security insures against that, but so does your military pension, which regular readers know I highly value.  Although the BRS has a pension as well, it is reduced, shifting more of this risk to you.
  2. Shifting risk to yourself is fine if you invest diligently and aggressively and the market earns a decent return.  The problem is that most people don’t invest diligently or aggressively and no one knows what the market return will be over the next 10, 20, or 30 years.  There are many people who lack the financial education they need (go here or here to get it) and invest in the Thrift Savings Plan but keep their money in the default option when you sign up, the G Fund.  There is nothing wrong with the G Fund and I have some of my own retirement assets invested in it, but it is not designed to earn a high return.  It is designed to not lose money and beat inflation.  In order to benefit from the extra TSP money that comes with the BRS, you have to earn a high return and will need to be smart enough to invest in something more aggressive than the G Fund.
  3. If you control your spending, live in a reasonable house, and drive a reasonable car, you can enjoy the higher pension of the old retirement system and fill up your TSP every year, enjoying the benefit of both worlds.  We have routinely saved 30% of our pre-tax income for retirement during nearly our entire Navy career, invested aggressively, and reaped the benefits.  And I have a retirement pension on top of that?!?!  It doesn’t get any better than that.

Detailing for Officers with High School Seniors

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A Distribution Guidance Memorandum or DGM is an internal Navy Personnel Command document that guides Detailing.  Although most of the time this is not an issue in the Medical Corps if you have a reasonable Specialty Leader and Detailer, if you ever run into trouble getting what you need for your family/career and you have a high school senior, it might be worth it to peruse this new detailing guidance:

High School Seniors DGM – SEP 2016

Associate Dean of Clinical Sciences Position at USUHS – CAPT/CAPT(s) Only

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If you are interested in this position, contact your Specialty Leader or Detailer.  The announcement is here.  It would need to be filled in early to mid-2017:

Directly supervises 360 junior officers in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Public Health Service.  Coordinates the School of Medicine’s curriculum and educational programs in the third and fourth years, monitors academic performance in the third- and fourth-year students, and assists fourth-year students in their preparation for Graduate Medical Education applications and selection. Responsible for the School of Medicine’s academic standard in the clinical sciences, as well as personal and professional growth and development of individual students throughout their third and fourth years.  Serves on standing committees that directly affect students, to include the Curriculum Committee, Student Promotions Committee, and Board on Review for Interservice Transfers.

The $121,500+ Guest Room

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I have a wife, two children, two dogs and the need for three bedrooms and two bathrooms. In March 2015 I purchased what I consider to be a modest 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath, 3000 square foot house in a nice neighborhood with quality public schools. The 4th bedroom is largely unnecessary, but like many people we occasionally have visitors and feel that it is nice to offer them a bedroom as opposed to a hotel. This is the story of how that 4th bedroom cost me over $100,000, far more than it would cost to provide our visitors with a hotel room…a REALLY NICE hotel room.

The Guest Room

The guest room and its accompanying full bathroom are approximately 600 square feet. The house sold for $140/square foot, meaning that this extra room and bathroom cost me $84,000. Where I live, you can get a decent hotel room for $100/night. In other words, I could have purchased 840 nights in a hotel room for any guests we have and I don’t think we’ll ever have 840 guest-nights unless we stay in this house for a very, very, long time. In addition, we have a quite comfortable queen size Lazy Boy sleeper couch that could have substituted for the guest room.

Running total: $84,000

The HVAC Incident

“The way they installed this, I don’t even think I can fix it.” That is not what I wanted my HVAC repair man to say, but that is what he said. The guest room did not have its own HVAC zone and because it is above the garage and the insulation is not what it could be, the guest room is always too hot or too cold. And what’s the point of a nice guestroom if it’s not comfortable? After spending $5,000, the guest room had its own wall mounted HVAC unit and zone.

Running total: $89,000

The Exchange Student

Since we have an $89,000 extra room with a bathroom and its own HVAC, we are hosting a Spanish exchange student during the upcoming school year. Hosting an exchange student will likely be a great experience for us all, as I assume it will expand our horizons and hopefully forge a lasting relationship with someone for us to visit in Spain.

I suspect this student, like most humans, will eat and drink and cost some money, so I’m adding that to the running total.

Running total: $89,000 plus whatever a 16-year-old boy eats and drinks during a school year.

Despite the fact that he is of driving age, he is not allowed to drive in the US. This, of course, led to…

The Manny Van

Sometime in August, I will have a wife, two kids, two dogs, and an exchange student. It is (was) going to be tough to get around and do the traveling we’d like to do in our Toyota Prius and Ford Fusion Hybrid. Having a 12, 15, and 16-year-old in the back seat, while technically feasible, was not going to be fun for anything other than the shortest of trips. Plus, we like to bring the dogs.

Enter the $32,500 2015 Toyota Sienna minivan, which I like to call the “manny van” when I’m driving it. I can now haul all living beings for whom I am responsible in the manliest of vans.

Running total: $121,500 plus whatever a 16-year-old boy eats and drinks in a school year

The Moral of the Story

One of the classic financial mistakes that almost all physicians make (including me apparently) is that they spend too much money, buying too expensive a car and too large of a house. Sometimes something as simple as wanting a guest room can lead to unintended and expensive consequences. If we didn’t have a guest room, I would probably have an extra $100,000 and I wouldn’t be driving a “manny van”.