career planning

Summary of Specialty Leader Business Meeting

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Here is a brief summary of last week’s Specialty Leader Business Meeting that is always held in conjunction with the Graduate Medical Education Selection Board:

  • Current interim Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) need to formally apply to the next screening board in summer 2017. I would STRONGLY encourage other people to apply as well because it is a screened/appointed leadership position that allows you to remain clinically active and that I also think will lead to promotion to O6 if done successfully.
  • Announcements for nominative positions often come out with very little time until the nominations are due.  They all require your CV, BIO, Letter of Intent (LOI), Officer Summary Record (OSR), and Performance Summary Record (PSR).  It is best if you have these ready to go due to the often short timeline.  I will tell you that I update my CV and military biography monthly and have multiple LOI templates at the ready at all times, so I practice what I preach.  Your OSR/PSR can downloaded from BUPERS On-Line anytime, so that requires no prep (assuming BOL is working).
  • Current overall Medical Corps manning is 103.4%.  This is of no real use to you but is simply an interesting fact/statistic.  It does, perhaps, limit our promotion opportunity a lit bit, but…
  • The Medical Corps promotion opportunities for FY18 are expected to be higher than they have been in recent years.  You never know the actual percentage until the board has concluded, but this is certainly good news.
  • As of now, there is no change in the conference approval process.  Sorry.
  • The Career Intermission Program (CIP) has been extended until 2019.  This program allows you to take up to 3 years off from the Navy to do something else, hit the pause button on progression toward promotion, and then return afterward.  You have a 2:1 additional commitment for any time off.  In other words, if you take 2 years off you’ll owe 4 years when you return.  Some people have tried to use the CIP to do fellowships on their own, but that is not the intent of the program and requests for CIP to do a fellowship will be closely scrutinized by BUMED before approval.  Info on the program can be found here or you can contact your Detailer.
  • There is no special pays update.  They are still awaiting the NAVADMIN.  The latest can always be found here:

http://www.med.navy.mil/bumed/Special_Pay/Pages/default.aspx

Updated Career Intermission Program NAVADMIN

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Here are a PDF and link to the updated NAVADMIN that governs the Career Intermission Program (CIP):

CIP NAVADMIN PDF File

CIP NAVADMIN Link

The CIP allows you to take 1-3 years off from your Naval career, maintain a small basic pay and TRICARE benefits, and then return.  If you are interested, you can also check out OPNAV 1330.2B – Navy Career Intermission Program Guidelines.

You Made CDR! Now What?

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If you are one of the lucky people who made CDR, I have some things for you to consider:

  • The next 2-3 years of fitreps may mean very little to your overall career.  First, you are soon going to be in the most competitive group in the Medical Corps, Commanders scratching and clawing to make Captain.  If you are at a medium to large command, no matter what you do as a junior Commander, you are likely to get promotable on your fitreps.  That is just how it works for most commands.
  • This first bullet means that now is the PERFECT time to do something “alternative” (off the usual career path for a physician) or take a position that you know will get you 1/1 fitreps or be part of a very small competitive group.  Go to the War College.  Take a senior operational job where you’ll get a 1/1 fitrep.  Become a Detailer.  Apply for fellowship because the NOB fitreps won’t hurt you as a junior Commander or Commander Select.  Now is the time to do these type of things.  You don’t want to wait until you are a few years below zone for Captain.  When you reach this stage you’ll need competitive EP fitreps.
  • After you are selected for your next rank is also a great time to move/PCS.  Have you ever been OCONUS?  If not, now would be a great time to go.  You can PCS somewhere for 2-3 years and then PCS to the command where you are going to set up shop and try to make Captain.  At OCONUS commands there is more turnover of staff, so major leadership jobs like MEC President, Department Head, and director positions open up more frequently, setting you up to get a senior position when you return to CONUS.
  • You may think I’m crazy, but it is time to start thinking about how you are going to make Captain.  As I mentioned in the first bullet, getting a job that will make you a Captain is tough and competitive.  Now is the time to do the things that will make you an excellent candidate for one of those jobs.  Want to be a residency director?  Maybe you should get a degree in adult or medical education.  Want to be a director?  Maybe you should get a management degree like a Masters in Medical Management or an MBA.  Want to be a senior operational leader?  Now is the time to do Joint Professional Military Education I and/or II.
  • Here is a list of the jobs that I think will make you a Captain.  Read the list…figure out which of these jobs you are going to use to make Captain…and get busy preparing yourself to get them:
    • Residency Director
    • Department Head in a large MTF
    • Associate Professor at USUHS
    • Director
    • Officer-in-Charge
    • Major committee chair
    • Medical Executive Committee President
    • BUMED staff
    • Specialty Leader
    • Deployment requiring an O-5
    • Detailer
    • Senior operational leader
      • Division/Group/Wing Surgeon
      • CATF Surgeon
      • Amphib or CVN Senior Medical Officer

Optimally you’ll have the time when you are an O5 to do multiple jobs on the preceding list.  For example, as an O5 I have been a Detailer, a Specialty Leader, and CO of a deployed unit.  My next step is to become a director at a major MTF, and while I was a senior LCDR and CDR I obtained a Naval Postgraduate School MBA as well as achieved certification as a Certified Physician Executive to try and make myself a competitive candidate for a director position.

Congratulations on making Commander…take a deep breath…and start thinking about some of the things I mentioned in this post.  Before you know it you’ll be in zone for Captain.

House & Senate Defense Bills – How They Could Affect You

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Here is the full article from the Military Officers Association of America:

House and Senate Divide on Defense Bill

Here are the issues mentioned that would affect Navy physicians:

  • For new entrants after 1 JAN 2018, and upon the first PCS after that date for those already serving, basic allowance for housing (BAH) would be calculated using the servicemember’s actual housing cost or the BAH rate, whichever is less.
  • The bill proposes dividing the normal BAH rate by the number of BAH-eligible occupants, meaning dual military couples or roommates could receive a significantly smaller allowance.
  • The committee also included proposals to change family leave policies. Servicemembers that are primary caregivers would receive six weeks of leave. Secondary caregivers would receive three weeks. This parental leave would be in addition to six weeks of convalescent leave allowed for a servicemember who gives birth.
  • Establishing TRICARE Prime only in areas with Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs).
  • Changing the name of TRICARE Standard to TRICARE Choice.
  • Authorizing the treatment of veterans and civilians in MTFs as needed to maintain operational skills.
  • Directing DoD to create a program to improve quality of care in MTFs.
  • Promotion boards would be able to identify up to 20 percent of selectees as “top performers” to go to the top of promotion lists.
  • The services will be authorized to give continuation pay to eligible servicemembers with eight to 12 years of service.
  • The service secretaries will be able to designate specialties to allow officers to serve up to 40 years.

New Feature: Career Consult & Record Review!

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There are a lot of people you can turn to when you need career advice.  There’s your Specialty Leader, your Detailer, and other senior mentors you’ve developed relationships with during your career.  If you want your record reviewed, you can either e-mail your Detailer or go to the Advanced Medical Department Officer’s Course (AMDOC) where a Detailer will review it one-on-one with you.  What do you do if you want an outside opinion or you can’t peel away to go to AMDOC?  Well…that’s where the new MCCareer.org Career Consult & Record Review comes in!

If you just have some questions to ask, go to the new tab on the website, submit your questions, and hit send.  I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

If you want your record reviewed, go to BUPERS On-Line and download the PDF copies of your Officer Summary Record and Performance Summary Record.  Once you have them, e-mail me with them attached (e-mail address on the tab or on the mail.mil global) and I’ll review your record for you.  It’s that simple.

New Military Colocation and Single Parent Assignment Policy

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Navy Personnel Command recently updated MILPERSMAN 1300-1000 – Military Couple and Single Parent Assignment Policy.  Here is an article that discusses the updates/changes, which include:

  • Instead of opting in, the Sailor can decide to opt out.

In the past, a Sailor had to request collocation during each orders negotiation.  Now Sailors will submit a one-time request that will remain in effect until the Sailor tells their detailer otherwise.  If a Sailor chooses not to be collocated, they contact their detailer and negotiate appropriate orders.

  • A flag officer review is required when detailers can’t collocate dual-military families.

To ensure Navy Personnel Command has done everything possible to accommodate dual-military collocation, the Assistant Commander, Navy Personnel Command for Distribution will review instances where the Navy cannot support collocation for any reason other than when a Sailor chooses to opt out.

The bottom line is that dual military families will usually get colocated anyway, but they should probably read this MILPERSMAN in detail, route the NAVPERS 1301-85 to request colocation, and follow-up with their Detailer.