Letters to the board

Throwback Thursday Classic Post – What is a “Don’t Pick Me” Promotion Board Letter? Why Would You Send One?

Posted on Updated on

If you go to the Navy Active Duty Officer Promotions Page, you’ll find this at the bottom:

Sample “Don’t Pick Me” Letter to the Board

Removing the introductory portion, here is what the meat of this letter says:

1. Per reference (a), please remove my record from consideration by the FY-2X Active Duty (Grade) (Competitive Category) Selection Board.

That’s it. All it says to the promotion board is, “Don’t pick me.”

Why would or should a physician send a letter requesting NOT to be considered by a promotion board? Here are a few reasons:

  1. You are an O4 or O5, know that you are resigning, and that you will not be joining the Reserves – If you are just paying your time back and getting out, do your fellow officer a favor and remove yourself from consideration. It is hard enough to promote to O5 and O6 nowadays. Having one less person to compete with helps out those who are willing to stick around. Yes, if you are picked and get promoted soon enough you could get some extra pay for a little while before you resign, but I’d say the general karma of letting someone else get the promotion outweighs that small financial benefit.
  2. You are an O4 or O5 who is retiring but you know that if selected for promotion you won’t accept it – Why would someone not accept a promotion? Because a promotion to O5 or O6 obligates you for 3 more years if you intend to retire. And the Navy still isn’t letting anyone get out early. If you want to get out as fast as possible with a 20 year retirement, taking a promotion to O6 in year 18 means you must stick around until year 21 at least.

Why is a “Don’t Pick Me” letter not applicable if you’re an O3? Because for physicians the promotion opportunity is “all fully qualified” or 100% for O4. In other words, if everyone in zone was fully qualified they could promote every physician who is a LT to LCDR. They generally don’t, but they could. You taking a promotion doesn’t really hinder someone else’s promotion like it does for O5 and O6.

So…if #1 or #2 above are applicable, consider sending a “Don’t Pick Me” letter. And remember, they are now due 10 days before a board convenes (not 24 hours like before).

 

Throwback Thursday Classic Post – Do You Still Need to Send the Above Zone Letter?

Posted on Updated on

The standard advice has always gone something like this:

If you are above zone, you need to send a letter to the promotion board so that they know you are still trying to promote. Otherwise they won’t pick you.

Now that they no longer stamp officer records with “AZ” (above zone) and they look exactly the same as those records that are in zone, do you still need to write a letter to the board? Has the standard advice changed?

Reasons to Send a Letter to a Promotion Board

I addressed this in a post from a few years ago entitled “Should You Send a Letter to the Promotion Board?” I still agree with just about everything in that post, except for this:

“…you should always send a letter to demonstrate interest in getting promoted when you are above zone.”

In my opinion, you no longer need to send a letter just because you are above zone. If you have another reason to send a letter, then please do. If you are just sending one because you think you have to, I think that is no longer necessary.

The O6 promotion board convening orders state:

…in determining which officers are best and fully qualified for promotion, you are required to equally consider both above-zone and in-zone officers.

What if You’re Not Sure?

As you might imagine, I get asked a lot whether someone should send a letter to the promotion board. This is my standard response…

Pretend that you did not send a letter to the board, the board is over, and you were not selected for promotion. Are you going to be kicking yourself for not sending the letter? If the answer is yes or maybe, then send the letter. As long as you keep it short and sweet, there is no real downside.

Frankly, I think that when officers send letters to promotion boards they are often just making themselves feel better, and there is nothing wrong with that. You want to make sure that when the promotion board results come out, no matter what happened, you feel like you did everything you could to get promoted.

The Bottom Line

If you are above zone and want to send the letter just so there is no regret, feel free, but it is definitely not required to be considered for promotion.

All the Posts About Letters to the Board in One Place

Posted on Updated on

The question most people ask me is answered in these posts:

Should You Send a Letter to the Promotion Board?

Do You Still Need to Send the Above Zone Letter?

The bottom line is:

Pretend that you did not send a letter to the board, the board is over, and you were not selected for promotion. Are you going to be kicking yourself for not sending the letter? If the answer is yes or maybe, then send the letter. As long as you keep it short and sweet, there is no real downside.

Frankly, I think that when officers send letters to promotion boards they are often just making themselves feel better, and there is nothing wrong with that. You want to make sure that when the promotion board results come out, no matter what happened, you feel like you did everything you could to get promoted.

 

You don’t need to mail letters anymore:

Electronic Submission of Letters to the Board Now Available

 

You can’t send letters to the board the day before the board anymore:

Letters to Promotion Boards Now Due 10 Calendar Days Before the Board

 

If you know you are getting out of the Navy and really don’t care about getting promoted, you should read this post:

What is a “Don’t Pick Me” Promotion Board Letter? Why Would You Send One?

 

Have you been on active duty for less than 1 year? Read this:

How to Be Considered for Promotion if You’ve Been on Active Duty for Less Than 1 Year

 

You now need to use your DoD ID number and not your Social Security number on letters to the board. Read this:

Use DoD ID Number and Not Your SSN on Letters to the Board

 

Happy holidays!

Electronic Submission of Letters to the Board Now Available

Posted on Updated on

From Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs
MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) — The Navy has announced a new online capability that allows board-eligible Sailors to submit letters to the board (LTBs) electronically, Sept. 27.

Announced in NAVADMIN 220/19, the Electronic Submission of Selection Board Documents (ESSBD), is a MyNavy HR transformation and Sailor 2025 initiative designed to improve personnel programs and give Sailors more control and ownership over their careers. ESSBD improves the speed, transparency and confidence of receipt over current submission methods.

The application allows board candidates the ability to submit pre-formatted LTBs, with or without attachments. Additionally, board candidates are able to view the exact product that will be delivered to the board. Previous submission methods (U.S. Postal Service, e-mail, etc.) will remain, but ESSBD will become the preferred LTB submission method.

ESSBD will be available for limited use by administrative boards through the remainder of calendar year 2019. For a list of eligible boards (none of which appear to be medical to me – JMS) and their convening dates, consult NAVADMIN 220/19. Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, ESSBD will be available for all promotion, advancement and selection boards.

ESSBD is currently available for submissions of LTBs only. Submissions to application-driven boards and programs, such as Limited Duty Officer/Chief Warrant Officer (LDO/CWO), Lateral Transfer, educational programs, etc. will not be submitted via ESSBD. Sailors should continue to use the submission guidance contained in the specific NAVADMINs for these programs.

To use ESSBD, candidates must access document services through MNP at https://www.mnp.navy.mil/group/my-record. Submitters should have all information, with attachments (if applicable), prior to beginning this process, as there is currently no “save-and-return” function between BOL sessions. Submitters will receive an email confirmation of receipt. Submission and subsequent receipt acknowledgement for letters submitted via ESSBD, or other means, does not constitute confirmation of board eligibility.

A full visual user guide is available at https://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/boards/selectionboardsupport/Documents/ESSBDUSERGUIDE_v4.pdf.

For more information or questions related to ESSBD and ESSBD submissions, consult NAVADMIN 220/19 or contact the MyNavy Career Center (MNCC) by calling (833)-330-6622, or via DSN at 882-6622.

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

Posted on Updated on

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.

THINGS TO REMEMBER

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.

I’M STILL NOT SURE IF I NEED TO WRITE A LETTER

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.

HOW DO I WRITE/SEND THE LETTER?

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

http://www.public.navy.mil/BUPERS-NPC/BOARDS/ACTIVEDUTYOFFICER/Pages/default.aspx

Use DoD ID Number and Not Your SSN on Letters to the Board

Posted on Updated on

Live and learn…

You no longer use your social security number on letters to promotion boards. The middle of this webpage at PERS says:

Also, you MUST use your FULL 10 digit DoD identification number on your cover letter and any document that does not already contain it.

Here is the updated sample letter to a board from PERS.

The Word File of My Promo Board Letter and Other Templates

Posted on

Lots of people are asking me for templates for letters to promotion boards. Here is the exact letter in Word format that I sent to last year’s O6 board (minus my Xed out SS#):

Schofer Letter to O6 Board

You can also use these:

PERS Sample Letter to the Board

PERS Promotion Board Letter – Word Template