The Navy is Not Going to Let You Retire Early

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There have been recent discussions about cuts in military medicine and POM20, and some people found this recently signed policy about early retirements. They put 2 and 2 together and figured that they might be able to retire early.

The message from BUMED is that this was merely the required periodic update of the existing early retirement policy. It was unfortunate timing and there are no plans to use it that they know of.

If that changes, you’ll hear it here as soon as I can get it out there.

POM20 Navy Medicine Billet Reduction

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Some of you may have heard that Navy Medicine just had a significant billet cut. This has been referred to as the “POM20” (Program Objective Memorandum 2020) or “divestiture” billet cut. To be honest, the details are all still being worked out, so there isn’t a whole lot of solid information available about this, which is why I haven’t addressed it yet. Here is the high-level overview of what I know right now cut/pasted from the BUMED guidance/messaging sent out to Specialty Leaders:

  • Recent decisions by the Department of Defense have resulted in a reduction of military medical department billets across all Services beginning FY 2021, but could occur as early as FY2020. All of the Services’ medical departments will manage their own reductions.
  • We expect many of the billet cuts to the Navy medical department will be re-invested in other Navy priorities and communities that increase lethality.
  • The Navy Medicine reductions to medical end strength will impact both the Active and Reserve Components. These cuts are NOT related to MedMACRE.
  • Currently (as of 7 November), we anticipate potential billet reductions will affect the entire enterprise.  The exact number of billets and locations have somewhat been identified but decisions for all of the cuts are still pending.  We are sharing the known cuts and are prepared to share specifics as soon as the additional decisions are made.
  • The reductions impact our operational medical capabilities (e.g. Expeditionary Medical Facilities), as well as the scope of services available at facilities across the military health system.
  • While the specifics of the additional divestiture by Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) / Officer Specialty and rank / grade mix, have yet to be finalized, we understand some billet changes have already been programmed, which are impacting future assignments.
  • At this point, we expect reductions will impact graduate medical education (GME) and other training opportunities and adjustments will be necessary.
  • We will not be receiving replacement funding to address these billet reductions.
  • While we wait for decisions to be finalized, we’ve started formulating risk mitigation strategies and next steps to include:
    • Request partial restoral of POM20 issue cuts; especially Student / Training accounts.
    • Re-locate/reallocate platforms across the enterprise to ensure the most efficient and effective readiness placement/posture.
    • Working with the Regions to re-balance existing Operations & Maintenance (O&M) funding to ensure essential services are provided.
    • Work with the regions to conduct service reduction analysis.