I receive questions all the time about what happens when you are passed over for promotion and are now “above-zone”. If you find yourself in this position, here is what you need to do:
- Realize that it is not the end of the world. Based on the FY20 CDR promotion board statistics, 47% of in zone officers were passed over, but a large number of the officers selected were from the above zone group.
- If you do nothing, you will continue to get looked at by promotion boards until you retire, resign, or are forced out of the Navy. There is no limit on the number of chances you get to promote and your record will be evaluated for promotion every year. That said…
- You need to try to promote. At a minimum, you should consider sending a letter to the promotion board. What do you say in this letter? First, briefly state that you want to be promoted and to continue your career in the Navy. Second, explain what a promotion would allow you to do that you can’t do at your current rank. Answer the question, “Why should they promote you?” For example, if you want to be a Department Head at a large military treatment facility (MTF) or a Residency Director (or whatever you want to do), tell them that you need to be promoted to CDR to be competitive for these jobs. The Navy wants to promote leaders. Make it clear to them that you are a motivated future leader.
- Try and get letters of support to attach to your letter. These letters should be from the most senior officers who can personally attest to your value to the Navy. In other words, it is probably better to get a letter from an O6 who knows you well than a 3 star who doesn’t. If you are not sure who to ask for letters, ask those more senior to you or your Detailer for advice. Your Specialty Leader is always someone to consider if he/she knows you well and can speak to your contributions to the specialty and Navy.
- Have your record reviewed by your Detailer, Specialty Leader, other trusted senior advisor, or by me. Because of promotion board confidentiality, you will never know the reason(s) you did not promote, but most of the time experienced reviewers can come up with an educated guess. They’ll often find things that you were not even aware of, like potentially adverse fitreps, or information missing from your record. My promo prep document will help you as well.
- Do everything you can to get “early promote” or “EP” fitreps. This is largely accomplished by continually striving for positions of increased leadership. You need to get a job that has historically led to a promotion. As a LCDR who got passed over for CDR, try to get one of these jobs and excel at it (this list is not exhaustive and these positions are not the only path to CDR, but they are a good start):
- Medical Executive Committee (MEC) member
- SMO on an amphibious platform
- Regimental Surgeon
- Member of a hospital committee or chair of a smaller committee
- Department Head in a small MTF
- Medical Director/Senior Medical Officer in a medium/large MTF
- Meet with your chain-of-command. After you’ve been passed over is not the time to be passive. You need to sit down with your leadership and get an honest assessment from them of how you’re doing and what they would recommend continuing to advance your career. You may not like what you hear, but it is better to find out early if they don’t think you’re doing a good job or that you are unlikely to break out on your fitreps. That way you can try and put yourself in a better situation by changing commands.
In addition to the above list of things you should do, there are a few things you should not do:
- Do not lie in your letter to the board. In other words, don’t tell them you want to do Executive Medicine if you don’t really want to. Your record reads like a book, and if it tells a story that is contrary to what your letter says, this is unlikely to help you and may hurt you.
- Do not send long correspondence. Promotion boards have to read everything sent to them, and a long letter may not be appreciated. Keep it brief and to the point.
- Do not ask your current CO to write you a letter to the board if they’ve done an observed fitrep on you. His or her opinion about you should be reflected on that fitrep, so they don’t need to write you a letter. If they’ve never given you an observed fitrep or there is some new information not reflected on prior fitreps, they could either write you a letter or give you a special fitrep. Ultimately it is up to them whether they do either of these or none.
- Do not discuss anything adverse unless you want the board to notice and discuss it. This issue comes up frequently and people will ask me for advice, but ultimately it is up to the individual officer. The one thing I can guarantee is that if you send a letter to the board and discuss something adverse, they will notice it because they will read your letter! If you think there is a chance the adverse matter will get overlooked, it is probably better not to mention it and keep your fingers crossed.
Those are my tips for those who find themselves above zone. Most importantly, if you want to promote, NEVER STOP TRYING. You can usually stay in as a LCDR for 20 years, and I personally know of people who got promoted their 4th look and have heard of people who succeeded on their 9th try!
One of the most important documents viewed during promotion boards is your Performance Summary Report or PSR. It is the document that summarizes all of your FITREPs for the board, and it can be difficult to interpret. I created a screencast that will show you how to read your PSR. Here are the PPT slides and the screencast:
The FY20 Staff Corps O6 promotion board basic statistics are here. Let’s go over the basic stats for Medical Corps so that everyone understands them as they can be very confusing.
According to page 2 of the convening order, the promotion opportunity was 81%. The number of people in zone was 96. In order to find the total number of officers they could select for promotion, you take the promotion opportunity x the size of the zone:
(81% promotion opportunity) x (96 officer zone size) = 78 officers could be selected for promotion
As you see in the stats, they selected exactly 78:
- Above Zone – selected 24 of 134 or 18%
- In Zone – selected 49 of 96 or 51%
- Below Zone – selected 5 of 162 or 3%
As you can see, even though the promotion opportunity was 81%, the chance you got selected in zone was only 51% because selects came from above and below zone.
2019 BLUF – AQDs don’t get you promoted. Competitive EP fitreps get you promoted. If you are looking to maximize your impact, spend your time getting JPME, the Executive Medicine AQD, and your respective warfare device and ignore the rest of the AQDs.
The Original Article
Additional Qualification Designation Codes or AQDs are 3 letter codes that:
- Identify special skills required by a billet.
- Identify a qualification awarded to an officer for serving in a specially coded billet.
In other words, they are tools used by Navy Personnel Command (PERS) to assign officers to billets.
They also serve another purpose, though, because they feed the “Special Qualifications” section in the lower left of your Officer Summary Record (OSR), which is seen by promotion boards. Here’s what mine looks like:
This is why officers sometimes try to get as many AQDs as they can. The more things are in your Special Qualifications section, the better it looks to a promotion board.
That said, I have to tell you that some officers can get a little carried away with AQDs. Get as many as you can that make sense for your specialty and career, but don’t chase AQDs because you think they’ll get you promoted. AQDs, in general, don’t get you promoted. Competitive EP fitreps get you promoted. The most impactful AQDs at promotion boards are the ones that are the hardest to get, including Executive Medicine, Joint Professional Military Education (JPME), and any that indicate a warfare qualification.
The full list of AQDs can be found here, and the list of medical AQDs can be found here, but I think a very useful list to have would be a list of all the AQDs that any physician can get irrespective of their specialty. That list is below, and if you qualify for any of them you’ll have to send your Detailer the proof that you qualify in order to get them added to your record.
If you want to make sure you have all the AQDs you can get, you have to do 4 things:
- Review the chart below and see which general AQDs you qualify for.
- Review the AQDs for your specialty in this document.
- If you had a prior career before you became a Medical Corps officer of any kind, you’re stuck reviewing the complete list of AQDs and seeing if there are any you qualify for that weren’t covered by #1 or #2 above.
- For any AQDs you qualify for, you send your Detailer the 3 letter code, the year you qualified, and the proof that you qualify (usually scanned copies of fitreps, certificates, etc.).
|CODE||TITLE||CRITERIA TO GET IT|
|BT1||Parachutist, Static-line Qualified||Qualified IAW MILPERSMAN 1220-030.|
|BT2||Parachutist, Freefall Qualified||Qualified IAW MILPERSMAN 1220-030.|
|BX2||Fleet Marine Force Warfare Officer||Qualified IAW current fleet instructions and SECNAVINST 1412.10A.|
|BX3||Expeditionary Warfare||Successfully completed at least 18 months in an operational expeditionary warfare billet within the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Force.|
|JS7||Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) Phase I||Successfully completed JPME Phase I from schools defined by the Joint Staff:
(a) Naval War College for classes commencing March 1989 and beyond (to include the Distance Learning, Non- Resident curriculum), OR
(b) Other service colleges for classes commending August 1989 and beyond (to include the Distance Learning, Non- Resident curriculum), OR
(c) Selected Foreign War Colleges, OR
(d) Selected Fellowship programs.
|JS8||JPME Phase II||Successfully completed JPME Phase II from schools defined by the Joint Staff:
(a) Joint Forces Staff College, Joint & Combined Warfighting School, OR
(b) Senior Level Service War Colleges.
|J1M||Joint Staff Medical||Successfully completed assignment to an Individual Augmentation (Interservice Interagency Coalition) for a minimum period of 6 months.|
|J2M||Multinational HQ Medical||Successfully completed assignment to an Individual Augmentation (Interservice Interagency Coalition) for a minimum period of 6 months.|
|J3M||Combatant Commander Level Medical||Successfully completed assignment to an Individual Augmentation (Interservice Interagency Coalition) for a minimum period of 6 months.|
|J4M||Fleet/Division Staff Medical|
|J5M||Joint Task Force Medical|
|LA7||Qualified Medical Department||Officer who has qualified as a Surface Warfare Medical Department Officer IAW OPNAVINST 1412.8.|
|U1M||Joint Staff Medical||Successfully completed assignment to an Individual Augmentation (Intra Service) for a minimum period of 6 months.|
|U2M||Multinational HQ Medical||Successfully completed assignment to an Individual Augmentation (Intra Service) for a minimum period of 6 months.|
|U3M||Combatant Commander Level Medical||Successfully completed assignment to an Individual Augmentation (Intra Service) for a minimum period of 6 months.|
|U4M||Fleet/Division Staff Medical|
|U5M||Joint Task Force Medical|
|233||White House Fellowship||Participant in White House Fellowship Program.|
|2C1||Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) Green Belt Certified||Certified as a Green Belt per local command policy and recommended by the Commanding Officer via the local command’s Certified Black Belt/Master Black Belt. The command’s Certified Black Belt/Master Black Belt (NMSC CPI/LSS PMO for Navy Medicine Corps) will validate completion of the following requirements:
(a) Formal training (A-557-0003 or A-557-3100); AND
(b) The DON approved JQR standards have been met:
– Lead two LSS full DMAIC projects; OR
– Lead two KAIZENs/RIEs; OR
– Lead one full DMAIC project and one KAIZEN/RIE.
|2C2||CPI Black Belt Certified||Certified as a Black Belt per local command policy and recommended by the Commanding Officer via the local command’s Certified Black Belt/Master Black Belt. The command’s Certified Black Belt/Master Black Belt (NMSC CPI/LSS PMO for Navy Medicine Corps) will validate completion of the following requirements:
(a) Formal training (A-557-0009 or A-557-3005); AND
(b) The DON approved JQR standards have been met:
– Lead two LSS full DMAIC projects and one KAIZEN/RIE; AND
– Mentor two Green Belts through one full DMAIC project each or two KAIZENs/RIEs.
|234||Legislative Fellowship||Successfully completed at least 9 months in a Legislative Fellow assignment.|
|24F||SECDEF Corporate Fellow||Successfully participated in the Secretary of Defense Corporate Fellows program.|
|6AA||Aviation Medical Examiner||Medical Corps Officer from the Primary Care medical subspecialty codes who has successfully completed Aviation Medical Examiner training at the Naval Aerospace and Operational Medical Institute.|
|6AB||General Flight Officer||Medical Corps Officer who has successfully completed a formal flight surgeon training program and is a designated Naval Flight Surgeon.|
|6AC||Naval Aviator (Naval Flight Officer (NFO))/ Aeromedical Officer||Medical Corps Officer who is a designated Naval Flight Surgeon and NFO.|
|6AE||Naval Aviator (Pilot)/ Aeromedical Officer||Medical Corps Officer who is a designated Naval Flight Surgeon and Naval Aviator (Pilot).|
|6AG||Aerospace Medicine (Preventive Medicine)||Medical Corps Officer who has successfully completed:
a. formal Flight Surgeon Training program at NAMI;
b. a tour as a flight surgeon;
c. an approved Master’s degree program in public health;
d. an approved Aerospace Medicine residency program;
e. is eligible for the Aerospace Medicine specialty examination offered by the Board of Preventive Medicine.
|6FA||Marine Corps Medical Department Officer||Successfully completed a deployment of 90 or more consecutive days with the Marine Corps.|
|6FC||Fleet Marine Force Medical Logistics||(a) Successfully completed the USMC Ground Supply Officer School, AND
(b) Holds AQD 6FA.
|6FD||Surface Experienced Medical Officer||(a) Successfully completed an internship with sufficient primary care training to operate within the needs and operations of the fleet, AND
(b) Has successfully completed a tour of duty with the Surface Fleet.
|6FE||Senior Marine Corps Staff Officer||Successfully completed a senior Marine Corps staff position.
NOTE: Brigade, Group, Wing, Division and Force Surgeons, Force Preventive Medicine Officers, and the Headquarters Director for medical programs qualify.
|6OB||Shipboard Assignment||Successfully completed an assignment of 90 or more consecutive days aboard a ship (other than a hospital ship).|
|6OC||Hospital Ship Assignment||Successfully completed an assignment of 90 or more consecutive days aboard a hospital ship.|
|6OH||Humanitarian Assistance/ Disaster Response||(1) Served a minimum 90 days in one or more foreign or domestic HA/DR missions and demonstrated operational competence relevant to assigned position in the following HA/DR mission elements: mission leadership and planning (operations, manpower and logistics), international diplomacy, cultural awareness, host nation centered HA/DR health care, IT, communications and administration. AND
(2) Completed two of the following:
(a) Military Medical Humanitarian Assistance Course (MMHAC), (b) Combined Humanitarian Assistance Response Training (CHART), (c) Joint Humanitarian Operations Course (JHOC), (d) Joint Operations Medical Managers Course (JOMMC), (e) UM-CMCoord IMPACT Course, (f) NATO CIMIC Basic Course (NCBC), (g) Health Emergencies in Large Populations (H.E.L.P .), (h) Joint Planning Orientation Course (JPOC), (i) Joint Medical Planners Course (JMPC) , (j) Joint, Interagency, and Multinational Planner’s Course (JIMPC), (k) JTF Senior Medical Leader Seminar, (l) Asia-Pacific Orientation Course (APOC), (m) SWMI Humanitarian Assistance Course, (n) CATF Surgeons Course, (o) DMRTI Medical Stability Operations (MSO) Course, (p) Alternate course(s) deemed to have sufficient didactic content comparable with other qualifying courses by the Mission Commander, T-AH Commander, MTF Commanding Officer, CATF Surgeon, Navy Medical Mission Commander, or USMC Task Force/Group Surgeon or USMC Medical Element Commander.
NOTE: Verification that member has met the above prerequisites must be provided via endorsement by the Mission Commander, T-AH Commander, MTF Commanding Officer, CATF Surgeon, Navy Medical Mission Commander, USMC Task Force/Group Surgeon, or USMC Medical Element Commander.
|6OR||CATF Surgeon||Any Medical Department Officer who has:
(a) Successfully completed CATF Surgeon course; OR
(b) Successfully completed a tour as CATF surgeon; OR
(c) Successfully completed:
1. Surface Warfare Medical Officer Indoctrination course or holds AQD 6OB or 6FA; AND
2. Medical Regulating course; AND
3. Landing Force Medical Staff Planning course; AND
4. Amphibious Indoctrination course.
|6OU||Fleet Hospital Assignment||Successfully completed an assignment of 90 or more consecutive days at a deployed fleet hospital/EMF.|
|6OW||Trauma Team Trained Officer||Completed formal Navy Trauma training at NHSH-SD (NTCC USC-LAC Hospital) or equivalent Army or Air Force course.|
|6UD||Diver||Qualified in Saturation Diving IAW MILPERSMAN 1210-140.|
|6UM||Submarine||Qualified in Undersea Medicine IAW MILPERSMAN 1210-130.|
|6ZA||Instructor||Medical Department Officer awarded the academic faculty position of instructor by an accredited U.S. University consistent with the officer’s field of training.|
|6ZB||Assistant Professor||Medical Department Officer awarded the academic faculty position of instructor by an accredited U.S. University consistent with the officer’s field of training.|
|6ZC||Associate Professor||Medical Department Officer awarded the academic faculty position of instructor by an accredited U.S. University consistent with the officer’s field of training.|
|6ZE||Medical Ethicist||Medical Department Officer who has successfully completed an officially approved program of training in Medical Ethics.|
|6ZF||Researcher||(a) Completed an IRB approved research project fully consistent with the guidelines as promulgated by HSETC; AND (b) Met the rigorous guidelines of their medical community for publication in a Peer-reviewed journal.|
|6ZG||Residency Program Director||Medical Department Officer who has met all the established criteria of the certifying agencies (i.e., Residency Review Committees for conducting an accredited training program for officers in training).|
|62D||Faculty Development||(a) Completed an ACGME approved residency, AND (b) Completed an accredited advanced residency in Faculty Development.|
|62L||Clinical Epidemiology||Established competence in biostatistics, epidemiology, and informatics. Preferably, a Masters in Public Health degree or comparable training/experience.|
|67A||Executive Medicine||Met all the competencies of the Joint Medical Executive Skills Program (JMESDP).|
|67B||Expeditionary Medicine||Completed the Expeditionary Medicine core operational training courses.|
|67H||Ambulatory Care Administration (ACA) Officer||A master’s degree and has successfully completed: (a) 18 months in an ACA officer related position; OR (b) 12 months in an ACA officer related position provided master’s degree obtained in concentration in ACA.|
|68H||Health Promotion Coordinator||Completed the Navy Environmental Health Center Health Promotion Director Course and one year experience as a coordinator.|
|68I||Health Care Management||Completed a Masters of Science in Health Care Management.|
|68J||Public Health Emergency Officer (PHEO)||(a) Completed an MPH degree or 4 years of public health experience as outlined by BUMEDINST 6200.17A;
AND(b) Successfully completed the following distance learning courses:- FEMA IS-100.A, Introduction to Incident Command System- FEMA IS-200.A, Incident Command System for Single Resource and Initial Action Incidents- FEMA IS-700.A, National Incident Management System, An Introduction
– FEMA IS-800.B, National Response Framework, An Introduction; OR
(c) Completed the Defense Medical Training Institute tri-service PHEO training course. AND
(d) Successfully performed as a PHEO for 12 months.
NOTE: Per BUMEDINST 6200.17A, PHEOs must be clinicians, as defined as officers who can diagnose, treat, and prescribe treatment for illness and injury.
|68K||Alternate Public Health Emergency Officer (APHEO)||(a) Completed an MPH degree or 4 years of public health experience as outlined by BUMEDINST 6200.17A;
AND(b) Successfully complete the following distance learning courses:- FEMA IS-100.A, Introduction to Incident Command System- FEMA IS-200.A, Incident Command System for Single Resource and Initial Action Incidents- FEMA IS-700.A, National Incident Management System, An Introduction
– FEMA IS-800.B, National Response Framework, An Introduction; OR
(c) Completed the Defense Medical Training Institute tri-service PHEO training course. AND
(d) Successfully performed as an APHEO for 12 months.
|68L||Clinical Informatics||(1) Completed the corps appropriate certification exam or fellowship, OR
(2) Completed a certificate program or graduate degree in Informatics, or the AMIA 10X10, OR
(3) Worked >50% of their time in informatics for at least 12 months.
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.
(Because the convening orders change very little from year to year, this post is still relevant today. Enjoy.)
The FY17 Staff Corps O6 Board Convening Order was released after conclusion of the board. The best news was that the promotion opportunity for Medical Corps was 70%, up from 50% last year, which was an all-time low. Aside from that, though, if you read through the convening order, it basically tells you how to get promoted to Captain. I’ve read through it and pulled out quotes that you can turn into actionable items. Enjoy:
“Their personal and professional attributes include…physical fitness…”
ACTION ITEM: Workout and never allow yourself to fail a PFA.
“…successful performance and leadership in combat conditions demonstrate exceptional promotion potential and should be given special consideration.”
“The board may give favorable consideration to those officers who have displayed superior performance while serving in IA (Individual Augmentee)/GSA (Global Support Agreement)/OCO (Overseas Contingency Operations)/APH (Afghanistan-Pakistan Hands) assignments that are extraordinarily arduous or which involve significantly heightened personal risk.”
“Success in these assignments [joint duty assignment billets] should be given special consideration…”
“Navy Medicine needs leaders with knowledge and experience in a variety of settings including operational medicine, joint medical operations, and current peacetime health care delivery initiatives.”
“Navy Medicine greatly values joint experience…”
“You must ensure that Navy Medicine’s future leaders possess the broad knowledge necessary to support the operating forces and are acknowledged leaders within their operational…specialties.”
“The officers selected must have demonstrated exceptional managerial skill and professional competence in executive and staff roles both in support of the fleet and Marine Corps and within the naval shore establishment.”
“…you should select those officers who have served in a broad spectrum of assignments requiring expertise in diverse functional areas.”
“…those you select will be placed almost assuredly in positions that require broad military and medical perspectives beyond the Department of the Navy.”
“Best and fully qualified officers for the rank of captain, will be those who have demonstrated experience and expertise across the spectrum of military treatment facilities, operational platforms in support of the fleet or the Marine Corps, and the intersection with the strategic and tactical issues in provision of military healthcare through experience in headquarters or other associated DoD agencies.”
ACTION ITEM: Deploy, preferably in a combat or joint environment, if available. PCS when you can, and take a variety of assignments, including senior operational positions and positions with other services.
“The board shall give favorable consideration to those officers with relevant graduate education…and Navy and Joint Professional Military Education (JPME).”
“The Navy values completion of graduate education and development of a subspecialty. Degrees from the Naval Postgraduate School, the Naval War College and equivalent Service institutions, and civilian education programs…are desirable.”
“Navy Medicine greatly values…formal education to include JPME I.”
“The Navy values completion of graduate education and development within and officer’s subspecialty.”
“The Navy values competitive scholarships and fellowships, examples of which include: Olmsted Scholar, Marshall Scholar, Rhodes Scholar, White House Fellowship, SECDEF Corporate Fellowship, and Federal Executive Fellowships (e.g., Politico-Military and Cyber).”
ACTION ITEM: Consider applying for one of these scholarships or fellowships.
“Duty or service in combined or other staff positions at the senior levels of government should also be considered favorably.”
ACTION ITEM: Don’t be afraid to take positions in senior levels of government organizations when they are available.
“You shall give consideration to an officer’s clinical and scientific proficiency as a health professional to at least as great an extent as you give to that officer’s administrative and management skills. Strong consideration should be given to board certification when a board certification exists for the specialty.”
ACTION ITEM: Get and stay board certified.
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: