promotion boards

FY20 O5 Staff Corps Promotion Opportunities Released

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The FY20 O5 Staff Corps Promotion Board Convening Order was released today. It contains a few interesting things that you should care about

First, it contains language you should use to write your fitreps.

Second, it contains the promotion board opportunities on page 2, but you can see it here:

Screen Shot 2019-03-29 at 9.07.33 PM

Promotion board math is explained in this post.

Third, it contains a discussion about the new merit reorder process, just like the O6 board. Here it is:

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Merit Reorder During FY20 Promotion Boards

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If you read page 16 of the FY20 Staff Corps O6 Promotion Board Convening Order, you’ll notice that there is a new section entitled “Recommendation for Reorder of Active-Duty Officers of Particular Merit.” This allows promotion boards to take up to 15% of the people they select and move them to the top of the promotion order if they feel they are worthy of it.

In other words, no longer will people promote based on seniority, but those who the board feels deserve it will move to the top of the list. It says:

Officers of particular merit are those officers whose records contain documented performance consistently superior to the performance of other officers recommended for promotion by this board.

That said, the promotion board could choose not to do this at all, leaving the people selected to promote based on their lineal number and seniority.

FY20 Staff Corps O6 Convening Order and Promotion Opportunities

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The FY20 Staff Corps O6 Promotion Board Convening Order was released today. On page 2, you can see the following promotion opportunities:

  • Medical Corps – 81%
  • Dental Corps – 89%
  • Medical Service Corps – 60%
  • Nurse Corps – 50%

Promotion board math was reviewed last year and can be confusing, but what it means is this…

Pretend there were 100 physicians in zone for O6. The board could select 81 for O6, but that 81 comes from all of those eligible. In other words, anyone picked from below, in, or above zone counts toward the 81. This means your chances of being selected in zone are much less than the promotion opportunity of 81% because of all the above and below zone eligibles.

Just to give some Medical Corps perspective, here is the historical promotion opportunity as far back as I have it:

  FY13 FY14 FY15 FY16 FY17 FY18 FY19 FY20
LCDR 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%  
CDR 80% 80% 70% 70% 65% 75% 85%  
CAPT 60% 60% 60% 50% 70% 80% 90% 81%

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

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The FY20 promotion board NAVADMIN was released in December. If you are in-zone or above-zone for an upcoming promotion board but you’ve been on active duty for less than 1 year, you should read #5 from the NAVADMIN, which says:

5. In-zone and above-zone eligible officers in the grades of lieutenant,
lieutenant commander and commander, whose placement on the Active -Duty List
is within one year of the convening dates of these boards, are automatically
deferred unless they specifically request to be considered. The officer may
waive this deferment and request consideration for promotion, in writing,
emailed to NPC_Officer_SELBD_Elig_Waivers.fct(AT) or mailed

Commander, Navy Personnel Command (PERS-802)
5720 Integrity Drive
Millington, TN 38055-0000

The request must be received by PERS-80 not later than 30 days prior to the
convening date of the board. All officers are reminded it is their
responsibility to ensure their personnel records are substantially accurate
and complete.

What does this mean and why would it apply to you? Maybe you had prior service, you went to medical school, and now you’re a senior LT who is in-zone for LCDR right away. Maybe you did a civilian NADDS residency and you are in-zone right away for LCDR. There might be other situations that would put you in this position, like getting time-in-grade credit for a PhD.

If you believe you are in this position, here is what I’d do:

  1. Confirm you are in-zone or above-zone. How can you do this? The easiest way is to either read the Promo Prep or get the FY20 lineal list. Or you can use this document from PERS.
  2. If you wish to be considered for promotion to LCDR, CDR, or CAPT, so what it says above. Send the letter simply requesting this. It can probably be a very short letter. There is no need to be verbose.
  3. Finally, contact PERS-802: Selection Board Eligibility Branch because I know people who did only #2 (sent a letter) and were not considered. Here’s what their website says:

If you have questions concerning promotion boards, eligibility for promotion boards, please contact the MyNavy Career Center at (833) 330-MNCC or

PERS-802, Branch Head, (901) 874-4537

Officer Active and Reserve Eligibility Section
Section Supervisor (901) 874-3324

Also, here is a great article on this topic from the August 2018 Medical Corps Newsletter:

Do you know about OPT-IN requirements for promotion?

Virtual Promotion Board Pilot Conducted, Results Encouraging

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From Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) —  As part of Sailor 2025 personnel modernization and transformation efforts, a recent nuclear limited duty officer (LDO) board was conducted virtually, Navy leaders said Jan 31.

“The virtual board is an important improvement in the delivery of a modern, streamlined selection process for current and future naval leaders,” said Rear Adm. Rick Cheeseman, assistant commander, Navy Personnel Command for Career Management.

Charged by the chief of naval personnel to test the feasibility of conducting a virtual board, the NPC Submarine/Nuclear Officer Career Management Division (PERS-42) decided in July that the Fiscal Year 2020 Nuclear LDO In-Service Procurement Board conducted in November would be its target board for their test. The team spent that time developing solutions and creating procedures for the virtual board. This consisted of creating methods for existing software systems to work together, and creating redundancies and fail safes for each step of the process. Prior to the LDO board, five mock boards were conducted to assess their system.

“We wanted to get our virtual board as close as possible to the real thing,” said Cmdr. Carlos Martinez, head nuclear submarine executive officer detailer. “We provided each board member a redacted copy of the Sailors’ records they would be reviewing as well as a mark-up tool we developed based on (slide presentation) software.”

The team effort required the use of a variety of tools including the Defense Collaborative Services (DCS), secure file sharing services, encrypted email, as well as the software solutions created in-house by the PERS-42 staff.

“Protecting (Personally Identifiable Information) was a major concern in this process,” said Capt. Andrew Miller, deputy director, PERS-42. “In addition to the secure file sharing, we redacted names and other PII from the records and password protected each file. After the board members received their files, they were provided the passwords only for those records they would be reviewing.”

“The process was a little slower,” Miller said. “It was slower than our mock boards – one member had technical issues that slowed things down considerably; however, in the end we proved that the process is achievable.”

Although the PERS-42 team encountered some technical issues – for which they had backup processes in place – the entire board was conducted in a combined time of about 18 hours. In comparison, a conventional board entails a day of travel on the front and back end as well as the time it takes for the board itself.  By conducting the board virtually, they also saved travel expenses for the nine board members.

“The financial savings is a good selling point,” Miller said, “but by conducting a board virtually, that’s one less board competing for physical space in the board spaces.”

Lessons learned from the pilot board reinforced many of the notions the team had going into the planning process. Currently, there are many challenges with using disparate systems, Miller said.

“We have a civilian information technology professional in our office – Walter Mathis – without whom none of this would have been possible,” Martinez said. “He’s the one who developed the software solutions, he wrote the code, created the markup tool, integrated the voting tool within DCS with other software systems, and more.”

A major takeaway, Miller said, is that to make virtual boards a permanent reality, a dedicated software suite would need to be created and operators trained.

“If we’re going to be serious about making this process a reality, we’re going to have to provide some resources to do it right,” Miller said. “We had full autonomy to make this happen. We would not have been able to get this done without it. Especially not in the timeframe within which we had to work.”

The PERS-42 team has debriefed the pilot board results and recommendations and has begun preparing for their next board.

“Every time you do this you learn something new,” Miller said. “We are looking at what can be done better. This time we tried to make the board as close to as possible to the ones conducted here physically, but with the virtual boards there may be better ways to conduct it. We’re looking for opportunities in the processes.”

Another virtual board is planned in the spring by PERS-42.

“Conducting boards virtually is just one of the many things we’re working on in this transformation effort, but it’s something that makes a lot of sense and will, in the long term, save everyone time and money. Our PERS-42 team has made great strides in making this a reality, and we’re looking forward to future virtual board pilots,” Cheeseman added.

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

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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

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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