If you are particularly interested in this post, I’m sorry. You or someone you care about probably failed to promote. In reality, nowadays it is normal and expected to fail to promote to O5 and O6, so you have company. Here are my suggestions for those that fail to promote.
Try to Figure Out Why You Didn’t Promote
First, try to figure out why you didn’t promote. Because the promotion board members are not allowed to speak about your board, you’ll never actually find out why you failed to promote, but you can usually take a pretty educated guess if you talk to the right people (like me).
If any of these things happened to you, they are likely a main reason you didn’t promote:
- Any PFA/BCA failures.
- Legal issues, such as a DUI or any other legal trouble.
- Failure to become board certified.
There are other things that could happen to you that make it difficult but not impossible to promote. They include:
- You have not been operational or deployed at all, or you have done so much less than your peers.
- Having non-observed (NOB) fitreps before the board, such as those in full-time outservice training.
- Spending too much time in the fleet as a GMO, Flight Surgeon, or UMO. This is mostly because it causes you to come into zone for O5 while you are still in GME, and is more of a problem if your residency is long.
- Never getting a competitive early promote (EP) fitrep. Many officers who fail to select have never had a competitive EP fitrep in their current rank. This can be because they were stationed places without competitive groups and they get 1/1 fitreps, or it can be because they were in a competitive group and did not break out and get an EP. To me this is the #1 ingredient to promote…competitive EP fitreps. If you don’t have them, you are really up against it unless you are in a senior operational position that carries a lot of weight.
- Receiving potentially adverse fitreps. This most commonly happens when you are at an operational command and your reporting senior is not someone who is used to ranking Medical Corps officers, although it could happen for other reasons (like your reporting senior felt you deserved this type of fitrep). The most common situation would be if there is a competitive group of 2 officers but both are given must promote (MP) fitreps instead of 1 getting an EP and the other the MP. When both get an MP, it reflects poorly on both officers unless the reason for this is CLEARLY explained in the fitrep narrative, which it often is not. The other thing that happens is that a reporting senior gives you a 1/1 MP instead of a 1/1 EP. If you are ever getting a 1/1 fitrep, make sure you get an EP. You should consider getting a 1/1 MP an adverse fitrep. If there is no way around this, often because the reporting senior has a policy that they don’t give newly promoted officers an EP, make sure that this policy is clear in the fitrep narrative.
- Having a declining fitrep. Mostly this happens when you go from getting an EP to an MP on your fitrep under the same reporting senior. If it is because you changed competitive groups, like you went from being a resident to a staff physician, that is understandable and not a negative. If you didn’t change competitive groups, though, make sure the reason you declined is explained.
- Making it obvious to the promotion board that you didn’t update your record. The most obvious ways a promotion board will know you didn’t update your record is if your Officer Summary Record (OSR) is missing degrees that you obviously have (like your MD or DO) or if many of the sections of your OSR are either completely blank or required updating by the board recorders. Remember that although promotion board recorders will correct your record for you, anything they do and any corrections they make are annotated to the board. While a few corrections are OK, you don’t want a blank record that the recorders had to fill in. It demonstrates that you didn’t update your record.
Who Actually Promotes?
So who actually promotes to O5 and O6? In general, the officer who promotes has:
- Achieved board certification.
- Spent time in both a military treatment facility and in the operational or headquarters setting.
- A demonstrated history of excellence as an officer. In other words, whenever they are in a competitive group, they successfully break out and get an EP fitrep. Being average is just not good enough anymore.
- No PFA failures, legal problems, declining fitreps, or potentially adverse fitreps.
- Updated their record, and if they previously failed to select they reviewed their record with their Detailer and actively worked to improve it.
What Do You Do If You Failed to Promote?
Realize that it is not the end of the world. Based on the recent promotion board statistics (which you can get in the Promo Prep), most officers were passed over for O5 or O6, 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 to 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. 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), a senior operational leader, or a Residency Director (or whatever you want to do), tell them that you need to be promoted 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 while keeping in mind that the new MC career path emphasizes that all need to be operational.
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):
- Assistant Program Director
- Division/Department Head
- Fleet Surgical Team (FST) Specialty Staff
- Global Health Engagement (GHE) Staff Officer
- Group/Senior Flight Surgeon (FS)
- Medical Battalion Specialty Staff
- Medical Executive Committee (MEC) Member
- Regimental Surgeon
- Senior Undersea Medical Officer (UMO)
- Ship or Group Senior Medical Officer (SMO)
- SMO/Medical Director
If you are a CDR who got passed over for CAPT, try to get one of these jobs and excel at it:
- Assistant Specialty Leader or Specialty Leader
- Chief Medical Officer (CMO)
- Director/Large Department Head at a NMRTC/MTF
- Division/Group/Wing Surgeon
- FST Officer-in-Charge (OIC) / CATF Surgeon
- GHE, Headquarters, or Navy Personnel Command (PERS) Staff
- Group UMO
- LHA/LHD/CVN SMO
- MEC Chair
- Program Director
- Senior GHE Billet
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.
Things You Should Not Do
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.
Never Stop Trying
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 9th look!
ROUTINE R 141433Z JUN 22 MID200001802955U FM SECNAV WASHINGTON DC TO ALNAV INFO SECNAV WASHINGTON DC CNO WASHINGTON DC CMC WASHINGTON DC BT UNCLAS ALNAV 039/22 MSGID/GENADMIN/SECNAV WASHINGTON DC/-/JUN// SUBJ/FISCAL YEAR 2023 ACTIVE-DUTY NAVY CAPTAIN STAFF CORPS SELECTIONS// REF/A/DOC/SECNAV/4FEB22// AMPN/REF A IS THE FY-23 ACTIVE-DUTY NAVY CAPTAIN STAFF CORPS PROMOTION SELECTION BOARD CONVENING ORDER.// RMKS/1. I am pleased to announce the following Staff Corps Officers on the Active-Duty list for promotion to the permanent grade of Captain. 2. This message is not authority to deliver appointments. Authority to effect promotion will normally be issued by future NAVADMINs requiring NAVPERS 1421/7 preparation and forwarding of document to PERS-806. 3. Frocking is not authorized for any officer listed below until specific authorization is received per SECNAVINST 1420.2B. 4. For proper alphabetical order read from left to right on each line. The numbers following each name to the right indicate the relative seniority among selectees within each competitive category. Note: An (*) by the name indicates the selectee was merit reordered to the top of the promotion list in accordance with reference (a). Members are directed to verify their select status via BUPERS Online. Medical Corps Arnold Wendy Anne 0025 Belverud Shawn A 0061 Blackmer Shannon Renee 0043 Bomia Mark E 0063 Bradley Matthew J 0069 Burkhart Timothy M 0033 Buryk Melissa Anne 0074 Cardoso Mario Jorge 0023 Carmichael Jacob Jonas 0039 Chao Jeffrey C 0016 Chiu Alden V 0064 Cimino Francesca M 0051 Clausen Shawn Susan 0013 Cole Peter Matthew * 0005 Colmenar Derrick H 0049 Conley Sean P * 0007 Deafenbaugh Bradley K 0054 Debuse Mark Raymond 0027 Doss Roderick Hugh 0024 Douglas Thomas J III 0056 Erpenbach Jonathan D 0060 Fellars Todd Allen 0057 Fitzpatrick Joseph D 0030 Foster David T * 0002 Gallagher Robert M 0053 Garland Joshua Paul 0055 Gentry Shari Lynn * 0008 Gille Theresa M 0018 Gomezsanchez Carlos E 0014 Gonzalez Sara C 0047 Gould Charles Frank Jr 0021 Gustafson Corey Gerald * 0001 Hammond James E 0071 Henry Jason Lemarr 0029 Hessert Mary J * 0006 Hurt Craig Jordan 0020 Kaselis Michael 0010 Kim Michael B 0044 Klimpel Jennifer F M 0026 Kozen Buddy G 0015 Kuettel Matthew A 0062 Lafreniere Justin Paul 0073 Laird John E 0072 Landaker Edwin John 0022 Langton Richard Samuel * 0003 Lefringhouse Jason R 0058 Letizia Andrew Gordon 0031 Lewis Stephen Lloyd 0041 Lin Victor Shih 0012 Lobraico Dayna T 0068 Lovern Robert E 0059 Mack Takman Eric 0050 Mondzelewski Lisa M 0032 Oliver Kate Eleanor 0028 Palmer Jason Patrick 0035 Park Sanghee D * 0004 Paz David Alexander * 0009 Podraza Caleb John 0038 Prudhomme Michael 0034 Ramey Erik L 0037 Rice Jason Patrick 0075 Ricks Jeffrey C 0017 Schultheiss C C 0067 Self Amanda R 0045 Sklar Marvin J 0066 Stevens Kristin Adria 0040 Tarant Nicki S 0011 Tintle Scott Matthew 0070 Tracey Robert W 0048 Tschanz Mark P 0065 Virgilio Gina R 0019 Waltz Robert Anthony 0052 Warkentien Tyler E 0046 Welch Scott Allen 0036 West Janet M 0042 Dental Corps Alston Teresita 0006 Bennett Robin C 0015 Cohen Joshua E 0012 Fagen Derek Timothy 0008 Flannery Michael B 0005 Gray Benjamin Michael 0009 Huber Jayson Hamblin * 0002 Jones Brook Woolsey 0004 Lisell Andrea Decerce 0024 Mathys Jason William 0018 Mcguirehaveman J 0019 Morton Kittima B 0016 Peterson Barry Eugene 0013 Ringler Gregory Ernest 0021 Roldanwhitaker Angela 0007 Silvestri Andrew D 0020 Soden Derek Donald 0023 Stires Sara Ann * 0003 Teutsch Shawn Douglas 0014 Timmons Phillip Slone * 0001 Treesh Joshua Caleb 0010 Volinski Walter B Jr 0017 Whitbeck Evan Robert 0011 Yapshing Donavon A 0022 Medical Service Corps Anderson Clemia Nmn 0032 Bailey Kevin Scott 0009 Barefield Maria Luz 0008 Barnes Kathryn Ann * 0002 Campbell Justin Seawyn 0016 Cleckley Janiese A * 0003 Coan George P III 0010 Comeau Robert Eugene 0011 Coon Maria Crisologo 0013 Corson Karen Suzanne 0005 Councilor Leslie Rene 0025 Dietrich Darla Marie 0020 Dunn Scott Eugene 0023 Espinal Janine Estela 0026 Evans John Porter 0014 Foster Thomas C 0015 Frank Aaron Jack 0018 Garcia Diana M 0012 Lallatin Cody Lynn 0029 Lippy Robert Dean * 0001 Littel Corey John 0006 Long Carl E Jr 0033 Lyle Kevin James 0031 Marcinkiewicz Matthew 0022 Miller Joshua Aaron 0035 Nairn Raymond Charles 0007 Olson Tatana Michelle 0019 Piansay Joseph Edward 0004 Quach Linh Hoai 0017 Rees Chad Jonah 0024 Rosario Juan Nicanor 0028 Skorey Elizabeth G 0027 Wagner Dean John Jr 0034 Wakefield Mark David 0030 Wilhite Charles Robert 0021 Judge Advocate General's Corps Flintoft Timothy M 0004 Kirby James H 0002 Pierce Edward Michael 0003 Pilling Justin 0001 Quay Erin Cathleen 0005 Rosen Michele Valerie 0007 Stampfli Maryann M 0006 Temple Chad C 0008 Nurse Corps Bauman Krystal Marie 0008 Damin Virginia H 0018 Driscoll James J 0021 Fickens Jervia I 0007 Hoffman Beth Anne * 0001 Kilday Jeremy M 0004 Lawrence Sophia Maria 0006 Lawson Shane E 0019 Mcclure Daniel Scott 0016 Mccullough Tracy M 0013 Mcginnis Tara Norean 0011 Miller Merideth Lynne 0014 Mortimer Mary R 0009 Noel Katherine E 0005 Oliver Kristina Rene 0017 Radford Kennett D 0012 Sanjuan Rodolfo G * 0002 Sanluis Edgar Oliver 0010 Scheel Misty Dawn 0015 Shattuck Heather Ann * 0003 Williams Brookes Anne 0020 Supply Corps Arnold Thomas Eugene 0011 Brown Sylvester Jr 0001 Carroll David Michael 0007 Ceville Abdul Rolando 0018 Cormier Tanya Kathleen 0020 Dicola Anthony Robert 0023 Frey Monica Madeline 0025 Fuchs David Steven Jr 0013 Jakubowicz William M 0021 Joloya Edelio P 0003 Jones Marcus Lopez 0006 Lounsberry Christopher 0012 Luster Taquina Tonelle 0022 Mcivy Deborah Kay 0004 Metz Daniel Wallace 0017 Morrissey Owen Burke 0016 Neer Sean Anthony 0024 Newell Christopher A 0002 Nuila Sean James 0015 Oswald Andrew James 0005 Phillips Andrew M 0008 Ramsey Jecisken 0014 Richardson Kevin C 0010 Risley Dena Berry 0009 Spede Joseph Kent 0019 Chaplain Corps Cameron Alan 0003 Cauble Christopher S 0007 Gault Timothy David 0002 Greer Paul Brian 0013 Hester Chris Elmer 0004 Jacobson Brian L 0008 Long Tavis John * 0001 Obannon Michael Quinn 0011 Roberts Steven Leonard 0005 Siemer Margaret E 0010 Weems Matthew Steven 0009 Wiggins Arthur Lee Jr 0006 Young Leroy Carldell 0012 Civil Engineer Corps Beattie John Herbert 0004 Burket Blake Earl 0016 Chapman Kendall C 0008 Gunderson Lakeeva B * 0001 Hofman Benjamin P 0015 Honek Kenneth Frank 0009 Johnson Weurielus D 0011 Kleinman Robert Daniel 0014 Mcbee Angelique Nicole 0013 Nieman Jonathan David 0006 Olsen Andrew William * 0002 Simodynes Kent Ryan 0010 Stringham Cortney Burk 0012 Sullivan James Rueben 0003 Tolhurst Matthew Clee 0005 Wainwright Benjamin V 0007 Limited Duty Officer (Staff) Lopezmartinez Javier * 0001 5. Released by the Honorable Carlos Del Toro, Secretary of the Navy.// BT #0001 NNNN UNCLASSIFIED//
ROUTINE R 091601Z JUN 22 MID200001792728U FM SECNAV WASHINGTON DC TO ALNAV INFO SECNAV WASHINGTON DC CNO WASHINGTON DC CMC ACMC WASHINGTON DC CMC WASHINGTON DC BT UNCLAS ALNAV 037/22 MSGID/GENADMIN/SECNAV WASHINGTON DC/-/JUN// SUBJ/FISCAL YEAR 2023 NAVY RESERVE CAPTAIN STAFF CORPS SELECTIONS// REF/A/DOC/SECNAV/28FEB22// AMPN/REF A IS THE FY-23 NAVY RESERVE CAPTAIN STAFF CORPS PROMOTION SELECTION BOARD CONVENING ORDER.// RMKS/1. I am pleased to announce the following Staff Corps Officers on the Reserve Active-Status list for promotion to the permanent grade of Captain. 2. This message is not authority to deliver appointments. Authority to effect promotion will normally be issued by future NAVADMINs requiring NAVPERS 1421/7 preparation and forwarding of document to PERS-806. 3. Frocking is not authorized for any officer listed below until specific authorization is received per SECNAVINST 1420.2B. 4. For proper alphabetical order read from left to right on each line. The numbers following each name to the right indicate the relative seniority among selectees within each competitive category. Note: An (*) by the name indicates the selectee was merit reordered to the top of the promotion list in accordance with reference (a). Members are directed to verify their select status via BUPERS Online. Medical Corps Delpilar Ruben 0018 Faust Christopher A 0010 Flanagan Mark Nicholas 0006 Fontana Mark A 0005 Harwood Jared Laverne 0020 Heywood Richard Edward 0011 Jimenez Paul Anthony * 0002 Kuehne Jonathan Peter 0003 Kuzis Karl Anthony 0016 Leclere Lance E 0015 Letterle Susan Joy 0004 Liedtke Eric E 0014 Lightfoot Jeffrey D 0008 Mcvey Patrick T 0019 Olson Christina A 0013 Refermat David Hazen 0007 Rudisile Michael E 0009 Sanabria Juan R 0017 Tostenrud Robert P * 0001 Wang Steven C 0012 Dental Corps Allen Jason Scott 0005 Dater Steven Michael 0004 Henleybrown Kimberly M 0003 Meymand Samira 0001 Patterson Michael John 0002 Medical Service Corps Anderson Louise Marie * 0001 Herrera Rudolph Robert 0003 Parthun William Eric 0002 Judge Advocate General's Corps Ambrose Dillon John 0003 Giusso Ronald Robert 0001 Hale Brandon Todd 0005 Magee Ken William 0004 Morehouse Yaroslava T 0006 Oregan Michael Martin 0002 Smith Kathryn Matt 0007 Nurse Corps Austin Obie Andrel 0001 Craig Andrew Emerson 0004 Joy Tracy Lee 0002 Kendrick Malinda Kay 0003 Schonhardt Grace C 0005 Valentine Susan O 0006 Supply Corps Guthrie Adam Davidson 0006 Hewitt Sean C 0007 Krakuszeski Alexander J 0002 Mccabe Matthew Weeks 0008 Morgan Christopher Lee 0001 Panado Michael Canlas 0005 Schuck Eric Christian 0009 Tonini David A 0003 Whitsell Renee Daws 0004 Supply Corps (FTS) Bach James Donald 0001 Toso Donald Richard Jr 0002 Chaplain Corps Lieberman Phillip I 0003 Moreno Mark C 0002 Rupnik Frank Thomas III * 0001 Civil Engineer Corps Buchanan Randell Todd 0004 Platz David Daniel 0002 Wall John Douglas Jr 0001 Wiese Jason Paul 0003 5. Released by the Honorable Carlos Del Toro, Secretary of the Navy.// BT #0001 NNNN UNCLASSIFIED//
Here are the FY23 O4 promotion opportunities:
-Medical Corps – 95%
-Dental Corps – 89%
-Medical Service Corps – 90%
-Nurse Corps – 75%
Here are the FY23 O5 promotion opportunities:
-Medical Corps – 90%
-Dental Corps – 80%
-Medical Service Corps – 60%
-Nurse Corps – 70%
You can find these on the 2nd page of the recently released FY23 promotion board convening orders, which are below:
Now that the O6 board is over, the promotion opportunities can be found on page 2 of this convening order:
- MC – 95% (the highest since FY10, which is as far back as I have data)
- DC – 92%
- MSC – 50%
- NC – 50%
Here is the historical picture for the Medical Corps:
Here is the precept as well:
As per the Senate Confirmation page:
2022-01-31 PN1724 Navy
The following named officers for appointment in the United States Navy to the grade indicated under title 10, U.S.C., section 624: Capt. Matthew Case, to be Rear Admiral (lower half) Capt. Guido F. Valdes, to be Rear Admiral (lower half)
You can see the specific nomination here.
The FY23 promotion board NAVADMIN was released this month. 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 #7 from the NAVADMIN, which says (I edited out the line only portion and focused on staff corps relevant content only):
7. In-zone and above-zone eligible officers in the grades of chief warrant officer 2/3/4, 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)navy.mil or mailed to:
Commander, Navy Personnel Command (PERS-802)
5720 Integrity Drive
Millington, TN 38055-0000
For in-zone and above-zone eligible staff corps officers in the grade of commander, in-zone and
above-zone eligible line and staff corps officers in the grades of lieutenant commander and lieutenant, and in-zone and above-zone chief warrant officers, the request must be received by PERS-802 not later than 2359 CST 30 days prior to the convening date of the respective board. Specifically:
Selection To Convening Date Due Date / Time
Staff Corps Captain 8 FEB 22 8 JAN 22 / 2359 CST
Staff Corps Commander 2 MAY 22 1 APR 22 / 2359 CST
Staff Corps Lieutenant Commander 2 MAY 22 1 APR 22 / 2359 CST
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 other experience.
If you believe you are in this position, here is what I’d do:
- Confirm you are in-zone or above-zone. How can you do this? The easiest way if you are MC or DC is to read Chapter 2 of the Promo Prep. Or you can read this post that explains how zones work for the various corps.
- If you wish to be considered for promotion to LCDR, CDR, or CAPT, do 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.
- Also, here is a great article on this topic from the August 2018 Medical Corps Newsletter:
The delayed O4 and O5 promotions are on this message that was just released: