2022 Update – What Should You Do If You Didn’t Promote?

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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
  • MEC Chair
  • OIC
  • 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!

FY23 O6 Promotion Board Stats

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I don’t have the detailed stats for all the Corps, so here is the PERS file with the basic and diversity stats for MC, NC, MSC, and DC:

Here are the detailed stats for the MC:

FY23 O6 Staff Corps Selections

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R 141433Z JUN 22 MID200001802955U
ALNAV 039/22




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.//


FY23 Navy Reserve Captain Staff Corps Selections

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R 091601Z JUN 22 MID200001792728U 
ALNAV 037/22 
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.// 

FY23 O4 and O5 Promotion Board Opportunities

Posted on

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:

FY23 O6 Promotion Board Precept, Convening Order, and Promotion Opportunities

Posted on Updated on

Now that the O6 board is over, the promotion opportunities can be found on page 2 of this convening order:

They were:

  • 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:

Congrats to RDML(s) Matt Case (MSC) and RDML(s) Guido Valdes (MC)

Posted on

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.

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

Posted on Updated on

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) 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?