promotion

You Made CDR! Now What?

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If you are one of the lucky people who made CDR, I have some things for you to consider:

  • The next 2-3 years of fitreps may mean very little to your overall career.  First, you are soon going to be in the most competitive group in the Medical Corps, Commanders scratching and clawing to make Captain.  If you are at a medium to large command, no matter what you do as a junior Commander, you are likely to get a P (promotable) on your fitreps.  That is just how it works for most commands.
  • This first bullet means that now is the PERFECT time to do something “alternative” (off the usual career path for a physician) or take a position that you know will get you 1/1 fitreps or be part of a very small competitive group.  Go to the War College.  Take a senior operational job where you’ll get a 1/1 fitrep.  Become a Detailer.  Apply for fellowship because the NOB fitreps won’t hurt you as a junior Commander or Commander Select.  Now is the time to do these type of things.  You don’t want to wait until you are a few years below zone for Captain.  When you reach this stage you’ll need competitive EP fitreps.
  • After you are selected for your next rank is also a great time to move/PCS.  Have you ever been OCONUS?  If not, now would be a great time to go.  You can PCS somewhere for 2-3 years and then PCS to the command where you are going to set up shop and try to make Captain.  At OCONUS commands there is more turnover of staff, so major leadership jobs like MEC President, Department Head, and Director positions open up more frequently, setting you up to get a senior position when you return to CONUS.
  • You may think I’m crazy, but it is time to start thinking about how you are going to make Captain.  As I mentioned in the first bullet, getting a job that will make you a Captain is tough and competitive.  Now is the time to do the things that will make you an excellent candidate for one of those jobs.  Want to be a Residency Director?  Maybe you should get a degree in adult or medical education.  Want to be a Director?  Maybe you should get a management degree like a Masters in Medical Management or an MBA.  Want to be a senior operational leader?  Now is the time to do Joint Professional Military Education I and/or II.
  • Here is a list of the jobs that I think will likely make you a Captain.  Read the list…figure out which of these jobs you are going to use to make Captain…and get busy preparing yourself to get them:
    • Residency Director
    • Department Head in a large MTF
    • Director
    • Chief Medical Officer
    • Officer-in-Charge
    • Major committee chair
    • Medical Executive Committee President
    • BUMED staff
    • Specialty Leader
    • Deployment requiring an O-5 or O-6
    • Detailer
    • Senior operational leader
      • Division/Group/Wing Surgeon
      • CATF Surgeon
      • Amphib or CVN Senior Medical Officer

Optimally you’ll have the time when you are an O5 to do multiple jobs on the preceding list.  For example, as an O5 I had been a Detailer, a Specialty Leader, Department Head, Associate Director, and CO of a deployed unit.  My next step was to become a Director at a major MTF, and while I was a senior LCDR and CDR I obtained a Naval Postgraduate School MBA as well as achieved certification as a Certified Physician Executive to try and make myself a competitive candidate for a Director position. Ultimately, I became the Director for Healthcare Business at NMC Portsmouth.

Congratulations on making Commander…take a deep breath…and start thinking about some of the things I mentioned in this post.  Before you know it you’ll be in zone for Captain.

2021 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. The FY22 O6 promotion board materials emphasized that everyone needs to be operational.
  • Coming into zone while in you were in GME.
  • 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 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
  • 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!

FY22 Staff Corps O5 Promotion Board Results

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UNCLASSIFIED// 
ROUTINE 
R 251657Z AUG 21 MID200001073553U 
FM SECNAV WASHINGTON DC 
TO ALNAV 
INFO SECNAV WASHINGTON DC 
CNO WASHINGTON DC 
CMC WASHINGTON DC 
BT 
UNCLAS 
 
ALNAV 060/21 
 
MSGID/GENADMIN/SECNAV WASHINGTON DC/-/AUG// 
 
SUBJ/FISCAL YEAR 2022 ACTIVE-DUTY NAVY COMMANDER STAFF CORPS SELECTIONS// 
 
REF/A/DOC/SECNAV/28APR21// 
AMPN/REF A IS THE FISCAL YEAR 2022 ACTIVE-DUTY NAVY COMMANDER 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 Commander. 
 
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 
Alatise Adeniyi S            0022  Aleid Haydar Mohali          0065 
Anderson William C           0106  Andrews Mary Anne            0035 
Arbuthnot Mary K             0108  Aurigemma David F            0076 
Barlow Brian Thomas *        0005  Bauer Matthew Paul P         0096 
Bayly Terrence D *           0007  Bowers Daniel Leonard        0030 
Buckley Ryan Thomas          0068  Buckley Sarah Basha          0097 
Burgess Matthew Daniel       0067  Buttolph Amelia Harris       0107 
Bylund William E             0081  Caoile Samuel N              0013 
Cheng Kai Yan                0014  Choi Anthony Joon            0026 
Choi Pamela Mina             0053  Christensen Daniel L         0064 
Cochran Grant K              0071  Cosentino Christopher        0050 
Coulthard Stacy Lauren       0015  Cripe Paul                   0079 
Dean Daniel Joseph Jr        0101  Degeus John Benjamin         0083 
Douglas Brigham Lee          0105  Elek Steven IV               0100 
Engkulawy Jennifer Kar *     0008  Enujioke Sharon C            0043 
Fischer Kimberly Lynn        0024  Frasier Samuel Dennis        0109 
Gaylord Bethany Kay          0087  Generoso Judith C            0092 
Goodlow Gale Kirk II         0046  Gower Jonathan Robert        0073 
Griffin David L              0040  Gutweiler Alex August        0062 
Hack Nawaz Khan A            0036  Haight Sean Patrick          0102 
Hall Kent Michael            0104  Hansen Todd Phillip          0041 
Hauck Heather Noelle         0084  Healy Mae Wu                 0091 
Heitzmann Mark D             0018  Hendricksen Paul D           0021 
Henebry Andrew D             0069  Hernandez Amy Ann            0047 
Higgs Maureen Murray         0044  Jaskiewicz Jennifer L        0103 
Jin Mia                      0031  Krispinsky Luke Thomas       0034 
Kuckel Daniel P              0066  Lacroix Christina L          0020 
Langevin Paul Noel           0011  Larsen Eric Christian        0056 
Lawson Scott Michael         0088  Lehmann Benjamin John        0094 
Lopreiato Joseph O           0090  Matchin Bruce Liron          0029 
Mathurin Jean Gilnord        0061  Molenat Marc Alain           0023 
Monson Michael James E       0099  Moore Joseph Andrew          0063 
Morrisonponce Daphne P *     0009  Mullinax Ross A              0052 
Myslin Robert                0033  Oakley Luke Steven *         0006 
Obrien Brendan Stephen       0077  Oladipo Olamide J            0093 
Olson Erik Joseph            0070  Osborne Todd Graham          0057 
Overbey Jamie Kathleen       0095  Perez Colleen Frances *      0002 
Perry Alexandra V            0082  Phillips Jamal Amir          0019 
Quan Sara Janine             0016  Roberson Nolen F             0080 
Ross Warren Leslie           0086  Russell Matthew Craig        0054 
Schonau Jesse Taylor *       0010  Seavey Jonathan Glover       0039 
Shanahan Erik Edmond         0075  Sick Megan Mackenzie         0028 
Sklar Robert Vincent         0049  Smith Stephanie L            0045 
Snow Ryan William            0098  Solis Ana Lidia              0060 
Sosa Leivi Alejandro         0032  Speth Jodi L                 0012 
Stein Loretta Lindsay        0089  Stonegarza Kristi K          0055 
Story Scott Gerald           0038  Stuart Sean M *              0003 
Thompson Richard B *         0001  Thota Darshan S              0025 
Uber Ian Chauncey            0074  Valadao Jason Matteo         0059 
Vigilante John A IV          0051  Wagner Scott C               0085 
Wallace James D              0078  Westbrook James Wesley       0058 
Wilcox Clifton James         0037  Wolanin Alfred J III         0017 
Yoder James Austin *         0004  Zakaroff Michael G           0072 
Zeman Karen Grace            0048  Zundel Nathan Stewart        0027 
                             Dental Corps 
Ayesh Karima                 0021  Bartol Richard D III         0017 
Bennett Bradley A            0019  Black Stephen Robert         0003 
Bohman Michael Anthony       0006  Callaway Brandon K           0013 
Chandler Karl Maxce          0004  Dulebohn Rachel Victor       0023 
Fan Kenneth Ka Ho            0011  Fix Amanda Alayne            0007 
Hain Karsten Johannes        0016  Hawkins James Mark           0012 
Kim Shin Joseph              0008  Ku Jimmy Hyon                0015 
Lee John Jaejin              0001  Lewis Michael J              0020 
Muckenthaler Joseph R        0002  Rutherford Grant R           0009 
Shaul James Allan            0010  Smith Jeffrey Tell           0014 
Sparks Jeremiah Jason        0022  Watson Justin Isaiah         0005 
Yu Stacy Leefung             0018 
                             Medical Service Corps 
Aniagyei Ebenezer            0013  Biehn Jeremy Orion *         0003 
Bird Henry L                 0024  Bowers Micheal Paul          0016 
Butler Clifton D             0031  Cacioppo Wendy K             0006 
Cole Douglas Eugene Jr       0025  Colvin Walter James Jr       0033 
Condon Rachel W P            0032  Delinsky Richard Jason       0019 
Donovan Kellye Ann           0009  Eggan Stephen Melford        0037 
Greene Marissa Lizette       0035  Hamilton Theron              0008 
Hawks Beth Ann               0010  Hoffman Derek Boyd           0026 
Horner Matthew J             0005  Keil Joshua Israel           0029 
Kelly Brenna S               0021  Linomontes Carlos A          0020 
Mokashi Vishwesh P *         0002  Morris Shawn Matthew         0034 
Ortiz Pedro Angel *          0001  Parkes Melissa K             0012 
Pierce Katherine E           0017  Potter Megan Ilene           0036 
Rieman Megan J               0004  Rutledge Andrew Coates       0027 
Schaal Nicholas C            0023  Sciarini Lee William         0038 
Shea Jonathan Grant          0007  Smith Kathleen C             0022 
Smith Eugene Jr              0015  Speitel James Daniel         0011 
Valentine David III          0014  Wick Jannifer Lynn           0030 
Wright Jason Earl            0028  Zeiler Adam Lawrence         0018 
                             Judge Advocate General's Corps 
Baldini Emilee Kujat         0004  Beasleyledet Ronisha         0003 
Bridges Daniel Maclay        0017  Carlisle Parker S            0001 
Champ Theresa J              0005  Darco Neil Robert            0002 
Eaton Thomas Liefke          0012  Ford Jessica Lynn            0015 
Gough Charles C              0014  Hochmuth Paul T Jr           0007 
Hudson Latham Taylor         0011  Jackson Patrick Owen         0006 
Obrien Leah Alston           0008  Roach Brian Francis          0009 
Sargent Brandon Hale         0018  Sham Anthony Philip          0013 
Thompson Paul Henry          0010  Whitican Michael F           0016 
                             Nurse Corps 
Adams Tuesday Lynn           0026  Barber Kenneth D             0031 
Boerste Laura Ann            0009  Braxton Elyse Marie          0029 
Broughton Mohneke V          0021  Burleson Stephanie L         0023 
Bushey Michael Dennis        0016  Chamberas Sarah Marion       0024 
Guerricagoitia Darcy R       0018  Hamrick Jonathan David       0041 
Heck Candice Dawn            0010  Hemphill Annette Marie       0006 
Horne Miranda Renee          0035  Horton Kayla R               0030 
Hosea Michelle Kay           0013  Hurda Molly P                0002 
Ikari Sachiko M              0028  Jolly Sondra Lee             0036 
Kelly Angela Marie           0014  Kidde Katherine M            0007 
Kline Candice Nicole         0038  Lee Nathan J                 0033 
Linder Kristie Lian          0017  Lum Andy Glynn               0034 
Lynn Christopher Allen       0037  Mathie Cameron F             0032 
Mccormick Michelle M         0019  Mcdonald David Ryan          0040 
Oconnor Melody Ann           0020  Perez Nicholas Gregory       0027 
Philipcyprien Wendyali       0003  Riddell Autumn Johanna *     0001 
Rodriguez Rebeca S           0039  Rucker Michael Todd          0025 
Saito Britney E              0004  Tallent Sarah Jane T         0022 
Urban Carrie Easton          0008  Weaver Meghan Lynn           0015 
Weiss Stella Jeanette        0011  Whalen Allyson Edith         0012 
Williams Brenda M            0005 
                             Supply Corps 
Adams Scott Edward           0037  Albesa Frederic              0015 
Amundson Patrick David       0052  Anliker Anja Delora          0038 
Armstrong Zachary John       0047  Aurelio Carnell P            0036 
Buchanan Christopher M       0013  Clarida Kevin Dale           0010 
Clark Philip F Jr            0035  Conklin James Pierce         0054 
Cook Gale Abraham III *      0007  Damore Kathryn Mcgrath       0048 
Dausen Michael Paul *        0002  Davis Andrea Karen           0018 
Fuery Paul Daniel            0041  Galvao Jose Augusto          0050 
Golden Rayfield Nathan       0023  Haley Andrew Robert          0009 
Hicks Bryce Bailey           0053  Hill Timothy Michael         0044 
Hilliard Adam Gregory        0028  Ho Eugene Kai Jung           0034 
Kloepping Paul John *        0006  Lorge Matthew Moran          0024 
Maldonado Daniel III         0019  Mannila Stephen James        0020 
Mason Christopher Matt *     0003  Mcfarland Jay Tirrell        0040 
Medici David Anthony         0032  Miller Travis Michael        0033 
Morrison William Earl        0039  Nichollscarvajal Eduar       0046 
Niven Brent Errol            0017  Nixon Edward Paul            0042 
Notarnicola Paul Chris       0012  Odom David Freeman           0025 
Odonnell John Patrick        0051  Palmer Brandon William       0043 
Pennycooke Carlisle C        0029  Petty Jesse Paul             0022 
Pfaff Jason Joseph           0011  Renken Renae Joyce           0014 
Revitzer Jason Lewis         0049  Sirkin Sarah Stasko          0016 
Sly Mary Elizabeth B         0045  Steffensmeier Jamie J *      0004 
Stonecipher David Jose *     0001  Takanen  Laura A             0021 
Thornton Aaron Travis        0030  Tuddenham Michael S *        0005 
Urech Anthony Carroll *      0008  Walls Remuis Deangelo        0027 
Wang Xiao Y                  0026  Yap Charmaine Roldan         0031 
                             Chaplain Corps 
Adams Christopher A          0012  Coley Patricia Ann           0004 
Daigle David A *             0003  Espinosa Ken Roger           0020 
Fasnacht Robert Dale         0022  Foster Devon Hugh            0011 
Fullerton Daniel J           0008  Gregory Jason Andrew         0013 
Hampton Diane Marie          0024  Hazlett Gregory Robert       0017 
Hogan James Phillip          0021  Kennedy Michael Shaun        0019 
Kitzman Glen Daniel          0014  Mason Scott Patrick          0018 
Mayer Joseph F               0010  Muehler Carl Benjamin        0005 
Perry Jeffrey Alan *         0002  Robbins Arthur Jose II       0025 
Rutan James Mark             0023  Settlemoir Jon E             0006 
Stephens Jonathan D          0015  Weatherwax Jason David       0016 
West Christopher James *     0001  Williams Buster Lee          0009 
Williford James P Jr         0007 
                             Civil Engineer Corps 
Angle Jon Arnold             0006  Beyer Bryan Joseph           0011 
Bingham Trevor A             0004  Buechel Richard Edward       0020 
Caponigro Michelle S         0019  Caudle Kimberly Marie        0005 
Farrar Douglass G            0015  Frank John David *           0002 
Gruber Marjorie J            0018  Hess Heather Marie *         0001 
Keesee Cody Wayne            0022  Knotts Douglas H             0017 
Lewis Joshua Mark            0023  Mcdowell Christopher J       0012 
Morrissey Nigel Todd         0016  Moyer Andrew Gerald          0014 
Mutyala Rama Kiran           0010  Ray Jason Robert             0007 
Takach Andrew Michael *      0003  Talley Shawn Eric            0009 
Torgesen Russell Brent       0008  Widhalm Christopher J        0021 
Wright Shannon Lovonne       0013 
 
5.  Released by the Honorable Carlos Del Toro, Secretary of the Navy.// 
 
BT 
#0001 
NNNN 
UNCLASSIFIED//

2021 Update – What Should You Do If You Didn’t Promote?

Posted on Updated on

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. The FY22 O6 promotion board materials emphasized that everyone needs to be operational.
  • Coming into zone while in you were in GME.
  • 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 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
  • 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!

Basic FY22 O6 Promotion Board Stats

Posted on Updated on

You can see all the basic stats for the promotion board here:

What’s New in the FY22 O4 Promotion Board Convening Order?

Posted on Updated on

TL;DR BLUF

  • O4 promotion results will be delayed by 5-6 weeks because the board started late.
  • Do Joint Professional Military Education.
  • Be operationally relevant.
  • Be a model of Honor, Courage, and Commitment and don’t get in trouble.
  • Going to Guam or Japan certainly can’t hurt.
  • Get board certified as soon as you can.

What’s a Convening Order?

Convening orders tell promotion board members what to look for when selecting people for promotion, so it is usually a good idea to examine them for changes. I’ll give you a summary of what is new. Here are the FY21 and FY22 documents:

Date of the Board

The board was delayed from March 24th to May 3rd. Expect the promotion results to be delayed by a similar interval.

Promotion Opportunities

The promotion opportunities changed:

Rest of the Changes are Same as the FY22 O5 Convening Order

All the rest of the language changes are a carbon copy of the FY22 O5 changes, which you can read about here.

Translation Please?

What does this mean for an O3 in Navy Medicine? I think it means the following:

  • O5 promotion results will be delayed by 5-6 weeks because the board started late.
  • Do Joint Professional Military Education.
  • Be operationally relevant.
  • Be a model of Honor, Courage, and Commitment and don’t get in trouble.
  • Going to Guam or Japan certainly can’t hurt.
  • Get board certified as soon as you can.

What’s New in the FY22 O5 Promotion Board Convening Order?

Posted on Updated on

TL;DR BLUF

  • O5 promotion results will be delayed by 5-6 weeks because the board started late.
  • Do Joint Professional Military Education.
  • Be operationally relevant.
  • Be a model of Honor, Courage, and Commitment and don’t get in trouble.
  • Going to Guam or Japan certainly can’t hurt.
  • Get board certified as soon as you can.
  • Move seamlessly across domains by starting a blog in your free time.

What’s a Convening Order?

Convening orders tell promotion board members what to look for when selecting people for promotion, so it is usually a good idea to examine them for changes. I’ll give you a summary of what is new. Here are the FY21 and FY22 documents:

Date of the Board

The board was delayed from March 24th to May 3rd. Expect the promotion results to be delayed by a similar interval.

Promotion Opportunities

The promotion opportunities changed:

  • MC – increased from 77% to 90%
  • DC – decreased from 83% to 75%
  • MSC – decreased from 55% to 50%
  • NC – stayed the same at 70%

Pages 3-6 (all page numbers from here on out reference the FY22 convening order)

They inserted language emphasizing awareness of the Great Power Competition (GPC), education, operational support, competence, character, and diversity.

Pages 8-9

They inserted a new concept to me, the 10 Signature Behaviors of a 21st Century Sailor:

They also inserted some language about commitment to personal and professional growth, connecting with yourself and others, loyalty to the Navy’s core values, and championing a culture of excellence.

Fitrep Impacts Due to COVID

They inserted a paragraph cautioning board members that COVID stop movements may have adversely impacted fitness reports and that these fitrep impacts:

“…should not be viewed adversely and the COVID-19 impact must be taken in context when viewed with the totality of the record. The board must take extra care to not disadvantage members for their inability to transfer as a result of the stop movement.”

Page 10

They inserted language emphasizing expertise in the Indo-Pacific Region.

Pages 11-13 – Medical Community Considerations

These were largely unchanged, but they qualified the importance of board certification by inserting the italicized text:

“Strong consideration should be given to board certification when a board certification exists for the specialty, provided they have had sufficient time to meet the requirements.

They also inserted at the bottom of page 12:

“Special consideration should be given to those officers who have demonstrated the ability to move seamlessly across domains.”

Traditional domains include air, land, and maritime with recent additions of space and cyberspace. Hopefully blogging in your free time is one day seen as “moving seamlessly across domains.”

Translation Please?

What does this mean for an O4 in Navy Medicine? I think it means the following:

  • O5 promotion results will be delayed by 5-6 weeks because the board started late.
  • Do Joint Professional Military Education.
  • Be operationally relevant.
  • Be a model of Honor, Courage, and Commitment and don’t get in trouble.
  • Going to Guam or Japan certainly can’t hurt.
  • Get board certified as soon as you can.
  • Move seamlessly across domains by starting a blog in your free time.