The following is from a PDF document created by RDML(s) Swap, Chief of the Medical Service Corps, and adapted for the Medical Corps with permission. Her unedited PDF is here:
Promotion boards are an integral part of how the Navy identifies the best and most qualified officers to lead in the future. Promotions are an expectation of future potential, not a reward for past performance. Every Medical Corps officer plays an important role in developing our next generation of leaders to include preparation for promotion boards. It is incumbent on our senior MC officers to understand the promotion selection process and be familiar with changes to the system, so appropriate mentoring can be performed.
ALNAV 050/15 released on 12 June 2015 outlines new talent management initiatives introduced by the Secretary of the Navy. New initiatives include changes in officer promotion processes to ensure the best and most fully qualified officers are promoted with consideration for current abilities and talents, rather than placement in a particular promotion zone. Therefore, beginning in January 2016, Above Zone (AZ) and Below Zone (BZ) stamps on officer records will no longer be used for records reviewed on promotion boards. These stamps were indicators on the Officer’s Summary Record (OSR) that highlighted the officer’s status within the zone.
- Beginning in January 2016, AZ and BZ stamps will no longer be placed on records reviewed in “the tank” (which is the promotion board room at PERS).
- AZ records will be reviewed with In Zone (IZ) records as conducted previously, minus the AZ stamp.
- A separate BZ review will still be conducted to review records warranting further consideration.
- Any BZ record selected for further review will be added to the crunch records reviewed in the tank. All BZrecords identified for complete review will have no identifying BZ stamps and will be reviewed twice to ensure
consistent appearance among all of crunch records.
- Promotion zone eligibility will continue to be released via NAVADMIN in December of each year.
TALKING POINTS FOR MENTORSHIP SESSIONS
- Removal of the AZ/BZ stamps from the board view is to ensure the selection of the best and most qualified officer and that officers are promoted with consideration for current abilities and talents, rather than placement in a particular promotion zone.
- This initiative does not change the requirement for the OSRs to be stamped with “Letter to the Board”.
- It is still the officer’s prerogative on whether to submit a letter to the board.
- All officers should engage a mentor or senior leader to review their record prior to coming in zone, to identifyissues/challenges that may require attention.
- If there are items in an officer’s record that need to be addressed/explained (regardless if BZ, IZ or AZ), it isrecommended that a letter to the board be submitted addressing the issue.
- Officers who have previously failed to select may choose not to submit a letter to board if the record is in goodorder and has no items requiring attention.
HOW DOES THIS CHANGE THE GAME?
These are my comments now, and not RDML(s) Swap’s. First, I think this might make it a little easier to promote if you are AZ. Second, it also might make it easier to promote if you are BZ. In other words, don’t put off fixing your records just because you are BZ. Make sure you go to Joel Schofer’s Promo Prep Guidance – 25 OCT 2015 and update your record if you are BZ, IZ, or AZ as soon as possible.
There are some exciting and interesting initiatives underway to modernize the Navy’s personnel system. There have been many articles on this in Navy Times. Here is one article recently released by the Military Officers Association of America.
In addition, here are some slides that describe this initiative:
The changes that physicians should be aware of, some already finalized and others representing potential changes, are:
- Pay and bonus changes that would reward individual talent rather than treat everyone the same.
- A removal of promotion zones. No longer would records be stamped as below-zone, in-zone, or above-zone during promotion boards. This would switch to a system that rewards talent and milestones rather than longevity. It would allow those that progress faster to promote faster and no longer have to “wait their turn” as well as remove the stigma that some feel is associated with being above-zone.
- Expansion of opportunities to diversify your career. Examples include an expansion of the career intermission program and fellowships providing officers with the opportunity to spend some time in civilian industry so that they can bring best practices back to the Navy.
- An information technology (IT) investment in a new, more transparent personnel management system. Ideas I have heard mentioned include eliminating all of the various computer systems that exist and consolidating them into one so that you don’t have to update your record in 20 different ways. An assignments system has also been mentioned that would allow officers to see all the billets available and apply for the ones that they want, giving commands the ability to pick which officers they want.
- Improved co-location policy. I have no details on this one, and right now I feel the detailers do a pretty good job co-locating dual active duty couples, but others may disagree.
- Changes to the physical fitness assessment/body composition assessment (PFA/BCA), which were detailed in this NAVADMIN. This includes expanded fitness center hours.
- Changes to the maternity leave policy, detailed in this NAVADMIN, and expanded child development center hours.
Keep in mind that while some of these changes have been released already, like the PFA/BCA and maternity leave policies, the rest are works in progress. I think it is interesting, though, to see that the DoD and Navy leadership are interesting in modernizing our personnel system and management. As a detailer who writes orders on a DOS-based system, I can assure you that modernization is sorely needed.