Navy trimming ranks, offering early outs
Stars and Stripes
NAPLES, Italy — Sailors looking to leave the Navy early may get their wish. In several recent messages to the fleet, the Navy announced its latest force-shaping tools in the form of three early-out programs aimed at officers and enlisted members.
The Enlisted Early Transition Program enables some sailors to leave the Navy a year early. Those who decide to opt out must request a separation date no later than Sept. 15, 2010.
There are certain restrictions. The program isn’t open to those in the nuclear field or the special-warfare communities.
Those with permanent change of station orders are also ineligible.
The Navy also announced time-in-grade waivers for senior enlisted sailors in ranks E-7 through E-9, and officers in grades 0-5 and 0-6. Those individuals with 20 years of service can apply for a waiver that would enable them to retire with only one year in their current rank for enlisted, and two years in their current rank for officers.
"We’ve had excellent retention and good attrition, so that has given us the luxury of having too many people," said Sharon Anderson, spokeswoman for the chief of naval personnel.
"But we have end-strength goals we have to meet. These voluntary programs are one of the first steps in making sure we can meet that."
Last month the Navy announced it was working toward an overall end-strength of approximately 326,000 by the end of 2011, down from about 332,000 at the end of fiscal 2008.
These programs aren’t designed to create a mass exodus of personnel. The senior enlisted time-in-grade waiver is looking for about 150 applicants, and the officer time-in-grade waiver is looking for about 50.
The Enlisted Early Transition Program is looking to let around 150 sailors go early.
"Even though we’re only looking for small numbers to leave, you have to have some program in place to encourage that," Anderson said.
The early-transition message was good news for one Naples-based sailor thinking about taking the Navy up on its offer.
Seaman Jordan Grainger is 21, works at the base post office and is ready to leave the service.
"Some join the military at a young age and don’t know exactly what they want to do in life," said Grainger, who is looking to pursue a degree in sociology when he leaves the Navy.
"At the time, when you started and you had no idea what you wanted to do, a five-year commitment sounded good. Halfway through, you realize there’s something else you want to do and you want to get started on it soon. You don’t want to delay. It’s difficult waiting and waiting when you’re ready to go now."
The Enlisted Early Transition Program is detailed in NAVADMIN 369/08.
The time-in-grade waivers for senior enlisted sailors is detailed in NAVADMIN 370/08 and, for officers, in NAVADMIN 371/08.