YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The Navy is attempting to fix a cause of manning shortfalls by allowing sailors to prepare for overseas moves sooner, according to a message published Wednesday.
Sailors will now begin the overseas screening process after receiving a letter of intent to take their new assignment, instead of waiting for a hard copy of their signed orders.
Enlisted sailors and their families should receive the letter of intent after their assignment is accepted through the Navy’s web-accessible Career Management System, according to a message signed by Navy personnel chief Vice Adm. William Moran.
“The current process of starting overseas screening after receipt of permanent change of station orders delays Sailors and families from completing overseas screening in a timely manner,” the message stated. “These delays have negatively impacted operational manning.”
Sailors generally could not begin the time-consuming process of changing duty stations until they receive their orders, which can be subject to delays.
When sailors get screened out within three months of their expected transfer date, it creates a gap in manning on ships and at shore commands until a replacement is found, according to the message.
Screening includes a medical review for the sailor and any family members, as well as a review of the schools available at the new location. Some overseas hospitals and schools aren’t equipped to deal with specialized medical conditions and learning needs.
Officers and enlisted sailors who aren’t detailed through the Career Management System will have the letter of intent issued after orders have been proposed, according to the message.
Sailors will have 30 days from the day their command receives the letter of intent to complete their screening, while family members will receive 60 days.
Sailors and families that fail to meet those deadlines will have their orders canceled and will fill a “needs of the Navy assignment” — generally a job that detailers are having a difficult time filling.
Sailors who cannot complete the screening in time for reasons beyond their control can request a waiver from the Navy Personnel Command.