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ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy is now requiring all first-term enlisted sailors to ask permission to re-enlist under its Perform to Serve program, said Master Chief Petty Officer Jean Allie, a program coordinator.

The program applies to first-term sailors who are 12 months from deploying or leaving the Navy, Allie said.

The Navy started Perform to Serve in March 2003 to get sailors in overmanned ratings, or positions, into undermanned ratings, such as the master-at-arms rating, the billets for which have grown from 1,800 people to 10,000 since 2003.

Perform to Serve allows sailors to move into a rating where they have a better chance of being promoted and makes sure the best sailors are kept in the ratings, said Navy spokesman Sharon Anderson.

The program had been limited to sailors in overmanned and adequately manned ratings, but as of October the program has applied to all sailors, including those in undermanned ratings, Allie said.

The Navy made the change to clarify who has to apply to re-enlist, Allie said.

“Everyone has to apply,” she said. “There’s no confusion as to who has to apply now.”

Before the Navy expanded the program, the Navy processed about 5,000 applications per month from sailors seeking to re-enlist, but now Allie expects about 6,500 applications per month, she said.

So far, the number of applications to re-enlist has jumped from about 4,800 in September to about 6,300 in October, she said.

With more sailors applying to re-enlist, the number of sailors told to separate from the Navy also increased from 132 in September to 166 in October, she said.

Perform to Serve fits into the Navy’s goal of reducing its end strength, the congressionally allotted number of personnel for the service, Anderson said.

The Navy plans to reduce its end strength by about 2.8 percent from 362,941 in fiscal 2005 to 352,700 in fiscal2006, she said.

New technology that reduces the number of sailors needed to perform tasks is driving the Navy’s end strength goals, Anderson said.

Perform to Serve makes sure the best sailors are kept in the ratings, Anderson said.

“It really looks at the quality of the sailor that we’re going to be keeping in the Navy, so this is really a quality check,” she said.

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