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NAPLES, Italy — The Navy will review the records of some 9,500 senior enlisted sailors starting later this month, the first step in an effort to purge underperforming troops from its ranks and trim the overall force.

On Sept. 20, the Navy will convene its performance-based board for continuation, an 81-member panel that will review the records of active-duty and reserve sailors’ with more than 19 years’ service.

The board will consider the careers of about 6,000 active-duty chiefs, senior chiefs and master chiefs, and about 3,500 reservists.

According to a Navy message, the board will base its decision on a number of factors, including: documented misconduct resulting in nonjudicial punishment, or civilian offenses; negative evaluations; loss of security clearances; failed leadership courses, and poor fitness performances.

Navy officials said they did not know how many sailors potentially could face discharge.

“We have absolutely no idea yet. There is no quota whatsoever. This is absolutely … performance-based,” said Capt. Leo Falardeau, assistant commander of Navy Personnel Command for career progression.

The board will focus on sailors’ performance within the last five years or since advancement to their current grade - from E-7 through E-9 - according to a Navy release issued last month.

Active-duty members whose records are flagged will be permitted to reach the 20-year mark, then will be honorably discharged and receive full retirement benefits. Those in the reserves who have not yet earned enough qualifying years for retirement will be allowed to take action to try to get extra qualifying years of service, such as completing certain training courses, said Master Chief Petty Officer Doug Vance, sponsor of the E7-E9 advancement selection and enlisted continuation boards.

This is the second-straight year the board has convened.

Last year, the panel reviewed the records of 5,800 active-duty senior enlisted personnel. Of those, 150 were deemed unfit and not permitted to continue service, Falardeau said.

The Navy board will have three weeks after it convenes to review the records and send its recommendation to the Chief of Naval Personnel. Once approved, the board will notify commanding officers of those senior enlisted personnel not selected to continue service. Commanders then have a week to notify those individuals; and shortly thereafter, a list of E7-E9 sailors permitted to continue service will be published on the Navy’s BUPERS (bureau of personnel) command website.

The Army last year reviewed the records of 19,000 senior noncommissioned officers in a similar force-slimming effort. Of those, 45 were asked to retire. But 15 fought it, arguing that they were valuable Army assets despite any previous incidents. A panel of their peers usually agreed: 12 of the 15 were allowed to remain on active duty. The remaining three were forced to retire, however.

Two of the original 45 cases that were flagged were deferred because investigations were still under way.


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