ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy has announced three changes in how enlisted sailors advance.

First, sailors can now earn points toward advancement to E-4 through E-6 for holding an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, according to a recent Navywide message. The points count toward the sailors’ Final Multiple Score, which helps determine whether they get promoted.

Sailors affected by the change can earn two points for an associate’s degree and four points for a bachelor’s degree, the message says. E-4 and E-5 sailors can earn a total of 210 points and E-6 sailors can get a maximum of 240 points.

The sailors cannot earn more than four points if they earn subsequent degrees, said Master Chief John Walker, force master chief for Navy Education and Training Command.

The change is effective for the September 2008 promotion cycle and is not retroactive, Walker said.

He explained that awarding the points retroactively has the “potential of upsetting our numbers for community strength.”

While the education points will not count toward advancement to chief petty officer, they will be given due consideration for having an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, Walker said.

In another change, sailors’ performance will play a more important role in determining whether they will advance to E-7, Walker said.

Such sailors’ performance evaluations, known as their Performance Mark Average, will count for 80 points, or half of their Final Multiple Score, said Master Chief Robert McCombs, command master chief for Naval Education Training Professional Development Technology Center.

Previously, performance evaluations made up 52 points — roughly 39 percent — of the Final Multiple Score, McCombs said.

The change is effective in January for active-duty sailors, according to another Navy Administrative Message (NAVADMIN).

The move comes after the Navy made similar changes in July in how much of a role performance plays in whether sailors advance to E-4 through E-6.

In a third change, the Navy will start a three-year pilot program beginning in January to overhaul the promotion process for SEALs and special boat operators looking to advance from E-6 to E-7, officials said.

Of the 500 SEALs and special boat operators eligible for promotion to E-7 in the next promotion cycle, those who pass the advancement exam also will earn points for certifications, qualifications, deployments, awards and ethos, officials said.

The term “ethos” means the eligible sailors will automatically earn 100 points from which they will be deducted for infractions such as failing their Physical Readiness Test or being cited for drunken driving, Walker said.

The new promotion system will be outlined in a forthcoming Navy message.

For more information, see NAVADMINs 300/07, 301/07 and 304/07 at:

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