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MISAWA NAVAL AIR FACILITY, Japan — Sailors and Marines across the Pacific are urged to get involved in an online career-management tool that could shape their careers.

The Navy Knowledge Online Web site, developed in conjunction with the Sea Warrior program, allows troops to measure themselves against their peers using the site’s “five-vector career model” while providing them with the information they need to advance.

The five-vector model option is currently available to sailors of select enlisted ratings, but all sailors and Marines can access the site — www.nko.navy.mil. All ratings should be able to access the five-vector model no later than April, Navy officials said this week.

Master Chief Petty Officers Marty Cobb and Mark Hayes of the Center for Naval Leadership, Coronado, Calif., are briefing Pacific troops on Sea Warrior — the Navy program to optimize manpower efficiency — and related career-management tools.

“This is some really out-of-the- box thinking on how you’re going to be able to manage your career going into the 21st century,” Hayes told hundreds of sailors here Monday.

On their current swing through Japan, they’ve spoken to sailors here and at Yokosuka Naval Base, Atsugi Naval Air Facility and Sasebo Naval Base.

They’ll hit Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station on Friday and plan stops on Okinawa, Guam, Diego Garcia, Singapore and in South Korea next month.

“The Navy is putting everything into this NKO Web site,” Misawa Naval Air Facility Command Master Chief Michael McCarthy said.

The five-vector model tracks professional development, personal development, certifications and qualifications, leadership and military education, and performance.

The model guides servicemembers toward advancement and proper training as well as assigning them a “vector quotient,” a number based on how well they do in each area that they can measure against others in their jobs and skill level, Navy officials said.

About 22,500 sailors in the information systems technician, mess- management specialist and aerographer’s mate ratings began testing the vector system last year.

The program should be available to all aviation ratings by the end of the month and to all sailors and Marines no later than April, Cobb said.

The performance vector is inoperative because the Navy is studying ways to evaluate troops’ on-the-job performance, Cobb noted.

Introduced nearly two years ago, other vectors are functional but still only about 70 percent developed, officials said.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Sarah Woodside, 24, said the vector model “is a good program as far as getting people advanced and where they should be at a certain level in their career.”

But she voiced concern that sailors entering the Navy undesignated won’t have necessary certifications from “A” school, which could put them at a disadvantage.

“I think we should be grandfathered in,” she said.

Cobb and Hayes urged sailors to evaluate the program through the site’s online survey once their ratings are available.

“When I was an airman, the chief didn’t ask for my opinion,” Hayes said. “This is an opportunity for you to provide the feedback to the folks that are developing that last 30 percent, so that when we hit the button, this is a good product for you, this is a good product for the Navy.”

Troops must register to access the site. Accounts are available to Navy and Marine Corps active-duty, Reserve, civil service, delayed entry personnel, Naval Academy midshipmen, retired and retired Reserve personnel.

Another proposed NKO program would allow sailors to view available worldwide billets in their rating.

The program lists jobs that provide a sailor with experience needed to advance, Cobb said.

“Instead of you trying to figure out what’s going to be good for your career, it’s going to have it already mapped for you to where you can see this is where you need to go,” he said.

Commands will have the opportunity to see which sailors apply for a billet, compare their vector scores and provide feedback to a detailer, who ultimately decides where to send a sailor.

Cobb said the command would not see sailor names, just application identification numbers.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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