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Navy officials have dunked the slam, so to speak.

Over the past several years, Navy career managers created a system to put an end to “slamming,” instances when sailors are assigned last-minute orders for which they don’t ask.

“‘Slamming’ is a thing of the past, and was a term used when sailors were not given a choice of orders. Sailors were issued orders and told to execute,” said Cmdr. Scott Barbier, the head of the Aviation Assignments Branch at Navy Personnel Command in Millington, Tenn.

“This is not the way we do business, and today’s sailors are offered a varied array of assignments via Career Management System/Interactive Detailing,” he said.

In late 2002, the Navy started tracking “slams.” From September through November 2002, for example, almost 20,000 sets of permanent change-of-station orders were written — and of those, 91 were slams.

Today, an average of 1 percent of sailors are sent to fill what the Navy calls “needs of the Navy” orders, said Barbier, who served as the front man for a team of Navy career experts consulted on ‘slamming.’

Specifically, it’s 112 sailors of 10,780 sets of orders the Navy issues per month.

But those aren’t slam cases. Sailors have five months to pick their next jobs. Those who don’t manage their own careers are assigned to jobs the Navy needs filled and aren’t surprised by those orders.

Here’s how it now works: The CMS/ID system — which used to be called JCMS (Job Career Management System) and then JASS (Job Advertising and Selection System) — gives sailors a five-month window to go online, each month, and apply for up to five job postings, which the Navy calls billets.

At the end of the five months, sailors without orders enter the “needs of the Navy” window. The detailer, or career manager, assigns the sailor to the highest priority open requisition, taking into account the sailor’s qualifications, Barbier explained.

“With an average of 40,000 billets listed in the CMS/ID system monthly, sailors have a variety of billets available to choose from,” he said in an e-mail.

Sailors begin thinking about their next job about nine months before they have to move. They can go online, review and apply for orders with help from their command career counselor.

Sailors get extra incentives to apply for hard-to-fill positions through the Assignment Incentive Pay, or AIP. Under the program, which started in June 2003, sailors can earn from $1,800 to $10,800 more a year for three years. They bid for the jobs, much like an auction.

In fiscal 2004, the first full year of AIP, the Navy spent $1.75 million on the program. In 2005, the budget increased to $6.6 million, followed by an increase to $19.7 million in fiscal 2006. The AIP budget has been increased to nearly $31.2 million for fiscal 2007, said Mike McClellan, a Personnel Command spokesman.


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