SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — The Navy Personnel Command launched an online poll to coincide with Monday’s convening of its enlisted retention board.

The short, non-scientific poll provides links to information about the board and will remain online for two weeks, according to a Navy news release.

Participation in the poll, which was launched Friday, is voluntary and confidential, officials said.

Due to high retentionrates, the Navy is conducting the board for 31 specific ratings for active-duty sailors that are more than 103 percent manned, the Navy said. About 3,000 of the 16,000 sailors to be examined will not be retained in order for the Navy to meet congressionally-mandated force strength numbers, officials said.

“We value every sailor and family, so the decision to establish this board was made after careful consideration,” Rear Adm. Don Quinn, acting Chief of Naval Personnel, said in the release. “We simply had to face the reality of the situation. Unlike the drawdown nearly 10 years ago, we are providing the opportunity this time, on a level-playing field, for all to compete to stay.”

Career counselors in Sasebo said the board is a two-part process, with a quota-based portion and another based on disciplinary and performance records. They said they have been working with sailors to make sure their service records are accurate, which could make the difference between being allowed to stay in the service and being discharged.

If a sailor is not retained, counselors said they will steer them towards classes, such as resume writing, and instruct them on benefits available through Selected Reserves or Individual Ready Reserves. Sailors who are not retained will also have access to the Navy’s Transition Assistance Program, Navy officials said.

The board will first look at eligible E-4 and E-5 sailors, followed by E-6 through E-8 in September. The results for E-4 and E-5 sailors are due in October and results for E-6 through E-8 will be due in November. Once the board results are approved, the personnel command will begin contacting commands so they can counsel sailors on who will be separated, officials said.

The poll can be found at

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Matthew M. Burke has been reporting from Okinawa for Stars and Stripes since 2014. The Massachusetts native and UMass Amherst alumnus previously covered Sasebo Naval Base and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, for the newspaper. His work has also appeared in the Boston Globe, Cape Cod Times and other publications.

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