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ARLINGTON, Va. — Navy Expeditionary Combat Command wants the Navy to make expeditionary warfare a career path for both officers and enlisted sailors, the outgoing head of NECC said.

“This is a critical warfare program that we need a professional force for,” said Rear Adm. Ronald K. Bullard. “That includes officers and enlisted.”

Established in January 2006, NECC is in charge of sailors, such as individual augmentees, Seabees Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians and riverine sailors, who fight in shallow water and on land.

More than 40,000 sailors are part of the command, which is operating in more than 41 countries, Bullard said in a Jan. 9 interview, two days before he retired.

But while EOD technicians and Seabees are dedicated communities, most sailors come to NECC from across the fleet, do one tour and then leave the command, Bullard said.

“We train them; they become very good; they may never come back again,” he said.

NECC wants to create a community in which both officers and enlisted sailors can spend the majority of their careers, Bullard said.

Toward that end, the command is working with Navy Personnel Command to create Navy Enlisted Classifications — NECs, or job codes for skill sets — for expeditionary warfare skills, and create a process for sailors to remain within the community.

NECC also plans to propose the Navy create a new designator for expeditionary warfare officers so that they could “have a better perspective of the capabilities across the spectrum of NECC,” Bullard said.

He said NECC hopes to make recommendations to Navy senior leadership within the next four to six months.

If approved, such changes typically take between three and nine months to be formalized, said Tom Crain, of the Navy Manpower Analysis Center.

New NECs are approved by the Navy Enlisted and Officer Occupational Classification Systems Board, Crain said.

“If all board members concur, the Executive Secretary signs an approval letter, which makes the NEC effective immediately,” he said.

New designators must be reviewed by the chief of naval operations and approved by the Navy secretary, Crain said.


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