Navy hopes hefty bonuses will keep leadership posts filled

The Los-Angeles class fast attack submarine USS Oklahoma City returns to its homeport of Apra Harbor, Guam on June 29, 2018.


By SCOTT WYLAND | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 12, 2018

Senior submarine officers can receive as much as $180,000 in signing bonuses under a new Navy plan to retain sailors with desired leadership skills.

Officers who have been commissioned at least 26 years and have overseen major submarine commands, such as a squadron or task force, are eligible for sizable extension bonuses, the Navy said in a memo earlier this month.

An eligible officer would receive $45,000 a year for a two- to four-year contract and $35,000 for a one-year contract.

The bonuses, which will be available to an estimated 50 officers a year, are part of the Navy’s larger effort to keep senior leaders at the helm.

Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer has described the intense competition the Navy faces from the private sector and other military branches in recruiting and retaining qualified personnel.

“The Navy, the Army, Air Force … are in a talent war and we are going to have to compete with every single tool we have,” he said in a March speech in Washington.

The Navy also recently began allowing chief petty officers willing to perform more sea duty and tough taskings to extend their service beyond the time when rank normally would force them to retire.

An E-7 normally must retire after 24 years, E-8s at 26 years and E-9s at 30 years of service.

A new policy change also lets the highest-ranking chiefs postpone their retirement.

Command master chief petty officers, including those serving at one or two star commands, can remain two years past the current 30-year limit. Those serving at three or four star commands can stay a year longer than the 35-year limit of that rank.

Under the old “up or out” policy, servicemembers were expected to retire if they weren’t promoted regularly.

Another change to the policy enables junior officers who haven’t been promoted to stay in if they have sought-after skills.

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Cmdr. Dave Edgerton, outgoing commanding officer of Los Angles-class fast-attack submarine USS Columbia walks of the submarine after the change-of-command ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, August 3, 2018.

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