Navy instituting 'Perform to Serve'

By LISA BURGESS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 11, 2003

ARLINGTON, Va. — Starting in March, sailors who are up for re-enlistment in especially crowded rates will be encouraged by their Navy commands to transfer to undermanned jobs, where their chances for promotion are much rosier.

The goal of the new program, which the Navy has dubbed “Perform to Serve,” or PTS for short, “is to take our very good readiness and further improve it by balancing our force,” Vice Adm. Gerry Hoewing, chief of naval personnel, said in a Monday interview with reporters at his offices in Arlington.

The principal benefit for sailors, meanwhile, “is increased promotion opportunities,” which are few and far between in many of the sea service’s most crowded ratings, Hoewing said.

For example, in the Navy’s most needed rate today, master-at-arms, “promotion to E-5 is nearly 90 percent,” Hoewing said.

By contrast, promotion rates to E-5 in some very overcrowded rates average just 10 percent to 15 percent, Hoewing said. The most overcrowded field in the Navy today is gunner’s mate, which is staffed at about 117 percent of its authorized strength.

The new rate transfer program is initially aimed at first-term “Zone A” sailors with six years of service or less.

“As we balance out Zone A, we may have a requirement to balance out” other zones, which involve sailors with more experience, Hoewing said.

Commanders will identify those sailors who are up for re-enlistment and whom the commanders believe the Navy should try to retain, said Cmdr. Chris Arendt, director of the Navy’s enlisted plans and policy branch.

If a chosen sailor is working in a rate that is at strength or below, he or she will be offered the opportunity to re-enlist in that rate.

But if a sailor is working in a crowded rating, he will meet with his career counselor, who will show him the list of undermanned rates and discuss possible switches.

Then, the sailors will give their commanders a list of three rates, and the Navy will try to assign the new rate based on the sailor’s preference. The command will turn in the requests to a centralized re-enlistment and extension reservation system based at the Navy Personnel Command in Millington, Tenn.

Evaluators will look at the commander’s recommendation for re-enlistment and advancement, pay grade, selection for advancement, and test scores.

Sailors from overcrowded ratings who aren’t selected for conversion will be separated from the Navy at the end of their service obligation.

Navy personnel officials will try to let sailors know within 30 days what direction their future career will take, Hoewing said.

The Air Force and Army already have job conversion programs that are similar to the Navy’s new effort.

Vice Adm. Gerry Hoewing, Chief of Naval Personnel, explains the service's new "Perform to Serve" retention program to Pentagon reporters Monday in his Navy Annex offices in Arlington, Va.


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