Navy suspends promotion boards due to risk of coronavirus to sailors

Chief petty officer combination covers lay on a table during a chief's pinning ceremony aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook, Sept. 15, 2019.


By CAITLIN M. KENNEY | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 20, 2020

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WASHINGTON — The Navy is suspending its selection and promotion boards to limit travel to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, according the service.

The boards that decide promotions for thousands of officers and enlisted sailors scheduled to convene Tuesday and after are being postponed until further notice, according to a Navy announcement by Vice Adm. John Nowell, chief of naval personnel.

Other panels impacted include advancement for enlisted sailors and milestone boards, according to the Navy.

The decision is meant to prevent sailors from having to travel to Millington, Tenn., to sit on these boards, and to limit the number of sailors who would be working closely to one another, according to the Navy.

As of Friday, the military has had 70 service members test positive for the coronavirus.

When the boards resume, they will mostly follow the original board schedule, according to the announcement, and the Navy will adjust the schedule process depending on the coronavirus situation so that no sailor is negatively affected by the delay.

No additional officer or enlisted candidates will be added to the original eligibility list for these boards.

The Navy is working to ensure sailors who are eventually approved by a board or the Senate will have their rank and pay back dated.

“I want to reassure every affected sailor that we are committed to maintaining the sanctity of the selection board process and every precaution is being taken to ensure fairness and minimize impact to you and your family,” Nowell wrote.

Twitter: @caitlinmkenney