Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sorry Sailor, we gotta show you the hatch....Captain, you too sir.

This is a predictable outcome of the lousy economy....and now there will be more Veterans looking for work.

Will businesses step up and assist some of our nation's finest or will it be more likely that they will face what Vets face now?? A much higher unemployment rate than their non-veteran counterparts. A terrible turn of events for those who have protected our freedoms.

Navy has a Problem: Too Many Personnel
June 24, 2011
The Day, New London, Jennifer McDermott

So many Sailors are choosing to stay in the Navy rather than take their chances in a struggling economy that now the Navy will decide who gets to stay.

Sailors completing their first enlistment are staying in the Navy at a rate of 72 percent. There is no room for them to move through the ranks because not enough people are leaving.

This summer, the Navy will convene a retention board to review roughly 16,000 records and choose 3,000 sailors to leave the service earlier than they had planned. With more than 270,000 enlisted sailors serving today, that means 6 percent of the force will be evaluated and 1 percent separated.

Sailors with nuclear training will be spared because the Navy needs to retain their technical skills and because the number of these Sailors is generally in line with the number of submarine jobs the Navy has to fill.

Officers, however, may not be spared.

The Navy will convene a second board in August to choose about 240 commanders and captains for early retirement, possibly including some submarine warfare officers. The Navy cited high retention and low attrition as the reason for this review as well.

"The reason that we are letting people go is because they are not leaving the Navy on the projected rate that they normally do," Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, said earlier this month at a military strategy forum. "People are in the Navy to fill specific jobs. So it's not as if I can keep people just because I want to."

Personnel costs have the highest inflation rate because of pay and benefits. The service has to live within its means, Roughead added.

The Navy is overmanned in 31 of its 84 ratings, or jobs for enlisted sailors. The retention board will consider selected third class petty officers through senior chief petty officers in the 31 specialties, who have more than seven but fewer than 15 years of service as of Oct. 1. One-third will be in aviation jobs.

None of the 31 specialties is submarine specific. Lt. Cmdr. Kyung Choi, spokesman for the commander of the Submarine Force, said the personnel requirements for the submarine force have not changed.

But some of the Sailors serving on shore at submarine bases, either assisting the chaplain or providing career counseling and maintaining personnel records, could be affected. Both kinds of specialists are assigned to the Naval Submarine Base in Groton.

This is the first time sailors with lower levels of experience have been reviewed by a retention board, although some more senior Sailors were previously considered by a board.

Some in Congress question the Navy's plan. The House Armed Services Committee said in its recent report on the defense authorization act that it was concerned by the Navy's request to reduce its ranks.

"The Navy has been challenged over the past several years as sailors deployed as individual augmentees to overseas contingency operations to execute non-traditional Navy missions, which has drained needed manpower from the fleet," the report said, adding that the committee would "closely monitor" the Navy's reduction of manpower and the impact on operations and requirements.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, and a committee member, said the impact to southeastern Connecticut should be lessened by the fact that nuclear-trained Sailors are exempt.

He said there is "obviously an economic backdrop" to the retention issue since both recruitment and retention numbers went up after the financial collapse.

The board will first look for any indicators of poor performance, such as past punishments for disciplinary offenses, then base decisions on the Navy's quotas for each job, said Lt. Matthew Allen, spokesman for the chief of naval personnel.

Sailors in the crowded jobs were given the chance to apply for other Navy jobs that are short-staffed. Those who are told to leave the Navy this summer must do so by June 30, 2012. They will be eligible for benefits and pay for people who are involuntarily separated, such as employment assistance and help relocating for those stationed overseas.

2011 The Day, New London, Conn.

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