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Document: Unrestricted Line Officer Promotions

The following is the July white paper, Unrestricted Line Officer Promotions: Best and Fully Qualified? by Capt. Robert Tortora, USN.

From the document: After more than thirty years of competing as a group, it has become increasingly evident that the combined group of communities in the [Unrestricted Line] competitive category can no longer compete on an equitable basis to meet the needs of the Navy. Differences in authorizations and retention differ significantly across the URL communities whereas promotion timing and opportunity are the same within this competitive category. Changes in force structure, relative size imbalances of the URL communities, and differing community milestones, career paths and timing have overshadowed reasonable consideration as a group and surpassed the ability of the promotion system to deliver officers from these communities in appropriate ratios to meet their separate requirements and the mission requirements of the Navy. It is past time for a periodic review of the URL competitive promotion category.

  • XBradTC

    I think it probably is a good idea to separate URL by community for promotions. But at what grade do you reintegrate them? CDR? CAPT? RDML?

  • FDNF’er

    One of the author’s concerns is that “Shortages have persisted in the SWO, Submarine, EOD and SEAL Communities. No URL community can begin to close their historic gaps without attaining better control of promotions to meet
    community requirements.”
    Don’t these shortages exist because the Officers in this community are choosing to leave the service? How can you promote officers to fill vacant community requirements when these officers have already left the service?

  • RPT

    These Officers have not chosen to leave the service. The context is that the grouped promotions and constricted zones have an affect on the number of Officers from those communities that are eligible. There are more that do not make the zone cut because of excesses at that rank. There are many that get passed over because of excesses in other communities. Once passed over there is a slim chance at a second look and all can somewhat see what their current promotion prospects are.

  • MJE

    There are plenty of SWOs who don’t sign SWOCIP (they call it “taking the blood money”) because either they see what is going on down the road, or they’re fed up with their community continuing to eat itself like a snake with its tail in its mouth: SWOs take pride in “eating their young” and then wonder why so many jump ship when their commitment is up. There was a good YouTube video not long ago about a “head SWO” pleading with BUPERS for more ensigns because the attrition rate has been so high in recent years, but being clueless as to why they’re all leaving. With that in mind, is it that surprising that more aviators are sticking around to “fill” those spots? Give it a few years and you’ll see plenty of aviation JOs flocking to the airlines (the FAA can only extend the baby boomers so long) and the manning pendulum will start to swing the other way. It always does, if at irregular intervals.

    Regarding CDR Snodgrass’s article — and this pertains to all communities — yes there are some that stay in, but many of them are of the mindset “I don’t know what would I do outside so I’ll just stay in” regardless of whatever degree(s) they may have. This is more reminiscent of Brooks from “Shawshank Redemption” than a person who wants to stay in because they love what they do and/or are good at it. Getting promoted for the sake of filling a vacancy doesn’t do the Navy any more favor than the alternative.