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Navy Will Force Retirement on Poor Performing Senior Captains, Commanders

NAVAL SUPPORT FACILITY ARLINGTON, Va. — With the aim of keeping only the best leaders, the Navy plans to force into retirement senior active duty commanders and captains found to have poor on-the-job performance, the head of Navy personnel told USNI News this week.

Starting on Sept. 13, the Navy will convene a Fiscal Year 2019 Selective Early Retirement (SER) Boards to determine whether any senior restricted line, unrestricted line or staff corps commanders and captains should be retired from the service due to poor performance.

“Our expectation is that since we’re looking for underperforming officers here, that the number of officers selected for early retirement will be very, very small,” Vice Adm. Robert Burke, commander of Naval Personnel told USNI News this week. “An officer that’s doing their job and performing just fine has nothing to worry about here.”

To be considered by a board, commanders must have been passed over for promotion twice, and captains must have served at least three years in grade. A variety of factors will be used to determine if an officer should be selected for early retirement. If an officer selected for early retirement is not yet eligible for retirement, the officer will remain on active duty until becoming eligible for retirement, according to the NAVADMIN.

“Our growing Navy requires the most consistently reliable top performers to lead and sustain a modern, ready and lethal force as the number of ships and squadrons and required manpower levels increase. We are committed to retaining and promoting the right leaders to meet the challenges of tomorrow, and enforcing the highest performance standards sets for Navy leaders the necessary tone and expectation for subordinates to emulate,” the NAVADMIN states.

The boards will operate under the same authority from the Secretary of the Navy used to run promotion boards, and will consider officers in 41 job categories, just like what is done for promotion boards. For O6 boards, the chair will be at least a Rear Adm. upper half (08) and members will be at least Rear Adm. lower half (O7). For the O6 boards, the chair will be at least an O7, and members will be a mix of O7 and O6, but all senior to the officers being considered for retirement.

Chief of Naval Personnel (CNP) Vice Adm. Robert Burke emphasizes the importance of the retention program during an all-hands call at the Naval Base Kitsap Bremerton, Wash. on June 17, 2017. US Navy Photo

Poor performance on the job will be the main driver of early retirement selection. The convening orders are still being reviewed by the Secretary of Navy, Burke said, but he suggested they will be similar to what is used for the senior enlisted selective early retirement boards.

Loss of a security clearance is an example of something considered by the enlisted boards. A sailor can lose a security clearance for a variety of reasons, including several situations that do not involve criminal activity, but rather involve poor judgment. The officer early retirement boards will also consider the loss of a security clearance as part of the process

Misconduct will be considered by the boards, but only in the context of poor job performance. The Navy has other boards to handling disciplinary actions, Burke said. These boards are not meant to be punitive. Officers selected for retirement will retire at their current rank.

More importantly, Burk stressed these boards are not a repeat of the Fiscal Year 2012 Selected Early Retirement Boards. In 2012, the Navy had a Congressional mandate to reduce the number of officers, which Burke said caused several hundred senior officers to be retired, regardless of their performance. also, since the boards do not have a quota to meet, and it is acceptable the individual category boards to determine there are no officers who should be retired in a category.

“I lived through the FY12 SERB, as did CNP, as the head surface warfare detailer,” said Rear Adm. John Nowell, who is now in charge of the Navy’s military personnel plans and policy.

In 2012, some of the officers selected for early retirement were performing as would be expected, he said. They were asked to leave the Navy simply because the service had to cut its ranks.

“That is not what you’re going to see with this board,” Nowell said. “Being an average, the hard-working officer is just fine.”

The following is the NAVADMIN detailing the commander and captain Selective Early Retirement Boards:

SUBJ/NOTICE OF CONVENING FY-19 ACTIVE-DUTY NAVY COMMANDER AND CAPTAIN SELECTIVE EARLY RETIREMENT BOARDS//

RMKS/1. As we seek to grow the Navy, we remain focused on warfighting and lethality by ensuring we have the right officer talent to meet the mission of the Navy. To this end, the Secretary of the Navy approved the convening of FY-19 Selective Early Retirement (SER) Boards, for regular captains and commanders on the active-duty list by grade and competitive category. The boards will convene on 13 September 2018 and are strictly about ensuring quality, not force management.

  1. The decision to hold FY-19 SER boards was made after considerable thought and careful deliberation. Our growing Navy requires the most consistently reliable top performers to lead and sustain a modern, ready and lethal force as the number of ships and squadrons and required manpower levels increase. We are committed to retaining and promoting the right leaders to meet the challenges of tomorrow, and enforcing the highest performance standards sets for Navy leaders the necessary tone and expectation for subordinates to emulate. SER boards are comparable to the already successful Senior Enlisted Continuation Board process for quality control of our senior leaders. Each board will select only those officers whose early retirement, in the opinion of a majority of the board members, is in the best interest of the Navy. When determining those officers who should be recommended for early retirement, the SER boards will consider a number of factors, including performance, the requirement for exemplary conduct, and adverse information. The majority of the officers whose records are being reviewed for these boards are fully capable of performing the duties of their current grade. Selecting zero officers in a competitive category is an acceptable option for these boards because no mandatory quotas have been established. The process of reviewing records and selecting officers for early retirement ensures the Navy will have a professional, healthy senior officer corps that is ready to meet the demands of the Navy the Nation needs.
  2. The following officers may be considered for SER:
  3. Captains (O-6). Officers who are in year groups specified in paragraph 6, have 3 or more years time in grade, and who are within the zone defined in paragraph 6 for their competitive category.
  4. Commanders (O-5). Officers who are in year groups specified in paragraph 6, who have a failure of selection for promotion to the grade of captain two or more times, and who are within the zone defined in paragraph 6 for their competitive category.
  5. The following officers are not eligible for consideration by the SER board:
  6. Officers with approved voluntary retirement requests.
  7. Officers with statutory retirements in FY-18 or FY-19.
  8. Officers whose names are on a list of officers recommended for promotion.
  9. Officers selected for early retirement will be formally notified as soon as possible after the proceedings of the boards are approved. Officers selected and approved for early retirement are required by law to be retired, if retirement eligible, on the first day of the seventh month after the month in which the board report is approved. For the FY-19 SER boards, this mandatory retirement date is anticipated to be 1 May 2019. If an officer is not eligible for retirement, then the officer will be retained on active duty until the officer is qualified for retirement, then retired not later than the first day of the month beginning after the month in which the officer becomes qualified for retirement.
  10. The following list indicates the name, active-duty list (lineal) number, and date of rank of the senior officer and junior officer who are eligible for consideration for early retirement in the following competitive categories. All officers listed below, as well as those whose lineal number falls between the senior and junior officer listed, will be considered by the SER boards, subject to the limitations in paragraph 4.

Captain

Line

Staff Corps

Commander

Line

Staff Corps

  1. Officers in the zone defined above who are on active duty when the boards convene but do not meet eligibility requirements specified in paragraph 3, or are not eligible in line with paragraph 4, will not be considered for early retirement by the SER boards.
  2. SER eligible officers may submit requests for voluntary retirement.
  3. By law, the number of captains and commanders selected for retirement within each competitive category and grade may not exceed 30 percent of those eligible officers considered by the boards.
  4. Only eligible officers may communicate with a selection board. Correspondence must arrive no later than 10 calendar days before the convening date of the board and shall be addressed to:

Navy Personnel Command (NPC) Customer Service Center

President Active-Duty FY-19 (Grade) (Line or Staff Corps, as applicable)

Selective Early Retirement Board, Board #XXX, (Board number is a required field and may be found on the FY-19 selection board schedule located at http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/boards/selectionboardsupport/Pages/FY19-Board-Schedule-.aspx

5720 Integrity Drive, Millington, TN 38055-6300

To check on receipt of your package, go to http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/boards/activedutyofficer/pages/default.aspx and enter the customer service center link (check on your letter to the board) or contact the customer service center at (866)827-5672. Written communication may invite to the attention of the board any matter concerning himself/herself that the officer considers important. The written communication must be in line with MILPERSMAN 1420-010 and may include, as enclosures, correspondence from any individual concerning the eligible officer. Correspondence not originated by the eligible officer, including letters written on behalf of that officer, must contain a written acknowledgement by the eligible officer that he or she desires that such correspondence be presented to the board. Correspondence without such acknowledgment is considered third party correspondence and will be returned. Classified correspondence will not be accepted.

  1. The cscselboard(at)navy.mil mailbox account is capable of receiving ENCRYPTED correspondence in line with DoD policy. If you are sending your board package from a non-NMCI network (BUMED.mil, EU.NAVY.mil, etc.), please visit https://dod411.gds.disa.mil to download the required mailbox certificate. To download the *Cert* (please note, you MUST be using MS Outlook with a CAC reader, including ActivClient software and have Internet Explorer or Netscape 7.X), go to https://dod411.gds.disa.mil, type cscselboard(at)navy.mil in the *E-Mail address* field, then click *Search.* Click the *BUPERS* link under *Last Name.* Click on the link *Download Certificate(s) as vCard.* Click *Software Certificate for cscselboard(at)navy.mil.* Click the *Open* button for the *File Download* pop-up. The certificate will then open. Click *Save and Close.* The certificate is then saved to the profile and can be used to send your encrypted e-mail.
  2. This NAVADMIN is cancelled for record purposes on 30 May 2019.