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Good chances for petty officer advancement

Nov. 19, 2012 - 08:29AM   |   Last Updated: Nov. 19, 2012 - 08:29AM  |  
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A sampling of some of the largest swings in rating advancement opportunity between the spring and fall cycles.
Electronics technicians (nuclear): 100 new quotas upped advancement opportunity by nearly 50 percentage points, from a little more than 32 percent in the spring to almost 82 percent this cycle.
Electrician’s mates (nuclear): Opportunity rose 41 percentage points, with almost 57 percent advancement this cycle, compared with almost 16 percent last cycle, thanks to 100 more quotas.
Aeographer’s mates, Gas turbine systems technicians (electrical): Both of these ratings improved to 100 percent advancement this fall, with GSEs rising from 61.63 percent in the spring and AGs up from 51.72 percent.
Religious program specialists: Advancement quotas dropped from 32 in the spring to 10 in the fall, resulting in a 23 percentage-point decrease in opportunity.
Naval aircrewmen (operator): Quotas dropped from 62 in the spring to four this cycle, leading to an opportunity drop of 80 percentage points.
Yeomen (group 1): Opportunity rose from less than 49 percent in the spring to more than 86 percent this cycle.
Information systems technicians: The rating with the most E-5 quotas also had one of the largest opportunity upticks quotas jumped from 510 in the spring to 670 this year, resulting in an opportunity increase of almost 28 percentage points.
Electronics technicians: All 33 test-passers will move up this cycle. In the spring, there were 10 quotas for 36 test-passers, resulting in an opportunity of less than 28 percent.
Machinist’s mates: Quotas dropped from 509 in the spring to 406 in the fall, but there were 360 fewer test-passers, meaning opportunity rose more than 24 percentage points, from 60.67 percent to 84.76 percent.
Gunner’s mates: GMs lost 12 quotas, dropping from 284 in the spring to 272 this cycle, and saw advancement opportunity drop nearly 19 percentage points.

Fall petty officer quotas

Click here to see a breakdown by paygrade and rating.

Many who took the fall advancement exam have reason to rejoice: There was a one-in-three shot at promotion the best chance sailors have had at advancing into or up the petty officer ranks in a decade.

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Many who took the fall advancement exam have reason to rejoice: There was a one-in-three shot at promotion the best chance sailors have had at advancing into or up the petty officer ranks in a decade.

The chances are up across the board: 47.7 percent for E-4; 32.4 percent for E-5; and 19.6 percent for E-6.

The fall quotas call for 26,835 active-duty and full-time support sailors to advance, according to the Nov. 14 list approved by Vice Adm. Scott Van Buskirk, the chief of naval personnel. Officials expect to release the advancement lists before Thanksgiving.

The total number of quotas is 2,970, lower than this spring as fewer took the fall test, officials said. But the data also show a jump for those who passed the test: 33.2 percent, on average.

"This is definitely a good news story," said Rear Adm. Tony Kurta, the director of military plans and personnel for CNP. "It advances sailors. They're ready and able to go to the next grade. It'll help us with fit-and-fill in the fleet."

It is only the third cycle since 2007, when all three active-duty ranks saw opportunities grow, CNP said.

Advancement opportunities are still strong for full-time support sailors, but they did not see a similar increase. The chance of advancing overall only increased for E-6s when compared to the spring.

This active-duty spike in the fall quotas is unlikely to hold up in subsequent cycles, however, as the Navy tries to stabilize its enlisted force at around 261,000, Kurta said in the Nov. 15 interview at his office in Arlington, Va.

"We're entering an era of stable end-strength, and what we foresee at this point is stable promotion opportunities in the future," Kurta said.

The higher advancement rate can also be chalked up to force-shaping tools, such as Perform-to-Serve, which ranks sailors up for re-enlistment by rating, paygrade and years of service. New vacancies were also created after the two enlisted retention boards, which were one of the biggest anxiety drivers this year.

The ERBs officially closed Sept. 1, and 2,946 sailors from E-4 to E-8 were booted.

With fewer overmanned ratings and end-strength stable, Kurta expects the advancement rate to revert to historic norms. The five-year average is 20,801 quotas, or a 21 percent drop from the latest cycle.

The active-duty quota is 26,379 sailors, down from 29,242 in the spring. Full-time support quotas stand at 456, a drop of 107 from the last cycle. Quota levels are highest for E-4s at 11,419. E-5 quotas are 10,122 and E-6 ones are 4,838.

This fall's quotas are slightly smaller because of how many sailors advanced in the spring, one official noted.

"We advanced so many folks last time, we kind of cleared the way," said Cmdr. Renee Squier, the head of enlisted plans and policy. "And now, people have to wait the required time before they're eligible for the next promotion."

Officials said the higher advancement rate was unrelated to recent changes to the exam, which now asks more in-rate technical questions. Test-takers with a better grasp of this will outperform their peers. But this hasn't affected the passage rate, officials said, noting that the exam results are used to "rack and stack" those eligible for advancement.

Based on PTS and ERBs, the Navy has shrunken the number of overmanned ratings from 31 last year to about a dozen this year, the manpower officials said, adding that opportunities would still be there for sailors eager to stay Navy in coming years.

"All the force management actions that we have taken to balance the force have helped lead to good and stable opportunities for advancement," Kurta said.

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