WHO GOT PROMOTED?
This year, the board picked 86 new active-duty command master chiefs — nine more than last year. The board picked 30 new command senior chiefs — down 36 from last year. Thirteen of the new CMC selectees were explosive ordnance disposal technicians, the largest number from any rating to be selected. The high number reflects the forecasted need of the EOD community.
The board also selected 13 drilling and full-time support sailors to be CMCs, with 12 getting the nod at the senior chief level, compared with 17 and eight last year.
See the full the CMC and CSC promotion lists.
The Navy announced its newest crop of senior enlisted leaders Feb. 15 with the results of the command master and senior chief boards.
Counting the 86 new selectees, there are 712 CMCs in the program at present — 66 more than the available CMC billets. So, will there be enough jobs for these selectees to fill?
Despite this mismatch of bodies to billets, the Navy's top sailor said he expects all to be under orders within the year based on currently open billets and projected retirements.
The 2012 selectees encountered the same issue, and it was resolved over the course of the year.
"As with advancements, we have to forecast vacancies as much as a year out," explained Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (AW/NAC) Mike Stevens in an interview with Navy Times. "This year, I'm pleased to say that everyone selected to be a CMC from last year's board is either in the job or under orders and on the way."
As for CSCs, including the 30 new selects, there are now 92 command senior chiefs but 71 billets.
Unlike CMC spots, last year's selectees have not all received a command billet, Stevens said, adding that eight of last year's 66 selects still need an assignment.
"What that tells me is they did a pretty darn good job of getting the forecast pretty close," he said.
Will CSCs get their own rating?
Predicting CSC needs is tricky because the billets do not come with their own rating — a fact that might change this year.
The good news for CSCs is that they promote to master chief at a higher rate than their peers.
Last year, a little more than 9 percent of eligible senior chiefs advanced to master chief. But for those in command senior chief billets, advancements were at a whopping 55 percent.
This causes problems, because unlike CMCs, CSCs don't change ratings. That means for every command billet filled by a CSC, there is one fewer master chief available for an in-rating assignment.
Also, once a CSC makes E-9, he can apply to convert into a CMC rating and move to a new billet — as soon as possible.
This creates CSC billet vacancies, which is why the Navy estimated too high last year and left those eight CSCs without billets.
The main option on the table is the possible creation of a CSC rating.
By taking CSCs out of their source ratings, an in-rating senior chief vacancy can be filled by someone else. It would also allow the CMC community to grow their own, starting at the E-8 level, and make it easier to manage the community overall.
Last June, Fleet Master Chief (AW/SW/SCW) Scott Benning, the senior enlisted sailor on the staff of the chief of naval personnel, announced a CSC rating plan was in the works.
The formal proposal has been drafted and is working its way through the system.
Stevens said it's on his table now, and he'll eventually have to pitch the pros and cons to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert.
"We're still discussing with others, too, but I owe the CNO a conversation to get his thoughts and ideas as to whether or not it's a course of action we want to pursue," Stevens said.
MCPON wouldn't be pinned down to an exact timeline, but said, "There's a very high probability that we'll have an answer to that question before the end of the fiscal year."
The fiscal year ends Sept. 30.