It will take years to tackle it all, but some initiatives are on track to see the light of day as early as next year, Vice Adm. Bill Moran said.
In a move that will make a lot of lieutenants happy, particularly those in the aviation community, officers going before the O-4 board won't be limited to the traditional two looks. This board prompted an outcry from passed-over aviators upset that their promotion rates lagged those for counterparts in the surface and submarine communities.
Up to a certain point, Moran said, lieutenants could be able to screen for O-4 several times before being forced to separate.
He could not elaborate on everything in the working group proposal, but said, "I would describe it as giving the service secretaries the discretionary authority to implement changes to how we do up-or-out promotions."
They won't be asking to get rid of year-groups this time, he said, but giving lieutenants more time to screen for O-4 will address the concerns they've raised.
Moran said he expects that the services will testify about their proposals on Capitol Hill in the spring.
Deepening the pool
The Navy is hitting it's recruiting goals and retention is high, he said, but that is only part of the picture.
"Now we know we have problems, because we think everything is running great," he said.
"Now we should all ask ourselves a strategic question: Is that a healthy place to be for a workforce that is, over time, becoming more and more of a closed-loop system?" he said. "Do we have diversity of thought, diversity of background and experience, ideas, innovation?"
The Navy is full of great men and women, he added, but if they're all being pulled from the same pool and end-strength stays the same, it will become harder and harder to recruit a diverse group.
They haven't found the answers, he said, but the discussion is ongoing.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members. Follow on Twitter @Meghann_MT