Relax sailors, no one is Everybody relax, nobody is getting fired.

That’s the message from the Navy’s top personnel officer as the service pushes moves forward with its plan to as the Navy pushes a proposal to shave 6,300 billets from is end strength in 2017, a deeper-than-expected cut that has alarmed some in the ranks.

The majority of the cuts stemwill come from shutting down an air wing and laying-up 11 cruisers, with the rest will coming from speeding up training and changing how the Navy counts its billets, the chief of naval personnel said in an exclusive interview. said Vice Adm. Bill Moran in exclusive Feb. 22 interview with Navy Times.

Vice Adm. Bill Moran said the downsizing proposed in the 2017 budget will be managed by tweaking the number of sailors coming into the Navy and managing the number leaving. For years, officials have called this "natural attrition" tens of thousands both join up and leave the service every year. as each year 10's of thousands both enter and leave the service routinely. In addition, he said, there will be no early outs offered in relation to these cuts — nor a such as a repeat of the deeply unpopular 2011 enlisted retention board.

"Nobody is losing their jobs," Moran said in a Feb. 22 interview. "There is absolutely no reason on Earth to do any force-outs. We can modulate both the intake in accessions and the output on re-enlistments and retirements to easily deal with this difference in end strength."

The cuts to end-strength will not have an impact on the manning levels in the fleet because the Navy isn't changing the number of billets on the waterfront, Moran said.

"End strength comes in many forms: Billets that are real in the fleet, jobs in the fleet, none of that is affected," Moran said. "None of that is changing."

Accelerating "A" schools and "C" schools for initial entry sailors will also eliminate billets, Moran said.

It's part of a program officials are calling "ready, relevant learning" and it's causing a reorganization and a rework of the Navy's training system for every rating. 

The idea is to cut up front training time by focusing "A" schools and initial training pipeline "C" schools on just what sailors need for their first tours. Follow-on training will be built into career paths during and between sea tours.

Officials say the training will benefit from new virtual reality tools to give sailors more hands-on experience before getting to the fleet, and matching the interactive experiences with classroom instruction by qualified instructors.

"Because of ready, relevant learning we see a real opportunity to reduce the time sailors are in 'A' schools and 'C' schools and get them to the fleet sooner," Moran said. "There is a corresponding way we account for people in student billets."

All told, speeding up training will save the Navy about 2,700 billets, Moran said. Laying up the cruisers — docking the ships indefinitely, with stripped down crews while they wait to be modernized — a program that sets the ships aside with stripped-down crews while they wait to be modernized – will save 2,000 billets. Cutting Carrier Air Wing 14, based out of Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, will save another 1,400 billets.

CVW-14 hasn't deployed since 2011 or been fully staffed since 2013.

Many are skeptical that the training overhaul will work as planned, with some saying that the training pipeline is already challenged.

"'Speeding up sailors training pipeline.' Do we really want to do that?" wrote one reader on Navy Times' Facebook. "Last new trained Aviation Machinist's Mate I asked to bring me a a Phillips screwdriver had no idea what I was talking about."

The last big chunk of billets will come from the "transient, patient, prisoner, hold" account, with a one-time reduction of 1,700 billets in 2017, Moran said, adding that there was some risk in creating gaps at sea if the Navy draws savings from this poolaccount too often.

Personnel officials estimate the service can early absorb a reduction of up to 10,000 without causing problems in the personnel system or hurting fleet manning. That number was arrived at when sequestration planning a few years ago forced the service to see just what they could do without. Before this year, the service had planned to grow the force to 330,000 and hold it steady.

As for retention and advancement, Moran said he did not expect the cuts to impact those areas. He also said he was unwilling to cut recruiting too much because it would create problems in the personnel system down the line with advancement.

"You always have the option to bring fewer people in," Moran said. "But I won't go there in any significant way because it creates a burble in the system you have to live with three to five years down the line."

Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.

David B. Larter was the naval warfare reporter for Defense News.

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