Navy personnel officials halted a master chief selection board Wednesday and sent the board's members home after reports the board's deliberations had been compromised.
"The E-9 board has been adjourned and an investigation is underway," said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (SG/ID) Steven Giordano. "All the members assigned to that board have departed and what we'll have to do is convene a new board sometime later in the year — when that will be is yet to be determined."
The board went into session on April 3 to consider 3,418 eligible E-8s for advancement into the 508 openings at the top level of the enlisted force. The board was close to finishing its work, but now the results have been invalidated along with the board.
"The Navy received a report April 11, 2017, that the FY18 Master Chief (E9) Selection board deliberations may have been compromised," said Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Christensen, spokesman for the chief of naval personnel, who officially convenes all enlisted selection boards.
"Enough information was validated to warrant further investigation by the Navy. The Navy takes this incident very seriously and is investigating these allegations of wrong-doing by some board members."
All selection boards convene in secure spaces at a Navy personnel facility in Millington, Tennessee. Members swear an oath of secrecy not to discuss any board business outside board spaces at Navy Personnel Command nor with anyone not serving on the board.
Though it's rare, board compromises have happened before.
In 2012, the Navy postponed an E-9 selection board for a month because the board's membership, quotas plan and convening orders were accidentally made pubic before it started. Those documents are normally only released once the board is underway.
And in 2005, a draft of the senior chief board results, with over 1,700 names on it, had to be invalidated and a new board convened after Navy officials discovered that a bootleg copy of that list was circulating via email.
"The Navy's board process is sacrosanct," Christensen said. "The selection board process must be a fair and impartial process."
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.