Navy officials are overhauling the re-up approval and orders negotiation timelines for all enlisted sailors starting Oct. 1.

The changes, announced in NavAdmin 231/17, mean that sailors can start applying for their next set of orders one year out from when they’re slated to transfer — three months earlier than the current allotted time.

This means sailors applying for orders will be able to start applying for a re-up quota 18 months prior to their rotation date instead of the current 15 months.

“The longer window provides for greater lead time for orders release and overseas and sea-duty screenings while providing greater opportunity for sailor choice in the assignment process,” said Rear Adm. John F. Meier, assistant commander, Navy Personnel Command for Career Management.

“These changes further enhance NPC’s commitment to meeting fleet readiness requirements by aligning the most qualified sailors to our most critical billets.”

That modification comes with a caveat, though. Although three months are being added to the process, the Navy will be switching the cycle of orders applications to every two months instead of the current monthly variety.

This, officials say, is necessary, because in doubling the application window, the Navy is also increasing the number of sailors who will be applying for orders at any given time.

Sailors applying for re-enlistment, but not negotiating orders, can also submit re-up applications earlier. Those sailors can now apply 16 months prior to their end of enlistment instead of the current 13-month lead time.

These changes in the years-old system, officials warn, mean sailors must pay attention to the new rules to avoid being left in the dust.

Officials also say that with the new timeline, it’s even more important that sailors, during their cycle window, submit five applications for advertised jobs until they get an approval.

This gives detailers the best chance to take individual sailor preferences into account while also considering the needs of the Navy, officials say. Detailers will now be able to transfer a sailor to fill fleet vacancies as early as six months before or as late as six months after rotation dates.

Sailors should note, however, that only the orders application cycles are switching to the every-other-month schedule, officials say. The C-Way re-enlistment approval system will remain a monthly cycle.

With the implementation of the new rules, officials want to ensure every sailor has ample opportunity to get re-up approval, so sailors with end of service dates that fall between April 2018 and January 2019 will be reset to ensure four in-rate and four rating conversion applications.

Those slated to rotate between August 2018 and December 2018 who require re-up approval to negotiate orders will also be reset to ensure time for three approval applications before they enter the new orders window.

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.

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