The Navy is steaming into 2018 amid a sea of uncertainty.
Navy leaders have only just begun to implement the fleet-wide changes prompted by soul searching after catastrophic collisions killed 17 sailors last summer. And naval aviators are still struggling with serious — at times fatal — readiness problems. Whether sailors across the force feel safer is likely to top the list of questions for the new year.
At home, big changes are coming for how sailors are trained and how their careers are managed. The Navy’s top personnel officials will be pushing ahead with an ambitious slate of reforms that is likely to change the nature of ratings and traditional advancement.
In 2018, many military leaders are wondering whether the Trump administration will make good on its promises to grow the military in general and specifically put the Navy on a path toward a fleet of 355 surface combatants. So far, there’s been no big windfall of cash for Pentagon coffers. But among military leaders, optimism remains for this year.
Here’s a rundown on what you can expect in 2018 as sailors brace for change both inside and outside the Navy.
- All new evals and fitreps
- The end of “A school” as you know it
- “Forever GI Bill” changes take effect
- Big Tricare changes are on the way
- US troops return to the front lines in Afghanistan
- For foreign recruits, new year brings few answers
- More sleep for surface sailors
- 1.6 million troops will choose between old and new retirement systems
- The F-35C will be ready to fight
- The long road to a 355-ship fleet
- The end of blueberries
- Aviators need better air
- Surface force crew assessments
- Showdown in the South China Sea