The Navy announced significant changes to the current advancement policy, including a new formula for the Final Multiple Score (FMS) that will be in effect for the next advancement cycle in fall 2014.
In sum, the FMS changes increase the weight on areas where Sailors demonstrate superior performance and technical knowledge and decrease the value of longevity-based factors such as Service In Pay Grade (SIPG).
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens and Fleet Master Chief for Manpower Personnel Training and Education (MPT&E) April Beldo sat down to discuss why these changes were made and how they will impact Sailors.
Change #1: In the new FMS for E4 and E5 the value of your standard score (advancement exam) becomes the largest factor considered for advancement. For E6 and E7, performance mark average becomes the largest factor in determining Sailors’ FMS.
These changes mean performance will be measured differently for junior and senior pay grades to target advancement consideration on the qualities expected at those levels.
“Our junior Sailors are out there doing the job they’ve been trained for, and leadership’s expectation of them is that they know their occupational skill, and we measure that with the standard test,” said Beldo.
“As they rise to the rank of E6 and E7, we look for them to step into more leadership and management roles, which are reflected in evaluations, so now we’re looking more at the performance mark average at those levels,” she continued.
Change #2: No award points for Good Conduct Medals or Reserve Meritorious Service Medal.
If your initial reaction is “Nooo! They’re taking my points!” remember that nobody will receive points for these awards, so this essentially just removes a common denominator.
“The large, and I repeat, large majority of our Sailors are working hard and staying out of trouble, so across the Fleet, we’re seeing that the majority of our Sailors receive this award, and so to give a point for it was a zero sum,” said Stevens. “They weren’t gaining anything by it.”
Removing the Good Conduct Medal’s point value opens up more space for Sailors to set them apart from their peers in the award points category.
For example, award points cap out at 12 when going up for E6, so consider two Sailors-one has four Navy Achievement Medals (NAM)s and three Good Conduct Medals, and the other has three NAMs and three Good Conduct Medals. Previously, they’d both be equally maxed at 12 in the award points category. Now, the first Sailor will have eight points to the other Sailor’s six.
Change #3: PNA (Pass Not Advanced) points are only awarded to the top 25 percent of Sailors not advanced.
“Putting this 25 percent window in place will motivate Sailors to apply themselves and study really hard for the exam,” said Stevens. “It’s not just about passing the exam. It’s about passing the exam with flying colors.”
The smaller window for PNA points allows Sailors who are not advanced, but who studied hard for advancement, to begin setting themselves apart in the PNA category from Sailors who put less effort into studying.
Under this new policy, 1.5 PNA points go to the top 25 percent of Sailors by test and 1.5 to the top 25 percent by performance mark average. Total PNA points are determined from a Sailor’s last five advancement cycles, capping at a maximum of 15 possible points.
Sailors will keep PNA points they have already earned prior to the release of the policy change.
Change #4: Service In Pay Grade has been reduced to a factor of only one percent of the final multiple score.
With the weight of SIPG set to only one percent of the overall FMS, gone are days of going into your first advancement cycle at a significant disadvantage to those who have been around longer.
Beldo added that if all other things are equal, this 1 percent remains to serve as a tiebreaker and give the senior Sailor the nod for advancement.
Change #5: Changes to the Command Advancement Program (CAP) will require commands to select Sailors prior to the normal advancement cycle.
The exact window for commanding officers to select Sailors for CAP will be July 1 to Sept. 30, with the new policy going into effect for FY2015. Commands must use their calendar year 2014 CAPs from the current policy by Sept. 30th, 2014.
“The Command Advancement Program is unchanged in this respect: it is still designed to give commanding officers the opportunity to meritoriously promote their best performers,” said Stevens.
Commonly, commands have chosen Sailors for CAP immediately after the results of the fall and spring advancement cycles.
“CAP is not tied to the test,” said Beldo. “It’s tied to our best performers. This gives commanding officers the opportunity to observe their Sailors all year long and select their best performer to CAP.”
The Navy establishes advancement quotas to promote the exact number of Sailors it needs in a particular rate, and capping Sailors after those quotas are set can disrupt manning levels for the rate and may negatively impact future advancements.
“We used to take the exam and then, more often than not, we would then CAP a Sailor after the exam,” said Stevens. “So what we were doing, unintentionally, was overpopulating rates. So the next time, when we would build the Navy-wide advancement exam, we may already be above 100 percent, so there are no opportunities to promote anybody in that rate on the Navy-wide exam.”
“By capping first and then building the Navy-wide advancement exam quotas, we prevent that from happening and it allows us to maintain a stable rating health,” said Stevens.
All of these changes are the result of feedback from the fleet and careful research to find the best way to advance our best Sailors, added Beldo.
For more information on these changes, read the NAVADMIN 114/14 on NPC’s website.