Over the past few years our Navy has experienced unprecedented reenlistment and retention rates. As a result, we have had to take specific actions to reduce and rebalance the number and types of Sailors we currently have serving on active duty to stay within our congressionally authorized end-strength limits. One of the methods used for this process was conducting an Enlisted Retention Board (ERB). The ERB convened in September to conduct an exhaustive review of the performance of roughly 16,000 Sailors across 31 overmanned ratings, and, from this number, select approximately 3,000 to be separated from the Navy. The ERB has since concluded, and those Sailors who were reviewed as part of Phase 1 (E4-E5) will be notified of their status starting today. Phase II (E6-E8) notifications will be made later this month.
My primary concern right now is making sure we do everything in our power to stay true to our responsibilities to these Sailors and their families and make their transition to civilian life as smooth as possible. To that end, our Navy will be offering additional services beyond the transition assistance programs typically available to all departing Sailors. Some of these benefits include pre-separation transition coaching, resume writing, job interview preparation and job search assistance. Furthermore, over the coming weeks at Fleet Forces we will be conducting a 2-day ERB workshop that will cover many of the important topics such as career planning, medical and financial information, and the GI Bill. It’s absolutely critical that we make sure our Sailors are aware of (and attend!) these workshops and all the other events and services our Navy has put together to assist with their transition.
The Navy Personnel Command (NPC) has created a web page with a wealth of information along with a very comprehensive (and very well done) Transition Handbook. I highly recommend our departing Sailors take the time to read through this handbook to ensure they are aware of the various benefits available to them (involuntary separation pay, medical benefits, relocation assistance, etc.) leading up to and upon separation from the Navy. Our staff CO, CMC and career counselor will also make sure this information is covered in great detail for each of our Sailors during the workshop and throughout their period of transition.
On a final note, I want to say that it’s never easy to see our Shipmates leave. I take great pride in having served with so many talented men and women who all volunteered to serve their nation. Although we cannot change the results of the ERB, we can very much control how we support our Sailors who will be separating. I ask that all of you who know someone being affected by this ERB reach out and offer your assistance. We all have knowledge, experience or even some contacts in the civilian world that can help our Shipmates make this transition. I can assure you my entire leadership team at Fleet Forces, starting with me, will remain engaged and fully supportive of these Sailors and their family members who will be leaving our Navy.
I continue to be honored and privileged beyond measure to lead this great team, and I thank you all for your service.
All the best, JCHjr