By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (AW) LaTunya Howard, Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs
MILLINGTON, Tenn. – The Chief of Naval Personnel, Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson, met with Navy personnel leadership to discuss force balance and the upcoming Enlisted Retention Board which convenes Aug. 22.
The chief of naval personnel (CNP) began his briefing by commending the officers, enlisted detailers, enlisted community managers and Navy Personnel Command support personnel for their diligence and hard work this year. He also noted that current over manning in certain enlisted ratings was not just a Navy concern.
"The fiscal pressures we are under, and the projected transition period of moving out of Iraq and Afghanistan are affecting all the services," said Ferguson. "Each service is taking a slightly different approach to manning."
Navy policies and programs work optimally under a retention rate of 55-60 percent. The Navy is currently operating at 71 percent retention. "We have more people wanting to stay in the Navy than we presently have billets," said Ferguson.
Overages in the Navy's end strength drove the decision to conduct the Enlisted Retention Board, commencing in August. Four years ago, the opposite was the norm with the Navy competing to keep skilled Sailors in the service.
"We saw our retention numbers turn in 2008, so we took actions over time to get ahead of this trend. For example, we expanded Perform-to-Serve in 2009, which allowed us to start shaping the force. For officers, we are trying to prevent over manning this year, so we are conducting a selective early retirement board. We are presently projected to be overmanned in commanders and captains in the unrestricted line," said Ferguson. "On the enlisted side, we are operating at sustained high retention levels unprecedented in the history of the all-volunteer force."
CNP allowed time for questions from Navy Personnel Command detailers and community managers. He expressed a desire to know what manning issues they encounter, and welcomed their suggestions.
"This issue of balance is a tough one," said Ferguson. "Each of you play a crucial role in manning the Navy and shaping our future. You wrestle with that balance of an individual's needs, the command's needs and the needs of the Navy. Thank you for your dedication to our Sailors and our Navy."