From Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs Office
MILLINGTON, Tenn. -- Technology bridged the distance between Navy Personnel Command (NPC) and Sailors currently deployed to Afghanistan during a Fleet Engagement meeting conducted through a video teleconference Feb.16.
“We are very excited to have the opportunity to connect with Sailors in Afghanistan; this forum allowed NPC to deliver the Fleet Engagement brief to their doorstep without the logistics involved with flying,” said Master Chief Navy Counselor (SW/AW) Steven Cullen, Navy counselor/legalman detailer, who provided Sailors an overview of detailing process.
Cullen highlighted changes to the Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders negotiation timeline which changed in late 2009, and may be news to deployed Sailors who haven’t had to negotiate for orders since the change. Under the new timeline, Sailors may negotiate for orders nine-to-seven months prior to their projected rotation date (PRD) before falling into the needs of the Navy window.
“This provides Sailors three cycles to review and apply for billets advertised on Career Management System Interactive Detailing (CMS/ID),” said Cullen. CMS/ID is the web-based system used to advertise more than 13,000 billets available each month to Sailors in their orders negotiation window. Sailors may apply for up to five billets a month in CMS/ID.
“There are certainly challenges for deployed Sailors who need to negotiate for orders, but NPC will do whatever it takes to help you. But you also need to help yourself,” said Cullen.“Sailors need to be aggressive when negotiating for orders.”
Cullen also stressed the importance of getting Perform to Serve approval before negotiating for orders.
PTS/Fleet Rating Identification Engine (RIDE) is a centralized reenlistment reservation system for Sailors in pay grades E-3 to E-6. While most Sailors are permitted to reenlist in their current rate, Sailors in overmanned ratings may be offered reenlistment in an undermanned rating while other Sailors may not be granted permission to reenlist.
In addition to PCS orders, PTS/Fleet RIDE is one of the main career management concerns among Sailors in the theater of operations.
“Sailors need to be proactive in their careers when it comes to PTS. If they are IA, they need to contact their parent command as soon as possible for assistance. If they are GSA/OSA, they can contact me or the Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center with their PTS concerns/questions,” said Senior Chief Navy Counselor Erwin Hunter, a command career counselor from Naval Forces Central Command forward deployed to Afghanistan.
VTC participants said it was good to hear information directly from NPC on PTS. Cullen also discussed the importance of Career Development Boards and communication between Sailors and their detailers, explaining that early communication gives the Sailor the ability to shape their expectations well before they enter the negotiation window, effectively ensuring a positive negotiation cycle.
More than 25 detailers attended the VTC from Millington to hear the concerns from their Sailors. After the brief, Sailors had an opportunity to connect directly with their detailers over the phone to discuss individual situations.
“In a constantly changing environment with regards to career information, often what Sailors hear from their leadership here is months-old information that is outdated. This was a great opportunity to get the latest information,” said Lt. Ivor Kristiansen, a supply corps officer filling a GSA billet in Afghanistan. Kristiansen, Hunter and Senior Chief Personnel Specialist (SW/AW) Tyrone Blockton reached out to NPC to organize the fleet engagement for Sailors here.
“In the fast-paced environment here, it is difficult to focus on anything but work,” said Kristiansen. “This VTC ‘forced’ Sailors to focus on themselves for two hours, and you could tell it got the wheels in their heads turning in a good way.”
Nearly 3,000 Sailors are currently serving as IA or GSA in Afghanistan.