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Board Basics from the Bureau of Personnel
(above)Chief Petty Officer (SS) Justin Smith during his promotion ceremony.
Photo by Mike Smith

by Lt. Cmdr. Tony Grayson

Several promotion and screening boards are on the horizon. Do not put your promotion or screening selection at risk because your record is not correct or complete. In this article, we will cover the basics of record maintenance, methods to correct errors, and board cycles. Remember—the content of your service record is the primary method that the board will use to evaluate your performance relative to that of your peers.

Board Basics
There are two types of boards: statutory promotion boards and submarine administrative selection boards. Statutory promotion boards include officer promotions and are governed by law. Administrative selection boards include submarine major command (MC) screening, submarine commanding officer (CO) screening, submarine executive officer (XO) screening, and submarine department head (DH) screening. Administrative boards are run by the Submarine Officer Distribution Division (PERS-42) of Naval Personnel Command (NPC) under the direction of Submarine Force leadership.

Board Eligibility
For Statutory Promotion Boards, eligibility by lineal number is promulgated by a NAVADMIN message that is released every December (at least 30 days prior to the first board) which sets the promotion “zones.” Your lineal number can be found on your Officer Data Card (ODC) at the Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS) Online (BOL) or in the following link:

The NPC website also maintains an eligibility list ( for upcoming statutory boards. This list is continually updated until 3 weeks before the board convenes.

Administrative Board eligibility is determined by your year group (YG). The YGs that are being considered for each board are listed above with the schedule. If you have any questions concerning eligibility, call PERS-421B at DSN 882-3932.

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Capt. Steve Perry educates Lt. Jon Ahlstrom on the new Performance Evaluation Continuity Report available through the BUPERS Online website.
Photo by Molly Little

Board Preparation
There are many tools available to help with your board preparation. They include:

BUPERS Online (BOL) is an essential tool that is always at your disposal and should be your primary resource for board preparation. Verifying fitness report (FITREP) continuity is the most important aspect of board preparation. Continuity can be verified in BOL and the CD-ROM copy of your record can be ordered from BOL, as well.

Although there is a considerable amount of specific information on BOL, ordering your personal CD-ROM will allow you to look at what is scanned into your record. The scanning of FITREPs, awards, etc. is a manual process and mistakes can be made. There are over 700,000 FITREPs and evaluations per year that are processed by NPC, but most submariners will only have their own to ensure is entered and entered correctly!

NPC Website
The NPC website ( is another valuable source of information in preparing for both administrative and statutory boards. The “Boards” section describes the promotion zone procedures, selection status, approval status, phasing plans for promotion, board precepts, membership, and answers many other questions that you may have related to a particular statutory board. The administrative boards that PERS-42 runs for CO, XO, DH, MC, and Limited Duty Officers follow the same procedures.

NPC Customer Service Center
After you have determined that you are eligible for a board and have reviewed your record, you may have discovered that you must provide missing, corrected, or additional information to the board in order to bring your record up to date. Such documentation should be sent directly to the NPC Customer Service Center (CSC) ( or 1-866-U-ASK-NPC). The CSC will deliver letters and missing/corrected/additional information to the board you have specified, and confirm receipt. Note: Only you can provide information to the board for your record; information provided by a third party must be submitted by you for consideration by the board.

Correspondence for a board must arrive in the board spaces (not at the base mail facility) the day before the board convenes. Next Day or Express Mail does not guarantee that your package will make it to the board if you wait until the last minute to send it. You should ensure your package arrives at least one week prior to the board’s convening date. It will take approximately one to two days for correspondence to be logged in, sorted, and forwarded by the CSC to the appropriate board. Certified and registered mail is also not recommended as this can add several days to the US Postal Service processing time.

Permanently Updating your Record
The CSC is the conduit for getting information to the board for consideration; however, information provided to CSC will not be updated in your permanent record. You must still use the records management section of the NPC website ( and the Navy awards website ( to actually update your record. This update of your permanent record does not need to be completed prior to the board provided you submitted your information to CSC. A detailer cannot enter or submit information to be updated in your official record.

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Chief Petty Officer Jeremy Farr during his chief petty officer pinning ceremony.
Photo by Mike Smith

Lt. Jon Ahlstrom views his Performance Evaluation Continuity Report on the BUPERS Online website.
Photo by Molly Little

Board Lessons Learned
The Captain (O-6) Promotion Board occurs in January each year. In the months preceding the board there is a progression of forecasts of which officers will be “in zone;” however, the only official zone is announced by the NAVADMIN that fiscal year’s boards released in December. Each year, there is a scramble by some officers who are caught off guard because they are identified as “in zone” for the O-6 board by the NAVADMIN, but thought they would be “below zone” based on the forecasts. This issue is identified specifically because there is little time between publishing the “in zone” candidates in December and the board in January. There is more time available for record correction before the Commander (O-5) Board in February and Lieutenant Commander (O-4) Board in March or April.

The Lieutenant Commander (O-4) Promotion Board normally occurs in late March or early April. Lieutenant FITREPs are required to be completed Jan. 31. This is the shortest timeline between regular FITREP completion and promotion board convening. We recommend that each officer “in zone” for the lieutenant commander promotion board submit his Jan. 31 FITREP in a Letter to the Board to ensure the board is able to consider it.

In contrast to the lieutenant commander board, there are seven months between the Oct. 31 lieutenant commander FITREP for an XO and the CO/XO Screening Board in May. This creates a large gap of undocumented performance information relative to the XO tour length. A letter to the board by a CO or immediate superior-in-command (and forwarded in the proper format in accordance with may be appropriate to document deployment, patrol, or other ship and officer specific accomplishments and is valuable information to assist the board in determining the best qualified XOs for screening as CO.

Lt. Cmdr. Tony Grayson holds the position of PERS-421B and coordinates board issues for submarine officers. If there are questions or feedback, contact him at (901) 874-3932 or DSN 882-3932. Or go to the PERS-42 section of the NPC website and send an e-mail.

FY09 Board Schedule (conducted in FY08)
Submarine Department Head (#146) and Major Command (#145) Board convened Dec. 4, 2007 and considered:
  • Department Head YG (year group) 02 (Last) and YG 03 (Early)
  • Limited Duty Officer (LDO), Strategic Weapons Officer YG 01 (2nd) and YG 02 (1st)
  • Major Command and Major Program Manager YG 83 through YG 86
Active O-6 (captain) Line (#160): Jan. 15, 2008
Active O-5 (commander) Line (#230): Feb. 12, 2008
Active O-4 (lieutenant commander) Line (#275): April 8, 2008
Submarine CO (commanding officer) and XO (executive officer) Board (#350): May 19, 2008
  • CO YG 92 (3rd), YG 93, (2nd), YG 94 (1st)
  • LDO Drydock Commanding Officer YG 96
  • XO YG 97 (3rd), YG 98 (2nd), YG 99 (1st)
  • LDO Drydock Executive Officer YG 00


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