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Sailors First

DOD Releases 2018 Basic Allowance for Housing Rates

The Department of Defense has released the 2018 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates. BAH increased an average of 0.7 percent as of Jan. 1. An estimated $21 billion will be paid to approximately one million Service members.

Continuing to balance the growth in compensation costs, the 2018 BAH program expands the member cost-sharing element (out-of-pocket expense). Based on the authority provided in the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, the cost-sharing element has increased to 4 percent for 2018, which means a typical member will absorb 4 percent of the national average housing cost by pay grade. Even with the increase in cost sharing, on average, BAH rates will increase approximately $10 per month. A typical mid-grade enlisted member with dependents, for example, will find his/her BAH about $19 per month higher than last year, while a typical junior officer without dependents will find his/her BAH about $16 higher than last year.

An integral part of the BAH program is the provision of individual rate protection to all members. No matter what happens to measured housing costs, including the out-of-pocket cost-sharing adjustment, a member who maintains uninterrupted BAH eligibility in a given location will not see his/her BAH rate decrease. This ensures that members who have made long-term commitments in the form of a lease or contract are not penalized if the area’s housing costs decrease.

For more information on BAH, including the 2018 rates and 2018 rate component breakdown, visit
Service members can calculate their BAH payment by using the calculator at


   Welcome Home!

A Sailor assigned to the submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) reunites with his family during his homecoming to Apra Harbor, Guam. Frank Cable departed Guam March 7, 2017 supporting maritime expeditionary operations in the U.S. 3rd Fleet area of operations and underwent a dry-dock phased maintenance availability at Vigor Industrial shipyard in Portland, Ore.

Photo by MCS 3rd Class Alana Langdon


Undersea Warfare Magazine has created this section in recognition of the enlisted Submariner—but we want you to get involved in the success of this effort. We would like you to send us “Community Outreach,” or “Liberty” photos, and/or “Homecoming” photos of families being re-united as the crews return.

Send your submissions to the Military Editor via email to:

Navy Sets New Physical Fitness Standard
to Start Boot Camp

Beginning Jan. 1, Recruit Training Command, the Navy’s only boot camp, will require recruits to pass an initial run standard before they may commence basic military training.

The initial run standard is evaluated on the 1.5 mile run of the first Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) at boot camp. The initial run standard for male recruits will be 16 minutes 10 seconds and 18 minutes 7 seconds for female recruits.

To graduate boot camp, all recruits must score a satisfactory medium on the official Navy PFA. To ensure recruits advance toward this goal over their eight weeks of training, the initial run standard sets the minimum run time at which recruits must start training in order to meet their expected level of progress.

Recruits that fail to meet the initial run standard will have one chance to retest within 48 hours. If they fail the retest, recruits will be discharged from the Navy with an entry level separation, which allows them to reapply at a later date with a waiver from Navy Recruiting Command.

For recruits who prove they are serious about physical fitness by achieving an outstanding high on their final PFA at boot camp, they will be meritoriously advanced to the next pay grade upon graduation.

Navy Recruiting Command provides recruits with a fitness and nutrition guide, which they can follow on their own or with the help of their recruiting office. Using the fitness and nutrition guide to prepare for the initial run standard, more recruits will report to boot camp physically fit, reducing attrition due to PFA failures and raising the quality of Sailors that reach the fleet.



Navy e-Learning Updates Web Address

Direct access to the online Navy e-Learning (NeL) management system website became available Oct. 23, 2017,at a new web address.

The direct NeL link of is available 24/7 and will take Sailors directly to the ‘My Learning’ and ‘Course Catalog’ tabs of the NeL learning management system after logging on.

Although direct access to NeL is available through the Internet, a Common Access Card (CAC) is still required for NeL login. Courses on NeL have been standardized to run using the Internet Explorer browser.

Trainees using NeL complete over five million online courses a year, from a comprehensive catalog of 12,500 distance learning courses. The Naval Education and Training Command relies on NeL for use in schoolhouses for individual skills and skill refresher training.

To access NeL through a link on My Navy Portal (MNP), select the “Professional Resources” drop-down menu, then “Navy e-learning Online Courses.”

Users will need to update their saved bookmark to the new NeL URL.