By Erik Slavin
Copyright 2014 Stars and Stripes
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The Navy is making several changes to its advancement system for petty officers, including a formula that would add greater weight to performance evaluations and less to advancement tests.
The changes are part of a long-term, phased approach that could change the promotion quotas for the Navy’s many job ratings, Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Bill Moran wrote in a post on the Navy Times’ Facebook page.
“The majority of you seem to like greater weight added to performance — make the evals count more, make it less about who can pass the test or who hangs around long enough,” Moran said. “In general, I agree with you.”
Currently, for sailors vying for E-4 and E-5 pay grades, the next-level exam equals 37 percent, and evaluations equal 42 percent of the total promotion score. For sailors aiming for E-6, the test equals 33 percent and the evaluations equal 47.5 percent of their promotion score.
The new formula, which could be introduced as early as the autumn test cycle, would minimize the importance of testing and increase the weight of evaluations even more, though exact figures have not yet been determined, according to Navy Times.
Multiple sailors who spoke with Stars and Stripes agreed with the changes, though some argued that the Navy’s evaluation system was subject to manipulation, and therefore, less indicative of a sailor’s abilities than other measures.
Seaman William McMillin said Tuesday that the changes, in particular at the E-6 level, should have been made a long time ago. Giving more weight to evaluations puts more focus on management ability at that level, he said.
“There are some great chiefs and first classes, but there are also a lot who don’t know how to lead,” McMillin said.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Guisela Quezada liked the idea of evaluation-focused promotions because of her own record, “but I’ve heard horror stories,” she said.