News Search
NEWS | April 20, 2011

Record retention, shifting missions prompt focused Navy retention board

By Chief of Naval Personnel public affairs

The Navy announced April 14 that it will conduct a focused Enlisted Retention Board in August for 31 specific ratings.

The ERB will be conducted as a result of record high retention and low attrition among active duty Sailors and to meet current and future planned end strength controls.

Currently, the Navy is overmanned in 31 of its 84 ratings, and as a result, many ratings have limited Perform-to-Serve quotas available, resulting in increased competition and reduced opportunity for strong performing Sailors to reenlist. In order to enable the PTS program to work as designed to shape the force, Navy leadership has determined it is necessary to increase the opportunity for top performing Sailors to compete for a quota.

"Programs like Perform-to-Serve and selective reenlistment bonus have been effective tools at optimizing and stabilizing our force strength. Retention behavior, coupled with the shift of 6,800 billets back to sea and development of our capabilities in key areas such as ballistic missile defense, cyber and information dominance has necessitated the establishment of the enlisted retention board to meet congressionally mandated end strength and to rebalance the force," explained Chief of Naval Personnel, Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson.

The board will review the records of selected third class petty officers (E-4) through senior chief petty officers (E-8) in the 31 overmanned ratings with greater than seven but less than 15 years of cumulative service as of Oct. 1 2011, and will be conducted in two independent phases. Phase I will review E-4 to E-5 Sailors and will convene Aug. 22, 2011. Phase II will review E-6 to E-8 Sailors and will convene Sept. 26, 2011.

The specific ratings identified include the following:

- Aviation Boatswain's Mate Fuels (ABF)
- Aviation Machinist's Mate (AD)
- Aviation Electrician's Mate (AE)
- Aerographer's Mate (AG)
- Aviation Structural Mechanic (AM)
- Aviation Support Equipment Technician (AS)
- Aviation Electronics Technician (AT)
- Aircrewman Mechanical (AWF)
- Aircrew - Tactical Helicopter (AWR)
- Aircrew - Avionics (AWV)
- Aviation Maintenance Administrationman (AZ)
- Builder (BU)
- Construction Electrician (CE)
- Construction Mechanic (CM)
- Engineering Aide (EA)
- Electrician's Mate Surface (EMSW)
- Equipment Operator (EO)
- Electronics Technician, Surface Warfare (ETSW)
- Fire Controlman (non-Aegis) (FC)
- Gas Turbine Systems Technician, Electrical (GSE)
- Machinist's Mate, Surface Warfare (MMSW)
- Mineman (MN)
- Machinery Repairman (MR)
- Operations Specialist (OS)
- Parachute Rigger (PR)
- Personnel Specialist (PS)
- Religious Program Specialist (RP)
- Ship's Serviceman (SH)
- Sonar Technician Surface (STG)
- Steelworker (SW)
- Utilitiesman (UT)

The board will exclude Sailors whose soft expiration of active obligated service date is in FY12 because they will be considered in PTS. The board will also exclude those who advanced to their current paygrade in cycles 208 (E-4/5/6), 209 (E-8/9), 210 (E-7), or 211 (E-4/5/6), are nuclear qualified, Joint Special Warfare Command enablers and those currently enrolled in the Navy's Safe Harbor program.

This quota-based board is anticipated to review roughly 16,000 records and will identify approximately 3,000 Sailors who will not be retained on active duty. In essence, this board will review roughly 6 % of the force to separate approximately 1 %. Separation quotas will be developed by individual rating, pay grade and years of service and will be published once the board convenes.

In an effort to provide maximum opportunities for conversion ahead of the board, eligibility requirements will be adjusted to allow eligible Sailors to convert to an undermanned rating prior to the board convening. Those Sailors approved for rating conversion prior to the board will be exempted. Procedures to apply for rating conversion will be published by May 1 and the applications must be received by June 15, 2011.

Those Sailors not selected for retention will need to separate by June 30, 2012, but qualified Sailors will be afforded the opportunity to compete for a Selected Reserve quota via PTS. The Career Transition Office will be available to assist Sailors who desire to make this transition into the Reserve Component.

Sailors separated by this board will also have access to the Navy's transition assistance programs which includes the Transition Assistance Management Program, employment assistance, relocation assistance for separating members stationed overseas and other benefits for members who are involuntarily separated. Members will also be eligible for involuntary separation pay.

"Navy values the service of every Sailor," said Admiral Ferguson. "The decision to establish this board was made after careful consideration, and will allow Navy to keep our very best Sailors in these overmanned ratings, improve advancement opportunity, and enable PTS to maintain this balance into the future. We also strove to afford Sailors the opportunity to shift ratings prior to the board and to affiliate with the reserves should they not be continued on active duty."

To read the ERB announcement, NAVADMIN 129/11, visit