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NEWS | April 13, 2011

Staying competitive in today's Navy

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer Hudson Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Sailors on Joint Base Charleston-Weapons Station are quickly learning that in order to stay competitive in today's Navy, a more pro-active approach is needed to secure their naval careers.

With record-high reenlistments and historically low attrition rates Navy-wide, leadership is stressing the importance of maintaining documented performance and becoming a more well-rounded Sailor in order to stand out among peers.

"It is a well-known fact that staying competitive in today's Navy is more difficult now than at any other time," said Naval Support Activity Command Master Chief Billy Cady. "With the human element basically taken out of the equation under Perform to Serve, sustained superior performance has never been more important.

"A Sailor who is actively involved with the command, excels in significant collateral duty roles, participates in the community, progresses their education, strives for the most challenging assignments and continuously works to improve their job performance will stand out above his or her peers," he continued. "Sailors that are diverse in their abilities and perform well under adversity are the individuals who stand out. They are the individuals who are receiving the recognition they deserve and usually progress through the ranks and get approved by PTS to re-enlist."

Equally important to high performance and being a well-rounded individual is ensuring that all records are accurate and up-to-date.

"Staying in tune with your electronic service record is very important," said Machinist's Mate Chief Shawn Sorensen, NSA command career counselor. "Make sure all your evaluations, awards and other essential information is making it into your record and you are keeping an extra copy of it for the 'just in case' purposes.

"There is not any one particular 'check-in-the-box' that can make a Sailor more competitive. It is a combination of a Sailor's career history, types of duty, collateral duties and their job performance. There are so many different areas that can make a Sailor competitive, it is all about how they go about maintaining the information," he said.
Career Development Boards, given by an individual's command, may help Sailors stay competitive by helping them determine where they are in their career, how to improve and what they want to achieve before separating or retiring from the military.

"By identifying potential areas for improvement, a CDB can develop a game plan to help accomplish those goals and stay competitive," said Electronics Technician 1st Class Brad Tracy, NSA command career counselor. "It is important for each Sailor to have a CDB. It not only lets command leadership know what a Sailor would like to see happen, but helps the Sailor recognize what tools or guidance they may need as well."

Gone are the days when Sailors could get by with marginally satisfactory performances and then re-enlist. The mandatory PTS quotas, which in the past only affected first-term Sailors, now affect Sailors up to their 14-year mark, making staying in the Navy more challenging.

"Doing the best you can within your job has never been more important," said MMC Sorensen. "Become the subject matter expert who is routinely sought out by leadership because you lead the pack and pave the path for others to follow. Ultimately, that is how you are going to stand out."

"Take control of your career," said ET1 Tracy, NSA command career counselor. "Whether it is checking your service record online, submitting your PTS application on time or requesting a CDB to check on your own development, each and every Sailor has to be the one in the driver's seat. Leadership is going to help Sailors get where they need to be by giving them the direction they need, but ultimately a Sailor's career is their own responsibility."

There are many tools that will help a Sailor be more active in their career. At the Bureau of Personnel website at, Sailors can check their career history, look at current or future orders, physical fitness assessment scores and much more.