Sailors looking to speed up their path to petty officer first class now have some new options.
Navy officials announced this week that the service is officially establishing the Active Duty Enlisted Advancement-to-Position program, known as A2P. The program gives second-class petty officers the chance to make E-6 if they're willing to fill specific jobs in certain locations.
Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Robert Burke first announced in April that "hard-charging sailors" who are willing to take "a hard job in a hard place" could get a promotion boost. Burke, who was serving as the chief of naval personnel at the time, said a pilot program tested at higher ranks had received good feedback, and that leaders would soon make the program available to more junior sailors.
The billets sailors will be able to apply to fill this round have not yet been finalized, Cmdr. Chris Stillion, the shore allocation and placement detailer with Navy Personnel Command, told Military.com. They expect there to be 15 available billets, he added, but that number could increase in the future cycles.
"The primary consideration will be to fill E-6 billets in ratings where there are large numbers of unfilled E-6 billets and sufficient E-5s available for detailing to support advancement without adversely affecting the Navy's ability to also fill priority E-5 billets," Stillion said.
Applications during the October-November detailing cycle will be accepted from Oct. 25 through Nov. 6, he added.
The move is also another step toward a modernized personnel system that will improve fleet readiness and manning, officials said in the Navy administrative message announcing the program. Military leaders have stressed the need to update the sometimes-restrictive promotion system.
Sailors interested in applying have to be active-duty E-5s who are in their detailing window for rotation and up-to-date on the most-recent E-6 Navy-wide advancement examination, according to the NavAdmin. They must also be qualified to fill the billets for which they're applying.
All sailors are allowed to apply for a sea duty A2P billet, but those on shore duty who are slated to rotate to sea duty can't apply for another shore-duty billet.
If a sailor is selected to fill one of the new billets, they'll receive permanent change-of-station orders as they would for any other assignment. Tour lengths will vary by rating and billet, Stillion said.
Once they check into their new duty stations and complete all necessary training, they will be eligible for the E-6 pay grade, the NavAdmin states. If sailors don't complete the necessary training, they will not advance to E-6 "regardless of whether or not they continue to execute orders to the ultimate duty station," the message adds.
Twenty-nine sailors participated in the pilot program to fill 30 advertised billets. Stillion said just one spot went unfilled due to a lack of qualified applications.