4 years ago NAVADMIN 147/07 began the process of transitioning the Individual Augmentee process away from “Welcome Aboard, you’ve been selected to go on an IA” to “OK, you have time in your career path, we can send you on a GWOT Support Assignment”. Given the pathetic manner in which many commands had handled the IA assignment process (as well as the pathetic manner in which Navy had apportioned IAs to manpower claimants) the GSA was heralded as a good thing that allowed officers and Sailors to plan and removed the burden from commands to provide short notice fills from already decreased ranks.
The program was set up in three phases…but not much has been publicized since NAVADMIN 171/10 changed the name from “Global War On Terror Support Assignment” to “Overseas Contingency Operations Support Assignments”. The promise to do away with short notice tasking for long established requirements remained – but has not been realized.
Since the IA (like “NOB” and the “PRT” a name change can only go so far in Navy culture) has become such a ubiquitous part of the Navy the level of acceptance has gone up, the level of open disgruntlement has gone down and the visible level of Flag involvement in the program has disappeared.
Which must be how requirements like this are allowed to pass through five separate 4-star commands to get approved.
LINE NUMBER: NE-4387-0001/ PLATOON LEADER / O2-O3 / UNRESTRICED LINE OFFICER, WARFARE QUALIFIED/ with a current Secret clearance and a PRD of at least 12/2012. Report date 10/3/2011 for 270 days in theater (estimated return date 9/30/2012). Duty location Afghanistan. Position Description: Postal Platoon Leader tasked to provide customer service and postal finance support for up to 6,000 personnel consistent with theater mail policies and priorities. Services include money orders, postage stamp sales, special services and package mailing.
Seriously? IAs support an Army that three years ago hadn’t deployed a third of it’s Soldiers and two years ago had learned to massage those numbers so that “being in a unit with deployment orders” counted the same as being deployed which still left 25,000 soldiers who had never deployed. And within that 25,000 (because that’s the smaller number) the Army is unable to find someone qualified to handle the mail? And needs a warfare qualified Navy officer to do it?
I understand that the Navy has a cultural bias against saying No to missions and tasking. But. A warfare qualified postal officer?