From “Connecting the Dots”

Promotion board result season is upon us, and yet again, the questions fill the air as members of our team attempt to do their own analysis of the results. Despite the numerous flaws in such analysis, individuals will use their “findings” as reason to either validate or alter their desired career path. I mention flaws in the analysis because none of us have the decision inputs that the promotion board did. Yes, I will acknowledge that many times the information we have may be more relevant, as generally speaking many reporting seniors do a poor job of truly documenting performance, holding juniors formally accountable (conduct), and accounting for the personality traits that, if incentivized, would truly build a prolific team (Multipliers vs Diminishers). Our approach to Fitness Reports doesn’t do us any favors (ranking based on relative seniority amongst peers, trying to be “The Good Guy” for everyone, deferring the reality check to the promotion board, etc), but that is not the point of this post. My confusion lies in what really amounts to an annual quest to identify the jobs we should ourselves take as we refine our path to obtaining the collar devices for which we so desperately yearn. Yes, there are plenty who continue to value perceived success (rank) over measurable significance (making a meaningful contribution) and that in itself remains our biggest challenge.

Read the rest at

Posted by M. Ittleschmerz in Navy

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  • Fouled Anchor

    Ittleschmerz, thanks for posting the link and I encourage everyone to read the entirety of CDR Heritage’s latest blog…and his past posts as well; he’s a fine Naval officer. This post makes several outstanding points that are valid in any community in any service.

    Bravo Zulu Commander!

    BZ also to Ittleschmerz for introducing the good Commander’s wisdom here.

  • JohnByron

    One prays that the official response of the assignment process to all the tea-leaf reading will be to ignore it, ignore the career desires of individuals (but not their personal desires), and focus on the needs of the Navy. (Note: the needs of the Navy should include a need to build strong career paths that test and advance the best and that provide motivation that goes to good performance and continued service from the rest worth keeping. You don’t need a separate career goal. The sacred Triad of Detailing is bogus.)

    Let me say it a different way and agree with the primary post: careerism – useful as a tool – is pernicious as a primary goal. It says the monkeys should run the zoo and that the Navy exists to serve its people (sorta thought it was vice versa).

    Why is careerism so pervasive? One big reason is that we staff the control room with front-running careerists; Bureau Rats (I’ve been one) get to the job by playing the career game very very well. Another is that we organize the entire personnel business around communities and designators rather than around more primary Navy needs going directly to mission (you need some process mechanics dealing with designators, but the lion’s share of non-fleet-seats can be filled by the generic officer of the right paygrade). But the individuals are chasing the career rabbit and for community detailers’ the primary goal is community interests, not mission needs … and so we have the system we have.

    I’ve been banging this drum for about three decades now. Lots of folks don’t like it. Not many have said I’m wrong. Here’s what we have: we’ve inverted the chain of loyalty. Top-down it should be Nation>National Defense>Navy>Community;>Individual: that’s the right loyalty ladder. Instead we reverse it, highest priority first: Career>Community>Navy>National Defense>Nation. The problem’s in the Bureau. Ditto the cure. Dammit cure it.

  • SwitchBlade

    While there are many that analyze the promotion results to try to figure out what billets would help them get promoted, the processes is supported and formalized by the detailers doing it. I attended at least two detailer presentations on this subject. I suspect that most of it is BS because if you fail to do the job, regardless of the billet, you won’t promote.

    However, what I noticed at the time was that there was (and still is) there is NO information on why those that failed to promote failed to promote. The assumption of the billet analyzers is that the process is all billet related – all other things being equal (which they never are). But, without some information on why those that didn’t promote where passed over, its all a guessing game that the Navy perpetuates and supports; most blatantly by permitting the Detailers to get in on the act and doing the analysis for us.

    If you want to see a change, have the boards release the non-select data in some kind of anonymous format. Something like xx% had failing FITREP grades; yy% had too many similar billets or not enough variety in billets; zz% billets not challenging enough. Include whatever categories the board feels are the relevant reasons for not promoting the losers of the tie breakers.

    That would generate some changes in the billet selection process. If some billets are career killers – those going to them should know that in advance and the billets should be filled by officers on their last tour! It shouldn’t be an annual guessing game.