Tags: budget, sequestration
As the budget cuts kick in – I’m having a few flashbacks to the 1990s “peace dividend” era. The key to getting through this process is communication. It takes away some of the uncertainty, and in a way it focuses attention to priorities. It is always interesting, and instructive, to see how different organizations start the process of thinking about what should and should not get the cut.
Via the SalamanderUnderground, the following notes from a Chief of Naval Personnel recent all-hands call is helpful, and adds a bit to Ryan’s post from the 21st.
VADM Van Buskirk’s MT&E priorities are to STABILIZE (at 320,000 personnel), BALANCE (overmanned and undermanned ratings) and DISTRIBUTE (between sea and shore) the workforce. Sailors need to be ASSIGNABLE, DEPLOYABLE and DISTRIBUTABLE in order to meet the Chief of Naval Operations tenets to be WARFIGHTERS FIRST, OPERATE FORWARD and BE READY.
In order to meet these goals, his emphasis is to attack undermanned ratings and increase the quality of recruits as currently evident on entry level exam scores. Quality of recruits is key to keep apprised and abreast of technological changes. He noted that Perform to Serve (PTS) is at 90 percent acceptable in-rate quotas with averages at over 95 percent over the last four months. Retention is historically high but a continued focus is on resiliency of the force. He indicated continued FY funding for sailor support and family readiness programs.
Q&A session discussion included impact of sequestration/CR regarding as well as the following topics:
– USN continuation of tuition assistance (TA) through this FY (all other Services have curtailed this benefit). 45 thousand sailors are recipients of TA with over 90 percent receiving degrees.
– Possible changes in advancement to include consideration of multiple scores such as sea duty.
– Priority of Cyber training but fiscal pressures including civilian furloughs may slow training pipelines.
– Attack undermanned rates with new accessions. YTD have had 41,000 new accessions. Previous years were approximately 35,000-37,000. Looking at a summer surge of recruits.
– Provision of health care with possible civilian furloughs requiring referrals to civilian specialists in town. Possible contributory payments for pharmacy co-pays and increased retiree payment for Tricare for Life.
– Discussion of option to obtain NECs on-line leveraging technology for training. Limitations include current training infrastructure and classification limitations.
– Active duty IAs (except for specific specialties such as dog handling) will be transferred to reserve component. Expect closure of Gulfport MS and other IA training centers.
– STA-21 IW program closed this year. Accession options adjusted based on ROTC, OCS and related accession pipelines. Look for adjustments in future cycles.
– Number one priority is stabilizing the work force ensuring proper distribution and balance. Cross deck sailors may receive special pays and other incentives.
This is going on throughout the Navy and other services. As budgets continue to contract, expect to see more and more of this.
Priorities; time to rack-n-stack ’em.