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Navy Enlisted Promotion System

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The precept varies only slightly from year to year. An oath administered to board members and recorders on convening is contained in the precept. The precept also outlines the expected conduct and performance of persons serving with the board.

Upon convening, the board establishes internal ground rules and minimum selection criteria, which each member uses when screening the records of candidates. The rules/selection criteria are applied equally to each candidate within a rating. Application may vary slightly from rating to rating for many reasons, such as sea duty or lack of it, supervisory opportunities, schooling availability, rotation patterns, etc. The board is given the freedom to establish its own internal procedures, within the guidelines of the precept, thereby providing for the dynamic nature of the selection process.

Professional Performance at Sea.While it is not necessary that a candidate be serving in a sea duty billet when the board convenes, it is desired that his or her record reflect demonstrated evidence of professional and managerial excellence aboard at sea or at isolated duty assignments.

Education.This includes academic and vocational training, whether such education is gained as a result of the individual's initiative during off-duty hours or as a participant in a Navy-sponsored program.

Evaluations. Evaluation marks and narratives are closely reviewed and a trend is identified. The single-most important factor influencing selection is sustained superior performance. The summary ranking also gives the board an indication of how the candidate compares against members of the same pay grade at his or her command. Personal decorations, letters of commendation or appreciation, etc., are given consideration. Command and community involvement also reflect a well-rounded, career-motivated individual.

Duty Assignment History. Assignments and history of duties performed are determined from the service record transfers and receipts page, and the job description on the evaluations. This data shows board members whether or not the individual is performing duties commensurate with his or her rate and if expectations of professional growth are being met.

Standards. Failure to meet the Navy's physical readiness test and percent body fat standards can hinder an individual's selection opportunity. Individuals who have had disciplinary problems, received a letter of indebtedness or have other record entries relevant to behavioral difficulties such as drug abuse or have demonstrated racial, sexual or religious discrimination, will find the path to E-7/8/9 more difficult than those with clear records.

Test Scores. (E-7 only) - Scores for E-7 candidates are also taken into account since they give the individual's relative standing on the examination compared to other candidates.

Special Promotions

In some cases, commanders have the authority to bypass the normal promotion system, and promote sailors early. For example, outstanding recruits are often given a meritorious promotion in boot camp, and/or “A School” (job training). It's also customary to meritoriously promote the command winners of the Navy's Outstanding Sailor of the Year Program, and the Navy Recruiter of the Year Program. Other special promotions are the Selective Conversion and Reenlistment (SCORE) Program, and Selective Traning and Reenlistment (STAR) Program.

Promotion Averages

So, how long does it take to get promoted in the Navy? On average, one can expect to be promoted after completing the following Time-in-Service (2006 Statistics):


• Petty Officer Third Class (E-4) - 3.1 years
• Petty Officer Second Class (E-5) - 5.2 years
• Petty Officer First Class (E-6) - 11.3 years
• Chief Petty Officer (E-7) - 14.4 years
• Senior Chief Petty Officer (E-8) - 17.1 years
• Master Chief Petty Officer (E-9) - 20.3 years

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