For the first time in more than four years, the Navy’s sea/shore rotation policy is being updated to better match the Navy’s billet base at sea and on shore.
“Getting the correct sea/shore rotation across the fleet is the first step toward creating a future force,” said Vice Adm. John C. Harvey Jr., chief of Naval Personnel. “We have been making assignments based on a sea/shore rotation that reflects the billet base of 2001 and does not take into account the almost 19,600 enlisted shore duty billets that have been programmed for elimination to date.”
Earlier this year, a Sea/Shore Rotation Working Group convened to determine the optimal sea/shore rotation in the Navy. Chartered by the Chief of Naval Personnel, the group will continue analyzing and working on solutions to ensure sea/shore rotations match the needs of the fleet forces and look at short and long-term challenges with the policy.
“As the force structure changes, the sea component has remained relatively constant. So, reduction has been taken on the shore side of the house, as either the work goes away or as civilian positions are brought online changing the billet structure,” said Capt. George Taylor, director of enlisted distribution at Navy Personnel Command (NPC).
To develop this policy, the emphasis was first placed on properly manning sea duty and the front line operational units. Currently, 790 rates/ratings/NECs (Navy Enlisted Classifications) make up the Navy’s sea/shore rotation force. Of these, 150 will have an increase to their sea duty time, with most seeing a change of six months or less. Forty will increase eight to 12 months, and only five will increase more than 12 months. On average, sea tour lengths for E-5 to E-9 will increase from 47 months to 51 months, while shore tour lengths will increase from 34 to 36 months.
“The billet base changes over the last four years have caused an imbalance from a distribution of assets perspective. This sea/shore rotation will help us ensure proper manning at sea and allow us to better align our billet base to the mission,” said Cmdr. Tom Trotto, PERS 40 special assistant at Navy Personnel Command.
Sailors within their nine-month window to negotiate for orders will be able to proceed with those orders. NPC will adjust Sailor projected rotation dates based on length of tour remaining. Projected rotation dates (PRD) of February 2007 or earlier will not be adjusted.
“Our first priority is to properly man our sea duty and front line operational unit,” Harvey said. “The Working Group is working hard to address potential billet imbalances of the future as new ship classes and squadrons come online. They will also look at compensation strategies to increase flexibility and responsiveness to keep sea billets filled.”
Future updates from the Sea/Shore Rotation Working Group will be provided as the group continues working to better align fleet and mission requirements while providing more predictable career tracks for Sailors.