Op-Ed: E-2 TO E-7 With The Stroke Of The Pen Is Awful For The Military
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By: Brooks Outland
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If the U.S. Navy goes through with the idea of recruiting civilian experts to build up the capabilities of their personnel quickly, by advancing them in rating from E-2 to E-7 upon graduation from Recruit Training, the morale, discipline and personal initiative in the Navy will suffer immeasurably!
Advancing to Chief Petty Officer (E7) normally takes approximately 12 to 13 years “time in service!” During those dozen or so years of service, personnel are constantly grilled with on-the-Job-training (OJT)! In many cases, successful completion of Class “A” and “B” Schools are pre-requisites. Quarterly Performance Marks must stay at the highest level (4.0) and written examinations for advancement to the next higher rating are also required. Even if you pass all those pre-requisites, you are not assured of advancement, unless there is sufficient need by the Navy for the particular rating being sought. In addition to all that, personnel must successfully pass all requirements for the Enlisted Surface Weapons Specialist Pin (ESWS).
It will be impossible for E7’s who worked diligently for that many years to be able to accept someone who was advanced simply because he or she is already an expert in a particular field.
The person advanced so quickly to E7 will have no experience regarding discipline in the Navy and absolutely no leadership ability. These “quick advanced” people will also be immediately eligible, after only a few months military service, for the monthly pay rate of Chief Petty Officers who had to work 12 long, hard years to receive that pay scale.
The quick advancement in rating and/or rank for Musicians and Medical Doctors has been utilized for decades and is an acceptable advancement in the eyes of peers.
E5 and E6 personnel with 8 or 10 years time in service are going to be hard pressed coping with taking “orders” from a totally inexperienced E7. The presently well-received Chief Petty Officer Legacy Academy programs held aboard U.S. Navy ships for CPO Selectees will significantly lose its importance and will probably have to be discontinued.
In the humble opinion of this Senior Chief, without leadership qualities and a perfect understanding of military discipline, these “quickly advanced” people will not be accepted as quality peers by existing E7, E8, & E9 personnel. Becoming a Chief Petty Officer will no longer be the sought after goal of our sailors; it will just be another enlisted rating.
Brooks Outland is a Korean and Vietnam war veteran. He volunteered to serve in Vietnam because he was keen to help the people of South Vietnam keep their freedom and their country from communist takeover by the North. After retiring Brooks and his wife spent eight years volunteering aboard his old battleship, USS Missouri (BB-63), before returning to the mainland in Arkansas in 2015.