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Happening Now: U.S. Navy Eliminates All Rating Titles For Enlisted Sailors

September 29, 2016

The U.S. Navy has begun a complete overhaul of its career structure by getting rid of all 91 of its enlisted titles over the course of the next three to four years. The rigid career structure is undergoing the biggest overhaul in American history. Military officials claim that the move will make readjusting to civilian life much easier for service members leaving the service. Sailors will no longer be defined by their job titles, such as Fire Controlman 1st Class John Doe.

The change was sparked by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus’ plan to find gender-neutral job titles by removing the word “man” as women are slowly transitioned into combat roles. Ratings will be disbanded entirely and Sailors will instead be organized by occupational specialities (NOS).

Many military officials hope the change will allow Sailors to develop skills beyond their assigned rating titles which will in turn make them more attractive to prospective employers once they leave the Navy. Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke said that removing the rating titles will be a slow process. He said in an interview:

“We recognize that’s going to be a large cultural change, it’s not going to happen overnight, but the direction is to start exercising that now.”

The Navy’s new occupational specialties will be regrouped under broader career fields. They will now be able to be retrained in related skills which will broaden their job opportunities both inside and outside of the Navy.

It is unclear how the change will effect specialty marks, which are rating-specific designs displayed on dress uniforms, belt buckles, and occasionally sailor’s ball caps.

This follows the Marine Corps  taking “man” out of 19 titles – also under the edict of Navy Secretary Mabus.