By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tamara Vaughn, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) played a major role in the implementation of the Meritorious Advancement Program (MAP), helping to catapult the number of on-the-spot advancement quotas used Navy-wide to 99.5 percent in fiscal year 2015.
According to PACFLT Master Chief Career Counselor Tyrone Jiles, in fiscal years 2013 and 2014, only 41 and 47 percent of quotas were reported, respectively, to PERS-8, .
"Now that we shifted gears to fiscal year 2016, we have a better process," Jiles said. "We have more accountability with the MAP certification letter and more accuracy and timeliness of submissions; all critical for proper execution of this program and key to why we were able to get 99.5 percent quota utilization."
During a speech in May at the Naval Academy, Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus committed to radically boosting the number of spot advancement opportunities and revamping the out-of-date Command Advancement Program (CAP).
"One of SECNAV's discussion topics talked about replacing CAP with MAP, which would allow commanding officers (CO) to petition for more of these advancements quotas," Jiles said. "Sailors are chosen for MAP by their chain of command, in which the commanding officer has final approval. Like CAP, MAP is a tool to recognize top talent in an effort to retain our best and brightest Sailors."
The process change should place commands in a better position to recognize their best Sailors. The MAP program is designed to give skippers a greater ability to promote their highest performing Sailors; to allow command leadership another avenue for promotion of high-performing Sailors, instead of solely relying on traditional advancement testing.
Commands may also have more opportunities to advance new petty officers or add chevrons to existing petty officers because COs can now request more quotas via MAP. Through the redistribution of unused quotas, 111 additional PACFLT Sailors were advanced during the fiscal year 2015 MAP redistribution season.
"MAP provides our command the opportunity to advance our top Sailors," said USS O'Kane (DDG 77) Command Master Chief Charles Thomas. "Each department will submit an eligible candidate. The Chief Petty Officer's Mess will have a MAP board similar to a Sailor of the quarter or Sailor of the year board, and send the commanding officer recommendations of the best candidates."
Jiles said his experience meeting PACFLT's newly promoted MAP Sailors, who are praising the effectiveness of the program, has been inspiring.
"MAP has made a positive impact on the PACFLT area of operations," Jiles said. "I traveled throughout PACFLT during the MAP season and met with Sailors that were advanced through the program, and let me tell you that they were all smiling ear to ear. Pacific Fleet advanced roughly 900 Sailors through the MAP program and Big Navy's numbers overall were 2,277 advanced."
Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Jennifer Dicostanzo, who was advanced through the MAP program aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), is just one of the many Sailors Jiles referred to.
"I felt vindicated. My chain of command truly believed in me and because of that I was chosen," Dicostanzo said. "I was honored, humbled, and elated."
Command quotas are based on size. A command with 100 or fewer enlisted billets can spot advance two Sailors, one to E-5 and one to E-6. Those with more than 100, but fewer than 1,000, get two E-5 quotas and one for E-6. Commands between 1,000 and 2,000 get four E-5s and two E-6s. The biggest sea duty commands, such as aircraft carriers, can spot-advance six E-5s and two E-6s. There are no quotas for E-4, so a command can use E-5 or E-6 billets to advance members to E-4.
"Since we are rebalancing more of the fleet to the Pacific, you will see that there will be more advancement opportunities for Sailors through this program," Jiles said. "It is simple math. As we shift our focus to increasing the Navy's presence in the Pacific, our number of quotas will increase for candidates whose commands feel they are ready for the next paygrade."
Additionally, the MAP program will expand its promotion quota numbers to some shore-based commands, with further guidance coming out next fiscal year.
"We will look at all the ratings on shore duty that have the opportunity to [utilize] MAP," Jiles said. "We understand that we have some outstanding Sailors doing some great things on shore duty, and [they] should have the same opportunities as Sailors on sea-duty platforms with the MAP. And that is one of the reasons SECNAV wanted to expand this program to shore commands as well."