Following the completion of its review earlier this year, the Navy announced Sept. 29, it will modernize all rating titles for Sailors with the establishment of a new classification system that will move towards occupational specialty codes similar to how the other services categorize skill sets.
“In modernizing our enlisted rating system we are not only giving our Sailors increased opportunities within the Navy, such as a higher level of flexibility in training and detailing, but also increasing their opportunities when they transition out of the service. In aligning the descriptions of the work our Sailors do with their counterparts in the civilian world, we more closely reflect the nation we protect while also making it easier for our Sailors to obtain the credentials they’ll need to be successful in the private sector,” said Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus.
Chief of Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke emphasized, “We believe that opening enlisted career paths will enhance our ability to optimize talent in our enlisted workforce. This change is the first step of a multi-phased approach to help us do just that.”
Former Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Michael Stevens led the review earlier this year for the Secretary of the Navy on behalf of Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John Richardson.
“We are all Sailors and changing our rating titles does not affect that,” said current Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, Steven S. Giordano, who relieved Stevens Sept. 2. “While we certainly understand that this represents a significant cultural shift for the Navy and will take time to become fully adapted throughout the Fleet, this is about giving Sailors more choice and flexibility and ultimately providing the Navy opportunities to get the right Sailors with the right training and experience in the right billets.”
Giordano described how this change will work.
“Sailors would no longer be called, ‘yeoman second class’ or YN2, for example,” he said. “Instead they will be ‘second class petty officer, or ‘petty officer.’ However, Sailors’ rates will not change: an E-7 will remain a Chief Petty Officer and an E-3 will remain a seaman. Additionally, there will no longer be a distinction between ‘airman, fireman and seaman.'”
This change will also allow the Navy to more accurately identify Sailors’ skills by creating “Navy Occupational Specialty” (NOS) codes that allow greater assignment flexibility for Sailors throughout their career and will be matched with similar civilian occupations to enable the Navy to identify credentials and certifications recognized and valued within the civilian workforce.
For example, a petty officer who used to be identified as a corpsman will now have a NOS matched as a medical technician. Medical technician better reflects the work and responsibilities of someone in that position and is better aligned with the civilian medical profession.
Sailors will be able to hold more than one NOS, which will give them a broader range of professional experience and expertise and will be grouped under career fields that will enable flexibility to move between occupational specialties within the fields and will be tied to training and qualifications.
As the Navy transforms its training to a mobile, modular and more frequent system called Ready Relevant Learning, combined with recent creation of the Billet-Based Distribution system that provides a more comprehensive picture of billet requirements fleetwide, this enlisted rating modernization plan will provide the ability to much more closely track a Sailor’s training and professional development and match it to billets.
Going forward, this transformation will occur in phases over a multi-year period.
A working group was formed in July to identify personnel policies, management programs and information technology systems that may require modifications over the years and months ahead–including changes to recruiting, detailing, advancements, training and personnel and pay processes.
Any follow-on changes that are made will proceed in a deliberate process that will enable transitions to occur seamlessly and transparently. Fleet involvement and feedback will be solicited during each phase of the transformation and we will carefully consider all aspects of enlisted force management as we move forward.
The chief of naval personnel/N1 will lead the Navy’s implementation efforts.