Yeoman 3rd Class Jarrell Bailey, right, heaves lines aboard the cruiser Antietam on July 3 before leaving Guam. Yeoman is among the ratings open to re-enlistments. (MC3 Declan Barnes/Navy)
The most recent rating breakdown for sailors in or approaching the re-enlistment window. Full-time support ratings are noted with “(FTS).”
Description: Eligible sailors can be automatically confirmed to re-up.
The list: ABE, ABF, ABH, AC, AD, AD (FTS), AE, AM, AM (FTS), AME, AO, AO (FTS), AS, AT, AWF, AWO, AWS, AWV, AZ, AZ (FTS), BM, CRF (FTS), CS, CS (FTS), CS(SS), CTN, DC, EM(SW), EOD, ET(SS)RF, FC, FC (AEGIS), GM, GSE, GSM, HM (FTS), HT, IC, IT, IT (FTS), ITS, LN, LS (FTS), MA, MM(SS), MM(SS)W, MM(SW), MR, NC, NC(CR), OS, PR, PR (FTS), PS, QM, SB, SO, STG, STS, YN, YN (FTS).
Description: Some sailors can be automatically confirmed and re-up immediately, but some must apply.
The list: AWR, AME (FTS), AS (FTS), BM (FTS), CM, CTR, DC (FTS), EN, ET (FTS), ET(SW), HM, IS, LS, LS(SS), MC, MN, NC (FTS), ND, PS (FTS), SH, SW, UT, YN(SS).
The fine print: Re-up rules in these skill sets differ by year group, depending on manning levels. The Navy could not provide a breakdown of which year groups in which skill sets are eligible for immediate re-enlistment, and which ones require a sailor to apply to re-up and compete with others in his group.
Description: Overmanned ratings or those with special requirements. Eligible sailors must apply to re-enlist.
The list: AE (FTS), AG, AT (FTS), AWF (FTS), BU, CE, CTI (all), CTM, CTT, EA, ELT(NUC)(SS), ELT(NUC)(SW), EM (FTS), EM(NUC)(SS), EM(NUC)(SW), EO, ET(SS)NV, ET(NUC)(SS), ET(NUC)(SW), FT, MM(NUC)(SS), MM(NUC)(SW), MT, MU, RP.
If you are one of the roughly 47,000 sailors in or approaching your re-up window, the service has updated its listing of which sailors qualify for a coveted “automatic” re-up — and those who will still have to compete via a Perform to Serve-style system.
First, a recap. PTS, as it’s been known for the past decade, was laid to rest June 3. It was replaced with the Career Navigator program.
Under Career Navigator, no petty officers first class have to compete against their peers for re-enlistments. Neither do those E-5s and below who find themselves in undermanned or “open” skill sets.
According to the new list, released in August, 50 active-duty ratings and 11 full-time support ratings qualify for automatic re-enlistment under the new rules.
But what’s surprised some sailors is that some are still subject to similar rules as they faced under PTS.
Those sailors in overmanned ratings, now called “competitive,” must face a “rack-and-stack” ranking system. Twenty-one active and four FTS ratings fall into this category, according to the update.
There is a third category called “balanced” ratings. Only some of these sailors will have to be racked and stacked. It is dependent on year group, or the year you entered active service.
There are 16 active and seven FTS ratings in this balanced category.
The re-up process
For anyone wanting to re-enlist, your first step is getting your commanding officer’s approval.
It’s up to commands, officials say, to make sure their sailors are eligible. That means ensuring the sailor doesn’t have multiple fitness failures and bad evaluations, and does have promotion recommendations in the last two years.
Even under Career Navigator, all sailors E-6 and below with up to 14 years of service still have to apply to re-enlist through their career counselors. In the near term, these automatic re-ups will take 30 days to process and produce a written confirmation (a remnant of the old PTS system).
In June, officials promised to speed up the process, saying that it would soon become as easy as buying an airline ticket. Once this is in place, a qualified sailor would sit with his counselor, make the application online and print out the approval.
Officials expect this to be in place by the early part of fiscal 2014, which starts Oct. 1.
They’ve already reworked the mechanics for sailors in competitive and balanced ratings who still face racking and stacking. This process is called “3-2-1.”
While similar to PTS, the change allows sailors in overmanned skill sets to start applying to re-up one month earlier — 13 months before their end-of-service date. They will get a total of eight monthly chances in the system to pick up an active-duty quota. Under PTS, sailors only got six looks.
In addition, officials have reworked the formula used to rank sailors. Now, instead of the six factors used in the calculations under the old PTS system, there are only three: rank, performance evals and critical Navy enlisted classifications.
Sailors still only compete against peers in the same skill set and year group, regardless of rank.
Under the first four months of “3-2-1,” sailors compete monthly for active-duty quotas in their current ratings. They will know at least 10 months from the end of their contract whether they will be allowed to re-enlist in their rating.
Those who don’t pick up a quota receive four more monthly looks months to compete for a conversion quota into another rating. This lets them know, six months prior to the end of contract, if they are able to stay in the active component by converting to a new rating.
Those who still don’t get an active quota during those eight months will then have three more months to compete for a drilling reserve quota before leaving active duty.
Along with providing more chances to re-enlist, officials said in June they expect to help those sailors whose rotation dates overlap with their re-up windows.
That’s because the 13-month PTS window only gave sailors four months to try to re-up before they had to start contending with the nine-month countdown to rotation.