Navy personnel officials announced a raft of new incentives to get first-term sailors to extend their enlistments in the Forward Deployed Naval Forces home-ported in Japan, Guam and Spain.
The Navy has already asked the Department of Defense for permission to assign sailors to 48-month sea tours from the start, up from the 36 month tours allowed today.
Now, officials have released a message outlining an offering of perks designed to coax sailors already serving in sea billets overseas to to extend to 48-months and even beyond.
“Our goal is to reward those sailors who volunteer to extend to meet the demands from the fleet,” said Rear Adm. John Meier, director of the Career Management Department at Navy Personnel Command in a press release Wednesday.
“In addition to the incentives already in place, which remain options for sailors who meet extension criteria, these additional incentives should make it easier for sailors who make the decision to extend.”
According to the message, sailors who voluntarily extend their FDNF sea duty to at least 48 months will have any remaining sea time left on their prescribed sea tour waived. This means they will be allowed to rotate straight to shore duty for their next assigned tour instead of having to finish their remaining sea duty time at a U.S. based homeport command.
This is a good deal for sailors in 48 of the Navy’s 75 ratings whose sea duty tours are longer than four years, many of whom can shave off up to year of of required sea duty time.
For sailors whose extensions will keep them in their current overseas sea billet for at least 12 months or more, they will get what Navy personnel officials are calling “preferential consideration” when they pick their next set of orders.
Some sailors could also qualify for extra money.
Those E-5 through E-9 sailors in the 33 skills on the Sea Duty Incentive Pay chart have the option of applying for SDIP. Extension of 12- to 48-months can result in getting up to $1,000 per month for their extension. It’s paid in a lump sum up front once the extension is authorized and in effect.
Other sailors could qualify for the Overseas Tour Extension Incentive Program. Approved sailors can opt for monthly or lump sum payments or choose to take R&R leave benefits that can include free transportation back to the United States.
The same message also approved sailors E-3 and below to now bring their families with them on FDNF assignments provided their orders are to a location where dependents are authorized.
Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.