Damn I hate being right.
Remember last week when I spelled out the Navy’s way to stop bleeding people:
From last weeks post
- Not kicking people out for physical fitness test failures
- Waiving darn near everything, from age to non-violent felonies
- Asking people to pretty-please stay around a few more years
- Opening OCS and other admissions
- Raising bonuses
- Make life better for officers
- Reduce opportunities to leave early
- Op-Hold people
I said the Navy was already doing items 1 through 5. Item 6 won’t happen because the Navy doesn’t actually care about its Sailors. So…we’re now on item 7. From NAVADMIN 064/23:
4. SkillBridge is intended to provide transition assistance and skill development for Service members leaving the Navy. However, it is not an entitlement and participation does impact readiness. As such, the time allowed for program participation is now based on paygrade. If approved, SkillBridge must occur prior to any terminal leave or permissive temporary duty associated with separation, fleet reserve, or retirement. The following limits indicate the maximum amount of time prior to the actual separation, fleet reserve, or retirement date that SkillBridge participation can commence. a. Tier one (enlisted E5 and below) - 180 days or less. b. Tier two (enlisted E6-E9) - 120 days or less. c. Tier three (officers O4 and below) - 120 days or less. d. Tier four (officers O5 and above) - 90 days or less.
In case you don’t know, SkillBridge is a program where military members that are retiring or separating get to spend the last 90-180 days being trained in a civilian job before retirement. This helps military members get a jump on gaining practical skills before transitioning to civilian life. It happens at the end of their service, so theoretically they are already one foot out the door, and the Navy should already be planning to replace them.
As I pointed out before, plenty of Sailors have been denied SkillBridge because the command “can’t afford to lose them.” This is very prevalent at the junior enlisted levels. Now Navy is cutting the benefit for anyone that is retiring (it’s nearly impossible to retire below the rank of E6), and since junior Sailors already struggle to use SkillBridge, the end result is more erosion of the benefit.
I give it 6 months before Navy just starts OPHOLDing people. An Operational Hold (OPHOLD) is permitted in MILPERSMAN 1306-120. Basically, the Navy can keep a Sailor on sea duty for up to 12 months. I’ve seen this happen, and in general, it’s almost always a bad idea. The big problem is that while the Navy can force you to STAY, it can’t force you to WORK, so Sailors on OPHOLD simply do the bare minimum and the command doesn’t get the hard-working Sailor they once had. I’ve told at least one knucklehead in HR that “Your OPHOLD is only good until the Sailor says they are going to hurt themselves,” because saying you will commit suicide is the quickest way off sea duty.
Denying SkillBridge won’t work. You can’t make people work. Workers have to want to work, and unless they are motivated or fear punishment, you can’t make them work. By denying SkillBridge, all that will happen is people will purposely do less work in the time they should have been on SkillBridge. Anyone retiring was ALREADY not doing that much, SkillBridge simply recognized that and let them go early. A better option would have been to declare that SkillBridge participants have vacated their billet, so you can get a replacement in sooner. Denying SkillBridge is also a recruiting loser, because as the word gets out that Navy won’t actually uphold SkillBridge, fewer people will sign up to be in the Navy.
I continue to hate being right.
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