The Navy Personnel Command (NPC) and Bureau of Naval Personnel 3 (BUPERS-3), both co-located in Millington, Tennessee, are separate organizations with unique missions both of which are critical entities in managing the Navy’s human resources. PERS 4412 within NPC, also known as NAVSUP Office of Personnel (OP), is responsible for detailing and setting policy that governs distribution and placement. BUPERS-3 is responsible for officer and enlisted community management for Active, Full Time Support (FTS) and Selective Reserve Components. Community Managers are the advocate for meeting the Navy’s personnel requirements. Their roles cover planning for accessions, promotions, advancements, retention, lateral transfer, training and force shaping for community health so the Navy has the necessary personnel with the correct skill sets and at the right pay grade. The Supply Corps Officer Community Manager (OCM) is the Supply Corps representative within BUPERS-31, Officer Community Management.
The OCM’s primary responsibility is managing the Supply Corps’ officer inventory and billet structure. Management of the Supply Corps community is driven by our Length of Service (LOS) chart. Items impacting the officer inventory are Officer Programmed Authorizations (OPA), current inventory, projected losses, and projected gains. OPA is funded and programmed billet authorizations by officer designator and grade. OPA is published twice annually (spring/fall) and includes current year and the next five years, also known at the Future Years Defense Plan (FYDP). A healthy community will have inventory aligned with OPA. The two most important aspects of ensuring a healthy community are accession and promotion planning.
Accessions are new officers that join the Supply Corps. The Supply Corps’ accession requirement is based on the number of officers required to meet second operational tour requirements while considering the retention rate for officers who remain through the second operational tour. The OCM works with the OPNAV N1 staff to determine the number of officers who will be received from the various accession sources to include Officer Candidate School (OCS), United States Naval Academy (USNA) and Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) programs. Due to financial constraints, the Navy cannot afford to meet every community’s accession requirement. The accession shortages are mitigated with redesignation of officers that fail to complete their initial Unrestricted Line (URL) training via the monthly Probationary Officer Continuation and Redesignation (POCR) board and officers selected at the semi-annual lateral transfer board. Once an annual accession plan is approved by OPNAV N1, the OCM will monitor the execution of the plan. Feedback is provided to OPNAV N1 to assist in formulating the next accession plan.
Promotion planning is the means to ensure the community has sufficient inventory in each pay grade. Promotions are a function of requirements, vacancies, and promotion limitations. The requirements are defined by the community’s OPA. Vacancies in each pay grade are generated by promotions, retirements, resignations, and lateral transfers. SECNAVINST 1420.1B outlines the limitations of promotion flow point and opportunity. Promotion flow point is the average years of service when an officer is promoted to the next grade. Opportunity is the in-zone “possibility” of selection. Flow point is a statutory limitation while opportunity is a policy limitation (i.e., flow point must be met while opportunity can be waived). The following are the promotion limitations:
To Grade Flow Point Variance Opportunity Variance
O4 10 years +/- 1 year 80 percent +/-10 percent
O5 16 years +/- 1 year 70 percent +/-10 percent
O6 22 years +/- 1 year 50 percent +/-10 percent
The key is to “promote to vacancy.” The number of selections are derived from the vacancy formula:
SELECTS = OPA - (STARTING INVENTORY- PROJECTED LOSSES)
The basic plan includes which officers are in zone for promotion and what the opportunity and flow point will be for the upcoming promotion selection boards. Zone sizes are determined by using promotion opportunity to control flow point. Low opportunity rate will increase zone size which in turns lowers flow point by bringing more junior officers into the zone. A healthy community will have flow point and opportunity at the center line values listed above. The promotion plan is projected out through the FYDP to ensure the community will remain within the promotion limitations.
Another key component that the OCM manages is ensuring the community has officers with the required skill sets. This is accomplished by maintaining a balanced billet pyramid and ensuring there are sufficient training opportunities available. While the individual commands generate the billet requirements based on the work load and level of responsibility required, the OCM monitors billet change requests to ensure billet pyramid remains balanced. The Supply Corps cannot “grow” a sufficient number of captains with significant contracting experience if there are not enough lieutenant through commander billets that provide contracting experience. The OCM also analyzes the inventory level of officers in each subspecialty to determine how many officers need to receive post-graduate education in each subspecialty, which in addition to experience, provides officers with the necessary skill set. The combination of having a balanced billet pyramid that provides the necessary experience in each subspecialty at each pay grade and having the correct number of post-graduate quotas to train officers ensures the Supply Corps meets the Navy’s personnel requirements.
Officer community management follows the same fundamentals of Supply Chain Management. Much like an inventory manager for a specific commodity, the OCM has to ensure there is a sufficient inventory of officers at the correct pay grade and skill set to meet the Navy’s requirements.
By Cmdr. David D. Carnal, SC, USN, Supply Corps Officer Community Manager, and Lt. Joe J. Tobias, SC, USN, Assistant Supply Corps Officer Community Manager