By Vice Adm. Bill Moran
Chief of Naval Personnel
Fleet Beldo and I just wrapped up a three-day visit to Millington where we met with almost 1,500 Sailors and civilians. Again on this trip we heard concerns from our folks about possible changes to pay and benefits, specifically questions about Navy’s tuition assistance (TA) program.
Want to reassure you, as I did our Shipmates in Millington, that TA is not going to be touched or changed anytime soon.
Navy leadership is committed to providing the opportunity to develop you personally and professionally through our Navy voluntary education programs. TA isn’t going anywhere and we don’t plan to cut it.
Two policy decisions recently crossed my desk underscore leadership’s commitment to TA, to do what’s right…to get to yes.
-First, last week we announced that we would reimburse Sailors whose TA voucher requests were held up during the October government shutdown. When we learned that some of our Shipmates had elected to spend their own money on classes they believed would be covered under their approved education plan, along with Department of Defense TA officials, we sought an exception to the policy that prevents retroactive payment. While it’s important that this exception to policy not become the new norm, it was needed to keep our Sailors from being penalized for what was clearly an extraordinary situation and not their fault.
-Second, this week we began authorizing early command-approved TA requests for classes that have a start date in the second quarter of fiscal year 2014. The second quarter of each fiscal year historically has the highest demand for TA funding. This temporary change to authorize TA in December for classes that begin between Jan. 1 and March 31 will allow as many Sailors as possible to use TA while funding is available. Normally we only authorize TA requests in the quarter that a class begins. We will look closely at how well the early authorization is utilized and how well you like the idea. If feedback is positive, we will look to do it again in the future.
TA is an example of a good investment in our Sailors, one that helps our folks become better thinkers, better performers and ultimately, better shipmates.
The opportunity to advance personal education goals, balanced with growing professional knowledge and expertise is why many of our Sailors join the Navy, and its why TA is of shared importance to our Sailors and to leadership.
Bottom-line: TA is safe.
Fleet Beldo and I will continue to use all hands calls and this blog to address your questions and to “myth-bust” as needed.
Keep sending along your feedback and questions and we’ll see you around the Fleet.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,