For the past year, in all hands calls and on social media, CNP and other leaders have heard concerns from Sailors, families and commands about our overseas screening process. Individual issues ranged from inconsistencies between different homeports, to the timeline and the effect on Sailors’ ability to plan a move.
COs and CMCs raised questions regarding what would happen when a Sailor or family didn’t screen; would the billet be suppressed, did the command have to start all over, would there be a manning gap?
In direct response to this feedback we convened an overseas screening working group that included representations from the fleet, DC, Millington, the medical world and overseas commands.
I know, to those of us who have served for many years, creating a working group sounds bureaucratic and not like something that would make life easier, I am happy to report that this is not the case.
The working group’s mission was to reduce manning gaps caused by overseas screening failures and most importantly–reduce the stress on Sailors and families.
The group recommended two immediate initiatives, which CNP approved and will be pushed via NAVADMIN in early August.
***To provide more lead time, a Sailor who is identified for an overseas billet will receive a “Letter of Intent” from Navy Personnel Command, authorizing the Sailor to immediately begin the overseas screening process to include applying for passports and visas.
We estimate this will give most Sailors a 90-day head start on overseas screening compared to current policy. It also means that overseas screenings will routinely be completed before orders are released.
Having more time allows for more flexibility to work out unforeseen issues and will greatly ease the burden on you and family.
***To keep the process moving and to prevent delays, Sailors must complete their overseas screening within 30 days of receiving the letter and families must complete screenings within 60 days.
If Sailors don’t complete their screenings within that window, they will automatically be reassigned to a needs-of-the-Navy billet INCONUS.
This may seem harsh, but setting this tripwire increases accountability for both the Sailor and the detaching command, and adds additional time to identify a suitable replacement. The TYCOM and ISIC will be added to the overseas screening notification process to further increase visibility/accountability for command leadership. However, knowing that delays are sometimes unavoidable, waiver requests will certainly be considered on a case by case basis.
I recognize that these changes don’t solve all of our issues, but based on your feedback, I believe they provide the needed time and accountability that the current process lacks. Our personnel team will continue to work with the Fleet and BUMED to further improve the process. We will share information as more changes are made–please continue to provide feedback.