By Rear Adm. John Nowell
Director of Military Personnel, Plans and Policies
Rating Modernization is the future of the growing workforce in the Navy. In August, we released NAVADMIN 196/18 that provided an update on those four lines of effort and this is the second of a total of five blog posts that will talk about the updates to Rating Modernization. We also have a series of six Rating Modernization podcasts that mirror the blogs we will be sharing with you.
The alignment of Navy ratings into 23 career fields and 12 broad communities has provided a foundation for future development of more flexible and sustainable career paths for Sailors.
As we transfer to Block Learning, the Navy has revised the Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) construct that organizes NECs according to their career fields. In October 2017 as well as March and June of 2018, three groups of over 850 NECs were successfully converted to a new construct.
Moving forward, the Rating Modernization working group will complete the commonality matrix, which links similar ratings and job codes. This matrix is a tool that will provide the ability to analyze similarities across ratings, skill sets, training curricula, credentials and other relevant factors. This capability will help both Sailors and Navy leadership identify opportunities for improving the transparency, flexibility and sustainability of enlisted career paths.
Within the career fields line of effort, we are providing Sailors with more choices, flexibility and transparency with career decisions. We broadened career fields by linking together ratings with similar skills to eventually allow Sailors to move laterally in a way they have never been able to before. This is a win-win situation. The Sailor has greater choices and transparency in negotiating for orders, ability to influence training and increase their promotion opportunities. And, all of this affords the Navy greater flexibility in assigning those highly-trained and talented personnel to critical billets. Not only will these changes improve our personnel and billet management processes to assign the right individual to the right job, but it will ultimately provide us the ability to train and repurpose elements of our force to meet a rapidly changing world.
A new way we are delivering training to Sailors in order to improve learning, reduce knowledge atrophy and provide training at the point and location of need is called Ready Relevant Learning. Under this new construct, Sailors will be given training in “blocks” rather than all at once upon entering the Navy. So, a Sailor who decides to move between career fields may have the need for additional training required to succeed in that field. The “gap” in knowledge in the new rating will be mitigated by blocks of learning.
The revised NEC construct is made up of four alpha-numeric characters which are organized into the 12 communities and 23 career fields. This new construct provides a foundation for wider career development opportunities in combination with other Rating Modernization and Sailor 2025 initiatives. The first digit of the new NEC code will be based on a Sailor’s community and identify the individual’s respective career field. The second and third digits will be unique alpha-numeric identifiers developed by the Navy Manpower Analysis Center. The fourth digit will represent how many blocks of training remain for a Sailor, or if the NEC code is not yet part of blocked training. Sailors will also see the further modernization of NEC structures to reflect levels of proficiency and experience associated with a particular skill.
A new assessment tool under development is the Commonality Matrix. The Commonality Matrix will help Sailors, career counselors, and decision makers have a better understanding for the expected knowledge, overlapping skill sets, and shared training requirements among various ratings, billets and jobs. The Commonality Matrix is an enormously important tool to the Rating Modernization lines of effort and is aimed at improving career flexibility, assignment transparency, and greater opportunities for training and credentialing. At its core, the Navy is taking a data-driven approach to make clearer the extent of the commonality of work that Sailors are performing today. When we have a clearer understanding of the work requirements, we can design better career paths.
Don’t forget to check out our podcasts! We have a series of six Rating Modernization podcasts that accompany this blog series.
Editor’s note: Sailor 2025 is the Navy’s program to more effectively recruit, develop, manage, reward and retain the force of tomorrow. It consists of approximately 45 living, breathing initiatives and is built on a framework of three pillars – a modern personnel system, a career learning continuum and career readiness.