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Rate Conversion Options for the Day One Warfighter

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Tony

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ALNAVRESFOR 09/22 was released on February 22, 2022 and aims to support and retain the Reserve warfighter.  The message grants current SELRES NAVET Sailors the opportunity to apply for reversion to their prior-service rating.  In other words, Sailors who dropped out of compliance for their rating conversion may be able to revert to their prior rating.  The intent behind this policy is to allow motivated Sailors to continue service in the Navy Reserve despite their inability to attend training or complete their aforementioned rating requirements.  CNR needs our Reserve Sailors deployable and ready to fight. Reverting them into a rating that they have experience and proficiency with is an opportunity to retain talented deployable assets!

For our Navy Reserve Activities, Readiness Units, and Operational Units, take the time with your CCCs to determine how many Sailors are past 18 months in their conversion program who have not completed rate conversion requirements or who have yet to pass the exam.  If applicable, and interested, work with them revert to a rate where they can contribute to warfighting readiness and compete for advancement.  This recent opportunity will not be available in perpetuity but does offer a reprieve from the challenges of the last 24 months that may have impacted our Sailors’ ability to be ready on day one.

Background

In April of 2021, Commander, Navy Reserve Force, Vice Admiral Mustin, established guidance prioritizing mobilization readiness as a basis for Warfighting Readiness. COMNAVRESFORNOTE 3060 provides a supplemental policy that consolidated the common showstoppers for mobilization, particularly during a mass (distributed) activation scenario. It charged Reserve Unit leadership with tracking and reporting short notice mobilization requirements such as current Service members’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI), family care plan, uniforms, and more.

Many Sailors have tackled the requirements specified in COMNAVRESFORNOTE 3060 but are still not ready to mobilize.  These are the Sailors who agreed to a rating conversion as part of their affiliation into the Reserves but have yet to make their new rate “permanent”.

Enlisted Sailors affiliate with the Navy Reserve in one of three categories – fully trained, not previously trained, and partially trained.

Fully trained Sailors are those who transition seamlessly into the drilling Reserve from active component to Selected Reserve (AC2SELRES), or are recruited in-rate with only a slight break in participation in the Navy.  These Sailors arrive seamlessly on day one with the in-rate knowledge required to fight.

Not previously trained Sailors enter the Navy through Recruit Training Command – “boot camp” - as New Accession Trainees (NAT).  Their first several months in the Navy are spent in an initial active-duty training pipeline (i.e. boot camp, ‘A’ school, block learning, etc.) before reporting to their primary drill site for gain into the Selected Reserve (SELRES).  These Sailors arrive with the training and in-rate knowledge to fight as an immediate asset to their mobilization unit.

Partially trained Sailors are Navy Veterans (NAVET) and Other Service Veterans (OSVET) who wish to serve in a new capacity.  Sailors who affiliate under the Prior Service Re-enlistment Eligibility – Reserve (PRISE-R) program, or who are approved for an AC2SELRES rating conversion, are considered partially trained.  In January of this year, there were 801 partially trained Sailors in the Navy Reserve.  These Sailors know the military, and are certainly enthusiastic warfighters, but lack the apprentice or journeyman level of expertise of their new rate.

As part of their affiliation, these members sign an agreement to meet specific requirements for their new rating to become “permanent.” This may consist of block learning via ‘A’ or ‘C’ schools, but at a minimum, requires passing the Navy-wide Advancement Exam (NWAE).  As an aside, most information warfare communities (IWC) also require an interim Top-Secret clearance in order to attend required training.

Specific requirements for conversion to a new rating must be met within 18 months of gain to the SELRES.  Partially trained Sailors are not considered deployable until these requirements are met and subsequently cannot mobilize.  Additionally, E4-E6 Sailors under a conversion program cannot compete for advancement until they have made their rating permanent.  Many partially trained Sailors fall out of program compliance by not meeting the deadline to make their rate permanent.  Though extensions are possible through a waiver, they are not ideal for supporting warfighting readiness.  Priority one on day one is warfighting readiness.

COVID-19, travel restrictions, delays in application for clearance investigations, and training backlogs have all created challenges for Sailors to complete rate conversion requirements. Warfighting readiness starts with in-rate knowledge, and much like the items listed in COMNAVRESFORNOTE 3060, in-rate knowledge is in fact a showstopper to mobilize.  We know CNR’s fighting instructions.  We have our mobilization requirements.  Successful conversion to a new rate supports both. If you are a partially trained Sailor, work with your CCC and your chain of command immediately to chart a path forward to mobilization readiness.

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