I have been your OCM for the past two months and the first thing I can state is how fortunate we have been to have had CAPT Bill Johnson leading our community for the last three years. There is no playbook or course on how to be an OCM so you have to be ready to instantly jump into high gear and prepare to provide the right answers during briefings to high ranking officials because you may not get a second chance and if you do it will be at the cost of lots of lost time. CAPT Johnson made this difficult task look easy and he fought the tough battles to keep our community prospering and for that we owe him our gratitude.
I recently reached out to our senior leaders (CAPT and CWO5) and gave them my initial thoughts as your new OCM. Here is the shorter version of those letters.
“The LDO/CWO Community is in great shape and we are “RELEVANT” to our line communities. We are very healthy across most of our designators. Our overall manning is 3617 LDOs at 101% and 1711 CWOs at 94% manned. Those are solid numbers! One of the first things I asked when I checked onboard is, “what makes a designator healthy”. You need 72 billets for LDOs and 25 billets for CWOs in order to be able to sporadically make a CAPT and CWO5. The more billets in a designator the more steady state promotions become. Our goal is to have healthy designators across the board and maintain our billet structure as relevant (the right designator and paygrade as required) as we look for opportunities to build new billets.
The thing that amazes me is how long it takes to actually enact change. A good example is our recent win on the initiative that was started seven years ago to establish an Acoustic Warrant Officer Designator in support of the IUSS Community. Starting this upcoming FY we will be accessing four 7280 (this is the former Submarine Electronics designator) applicants to fill these 25 new billets.
The big upcoming change/goal in our community is the way we are proposing to promote in FY21 that has gotten the most attention, the Revised Competitive category (RCC) promotion plan or as most ofus know it, promote by Enterprise. I was a detailer in 2008 when this initiative was first discussed and I was against it from the start. Why would I want to change a system that benefits me? My designator has always promoted well against others. Does that keep the community relevant? The answer is and has always been no. With RCC, our chances of getting the right LDO/CWO designator selected are exponentially higher with equal and in some cases better individual opportunity. When you do the math, the picture is much clearer than what I can articulate. Overall, this change will make us more “RELEVANT” and provide better support to our line communities with the right paygrade in the right designator. NAVADMIN 157/17 has been released changing LDO and CWO Officer Summary Groups on 1 Oct 2017, to reflect the five (Aviation, Surface, NUC/Sub, General line/staff and IWC) proposed promotion categories.