The Navy is introducing a time-in-service advancement model for junior enlisted sailors that will promote sailors to E-4 after 30 months in the Navy.

The policy change, known as Apprentice Advancement Alignment, aims to facilitate billet-based advancement in the fleet and allow sailors to know exactly when they’ll make E-4.

“Apprenticeship Advancement Alignment opens up options for junior sailors,” Fleet Master Chief for Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education Delbert Terrell told reporters Thursday. “Now they know that they will advance to a petty officer third class at 30 months of service, and will be eligible for the Detailing Marketplace Assignment policy.”

The Detailing Marketplace Assignment policy attempts to reduce gaps at sea by allowing sailors who volunteer to extend their sea tour up to $800 extra each month if they sign on to another three-year journeyman sea tour as an E-5.

Under the Apprenticeship Advancement Alignment policy, sailors promote to E-2 after nine months in service; E-3 after 18 months in service; and E-4 after 30 months in service.

“Sailors must maintain a CO’s retention recommendation and meet the [time-in-service] to advance,” a Navy fact sheet on the policy said.

Meritorious advancement opportunities still exist under the new policy for E-3 sailors with proper experience to promote to E-4, based on their commanding officer’s recommendation.

“This new policy does not include nuclear, advanced technical, and electronic field sailors who already obligate for additional service in order to advance to E-4,” a naval administrative message said. “Those sailors will continue to receive an accelerated advancement for service.”

The Navy will phase in the new policy, the message said, meaning the fall advancement cycle “calculations via Alternative Final Multiple Score (A-FMS) will be heavily weighted towards [time-in-service], with quotas greatly increased for historically slow-advancing rates.”

The Navy said no spring 2024 advancement cycle will occur. Instead, all advancements for those between the ranks of E-1 and E-4 will happen through the time-in-service policy by July 1, 2024.

“On July 1, 2024, all sailors who have not reached the [time-in-service] for their next rank will be enrolled in the program automatically,” a Navy fact sheet said. “Sailors who are over the 30 month [time-in-service] mark will be phased in over the course of 2024.”

Terrell noted that other service branches use this time-in-service model as well, which served as examples while the Navy structured its own advancement process.

The policy is one of several the Navy has introduced in recent years to foster billet-based advancement. The service announced the Detailing Marketplace Assignment policy in December 2021 to gradually replace Sea Shore Flow, which stipulated that sea tours were a maximum of five years and allowed sailors the option to extend.

But the Navy found that set up caused gaps at sea, prompted issues with implementing circadian rhythm watch bills, degraded materiel readiness and limited training times.

This spring, the Navy unveiled the Senior Enlisted Marketplace Screening Board, which conducts screenings of board-eligible E-8s who, if selected, gain access to the marketplace to apply for a qualified billet.

They then have 24 months to enter one of 10 of the MyNavy Assignment cycles and apply for a list of jobs that match their ratings.

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