The Navy has released a timeline for its Enlisted Rating Modernization plan, which led to widespread confusion about how it would be implemented, emphasizing that changes will be phased in gradually over a number of years.
“While there is rarely a right or perfect time to roll out a plan as significant and ambitious as this rating modernization effort, I firmly believe this change needs to occur, and now is the right time to do so,” Vice Adm. Robert Burke, chief of Naval Personnel, said in a statement Sunday.
The Navy’s plan to implement these changes is a six-phase approach. Since it announced the changes late last month, the Navy has begun to implement phase one, which includes identifying cross-community occupation opportunities, career field groupings and developing links to civilian career fields.
Phase two, which sees drastic changes to the Navy’s business practices, will include reviews of and revisions to the Navy’s advancement system, recruiting, and pay processes. That phase will run through 2018.
Other changes will be reflected through updated policies and instructions, IT solutions and updated uniform insignia.
“The Navy’s working group on this project will be significantly expanded in the coming months to ensure you [sailors] have a voice,” a Navy statement said. “While we have a good path forward, it will take several years to make all the changes to policies and IT systems that currently rely on rating titles and support the way the Navy does business today.”
The Navy’s recent decision to abandon its enlisted ratings system is unpopular with many sailors who feel the changes disregard centuries of the service’s history. An internet petition posted to whitehouse.gov demanding the return of the traditional rating system had more than 74,000 signatures as of Monday.
The new system groups enlisted sailors into broad occupational specialties, similar to the Army and Marine Corps’ military occupational specialties and the Air Force’s Air Force Specialty Code systems.
Enlisted sailors will also be addressed only by their attained military rank, similar to how servicemembers in the other military branches are recognized.
Sailors in paygrades E-1 through E-3 will be addressed as seaman. Those in pay grades E-4 through E-6 will be called petty officer 3rd class, 2nd class and 1st class, respectively. Sailors in the senior enlisted pay grades of E-7 through E-9 will be addressed as chief, senior chief or master chief.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus had ordered the review of Navy titles in January as part of the plan to open all positions to women.
Stars and Stripes reporter Chris Church contributed to this report.
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A 40-foot-tall (12 meters) cross-shaped war memorial standing on public land in Maryland does not constitute government endorsement of religion, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday in a decision that leaves unanswered questions about the boundaries of the U.S. Constitution's separation of church and state.
The justices were divided on many of the legal issues but the vote was 7-2 to overturn a lower court ruling that had declared the so-called Peace Cross in Bladensburg unconstitutional in a legal challenge mounted by the American Humanist Association, a group that advocates for secular governance. The concrete cross was erected in 1925 as a memorial to troops killed in World War One.
The ruling made it clear that a long-standing monument in the shape of a Christian cross on public land was permissible but the justices were divided over whether other types of religious displays and symbols on government property would be allowed. Those issues are likely to come before the court in future cases.