Competition amongst members of the military is always high. Sailors who want to pursue a career in the military know this better than anyone else. However, as the years come to pass and the military becomes more selective about who can serve so do their requirements for who can stay. Performance evaluations are the preferred method of selecting candidates for this dichotomy. But, unfortunately, as with many other guidelines, sailors have figured out the ways to play the system in their favor. Maximizing their chances of staying in the military, yet sacrificing others around them, military members are not exempt from the infamous rat race.
Back in the old days, the military evaluation system was apparently simpler. Chiefs and multiple members of higher rank have always made it clear, old evaluations were dependent on the job performance of the sailor. If the sailor was a team player, did his job correctly and became a subject matter expert in his duties they would rank higher than others. Efforts were rewarded as needed and plenty of sailors earned Navy Achievement Medals (NAM) for it. During those days the focus was always doing the job as well as possible. However, recently the focus of evaluations eventually shifted towards other criteria, and not all of these involve job performance.
The program is called the 21st Century Sailor, and it was intended to separate those sailors who wanted to succeed from the rest. The leadership knew there would be growing pains, but unfortunately, it led to quite a division amongst sailors. Competition became stiffer and no longer was performing the job the primary determining factor on the ranking boards, but how many checks in the blocks could be reached. The problem is that if the person reaches each block even minimally, they still qualify for a great evaluation even if everyone in the chain of command understood they aren’t the best choice.
By that same token, sailors broke into further groups, one group who were willing to play the game, and a separate one which had a preference for the older system. The former group became the dominant force in the Navy, actively succeeding in all their endeavors because they do college, command collateral duties (that involve taking time away from their jobs), community service, being qualified in skills they don’t actively utilize, and basically playing politics with people in the unit. This group receives criticism by simply treating every aspect of the service as a checkmark another milestone to hit without any genuine interest in their deeds.
The latter group of sailors, however, is more inclined towards pure job performance. Why should it matter if they manage to do community service when it actively doesn’t help the mission? What’s the point of being qualified if I’m never going to require that particular qualification? This particular group justifies their opinion by putting the mission first and foremost deciding that job performance is the only aspect that should matter. Yet, their chain criticizes them for being lazy and selfish. It’s a flawed system, but so far it’s the only one available at the moment.
The new Chief of Naval Operations is actively trying to work on fixing this system. He’s trying to revamp a system that has since long become flawed. But, there will be growing pains, as with any new program implementation the sailors who’ve become used to gaming the system will have to adjust. It’s all part of the ever-evolving military tradition, a living, breathing organization filled with the hopes and dreams of young people everywhere.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.