So What Changed In 19 Months?
A short story on the Navy NewsStand website reminding officers that they need to get their official photographs in to NPC by Sept. 30 made me wonder when they had gotten rid of the requirement to have a photograph on file. I did some research, and discovered a little drama I'll call "A Tale of Two NAVADMINS":
It was the jest of times, it was the reversed of times. Back in September 2005, the then-Chief of Naval Personnel, VADM Gerald Hoewing, released NAVADMIN 224/05, which eliminated the 20th century requirement that all officer service records kept in D.C. have a relatively current full-length photo, thusly:
After careful review, it has been determined that the requirement to maintain an official photograph in the Officer Military Personnel File is no longer necessary, as adherence to physical standards is commented upon fitness reports and technology permits rapid transmission of officer photographs when needed. In addition, elimination of the requirement to maintain a photograph in the official service record will help streamline and modernize record management.This actually makes sense. It's the 21st century, and while they didn't say it, it eliminated the questions that might have existed if someone didn't get promoted because they "looked different" (read -- "ethnic") when the picture was put up on the screen during promotion boards.
Apparently, this didn't work out for some reason, because a short 19 months later, the new CNP sent out a new NAVADMIN (103/07 for those keeping score at home). It said:
This NAVADMIN announces the reinstatement of the requirement for officer photographs in the official military personnel file (OMPF) maintained on the electronic military personnel records system (EMPRS) and cancels Ref A. This initiative will reemphasize the integral elements of military bearing and physical fitness to service professionalism. This policy will align military bearing, physical fitness/appearance and overall service professionalism within DON.So what happened? Did the original NAVADMIN misalign military bearing and overall service professionalism within DON? Or, is it more likely that the new CNP, as a prelude to his highly anticipated "Required official PT Uniforms aren't completely lame at all" initiative, decided to return the Navy to its 21st century Core Value of "The way to win the War on Terror is not to be smarter, but to look better in uniform than the terrorists"? Way to go, Shore Warriors! You might have screwed the pooch when it came to taking care of Individual Augmentees, but at least the people still in the Navy will look good before they get promoted or retained!