Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I Like This Initiative

How would you feel about taking a 1 to 3 year break in the middle of your Navy career to raise your kids, take care of a sick parent, or just wake up / eat a coffee cake / take bath / take nap? If that sounds like something that might appeal to you, and you're still on active duty, you have until May 1st to apply for the Career Intermission Pilot Program (CIPP). From an article on the Navy NewsStand:
Sailors can now take a break from active Navy service, courtesy of the new Career Intermission Pilot Program (CIPP).
Approved in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 National Defense Authorization Act, the CIPP offers a temporary inactivation from active duty - from one to three years - for top performing Sailors. The Navy is optimistic that this measure will enhance retention in critical skill sets, while allowing greater flexibility in career paths of service members...
...The pilot program provides an opportunity for up to 20 officers and 20 enlisted participants each year in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. The CIPP will provide a one-time temporary transition for active-duty personnel to the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). Participants will retain full active-duty Tricare health benefits for themselves and their dependents and receive a monthly stipend of one-fifteenth of their basic pay. To ease the transition, members may elect a Navy-funded permanent change of station move to anywhere in the continental United States when entering the program...
...All program participants will return to active duty at the end of the period prescribed and will incur a two-to-one service obligation for every month in the program (served in addition to any previously existing obligation). Time spent in the IRR will not count toward retirement, computation of total years of commissioned service, or high-year tenure limitations.
The break in service excludes participants from promotion consideration. Upon returning to active duty, officers will have their date of rank adjusted, and enlisted members will have their active duty service date adjusted in order to be competitive with others of similar time in grade on active duty...
...The 'menu of options' includes ideas such as part-time work for part-time pay, more interchange between active and Reserve status and other flexible work options such as telework and compressed work schedules.
Application packages are due to Pers-4 by May 1. Selectees and alternates will be announced by the end of June. Full pilot program details can be found in OPNAVINST 1330.2, and the instruction, NAVADMIN and related information are available on the Task Force Life/Work Web site at
The OPNAV instruction can be found here. Personally, I think this is a great program. Are you a supervisor wondering how he can get rid of one of his "10/90" guys? (10/90 guys = the 10% of the Sailors who take up 90% of the command's time in administrative / disciplinary headaches.) Have you heard that the new COB / XO / CO who's about to show up at your command is a real jerk? It looks to me like this program would solve both those problems!

When we were still on active duty, my wife came up with an idea for a pilot program whereby a Sailor (or, more specifically, a submarine officer who had served two newcon Eng tours) would be allowed to stay at home all the time but still get paid -- as an experiment to see how it would affect said Sailor's morale. Except for the "pay" part, this sounds like it's pretty much the same thing. Let me know if the comments if you'd be interested in signing up.


Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Tim Ricks had this in his blog a couple weeks ago. My comments there reposted:

"The year many of the most promising serving O-5s and O-6s — all Services — spend in senior service college functions as a sabbatical. The problem faced by up-and-comers is the opportunity cost of taking time out of the already crammed pipeline to flag rank. Senior service college is accepted by the Services as a net plus for a career. I fear that selection boards would see time off for other pursuits as net minus.

For more junior officers, this might prove less costly, but even already sanctioned tours such as post-graduate school can sometimes extract a promotion price.

And 20 officers a year is pretty close to tokenism. Good to see at least one Service experimenting this way, but I suspect that this program will be of little impact or duration."

4/18/2009 6:09 PM

Anonymous SJV said...

Purpose: "enhance retention in critical skills sets". I'll go back to my years ago definition of retention. "The holding within of matter normally excreeted".

Dollars to donuts the individuals in such a program would find more lucrative jobs on the outside of the service and just not come back.

For those married guys, take this as a chance to remind your wives that you know how incredibly difficult being the wife of a submariner is. I have four kids now, and there is no way I can imagine my wife being able to take being alone for two to six months at a shot. All you sub wives our there have the utmost respect from this six year and out former single guy.

4/18/2009 9:23 PM

Anonymous Hampton Plankowner said...

Like all the programs i here that sound good they always seem to have small print that excludes the nukes, glad im a house painter now and do not have to worry about the nuke stuff.

4/18/2009 10:14 PM

Anonymous Hampton Plankowner said...

Damn i need to proof read my post before i publish them

4/18/2009 10:15 PM

Blogger Chap said...

It used to be more common (IIRC) that submarine officers would spend some time out of the Nav then come back in; not as an official thing, mind you, just getting out and getting back in.

I know of only one guy at my rank now in the sub force like that. He would have benefited from this program, but in the event it didn't matter. The time in career he took his break was one that made him valuable to come back in (DH), so the powers that be made it easier to get another body into the boat.

As for me, the timing is wrong. It would have come in handy a few years back, I think; good time to work on other things. If I wasn't so senior I'd use it to go get my PhD on the new GI Bill. As it is I have some work to do and can do the school thing later.

4/18/2009 10:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Twenty a year isn't going to change the way we do business. I think this is just a formal way of letting some of the special circumstances cases who really do want to stay in for a career a chance to take care of some short-term things without having to switch careers.

I'm sure it does make for a nice retention talking point though...


4/18/2009 10:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This idea must have come from the uniform board that developed the New Navy Working Uniform.

What are these people going to live on?? 1/15th of their base pay? They gonna go on welfare?? Can they stay in Navy housing? Can they get a job?? California is at over 11 percent unemploymet for Gods sake. How about if your in a critical billet?

Reprise Elmo Zumwalt--lets try and make everybody feel good about the Navy... Be a man!! If your career, go to sea, do your time, do your best, compete!! Otherwise, join the Air
Force and you can have all that other stuff..

My two cents and keep a zero bubble.......


4/18/2009 11:36 PM

Anonymous Veemann said...

Overall, this program doesn't make a lot of sense to me. It seems out of phase with the current economy. May have been a good idea 5-7 years ago, but not now.

Promotion boards are directed to give favorable consideration to IAs and are reminded that the candidates may have missed a career milestone by virtue of that IA. Given that, I can't see these folks getting a fair shake in a future promotion board.

I'd also be concerned that a near-complete disconnect will require significantly more re-training particularly in the aviation and nuclear communities. Perhaps one or several communities are excluded from this program.

4/19/2009 7:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a baby-first (March 2008 exam) aspiring to be a Chief, I don't agree with this, because in a sense, it de-militarizes people. I think civilian life should be left to civilians, and military life should be left to us active-duty and retired military members. True, I can learn some great lessons in leadership and otherwise from civilians, but I feel that taking a sabbatical from my military duties would pull me too far away from my job, and what's important as far as leading the troops, military-wise. I just took 2 weeks off the job to go to a school, and I went back to my normal job to realize that I'd gotten a little rusty. Imagine taking 2 or 3 years off. This is just my opinion, but i think that 20 years in the military should be 20 years in the military, regardless. If you want to live a civilian life, get out and go be a civilian. It sounds great on paper, but I don't think the long-term effects are worth it. As I stated before, I think it breaks even the most basic military principles and bearing that we carry with us every day, even as submariners.

4/19/2009 8:48 AM

Blogger Chap said...

@TMC(SS): I think the idea, if it's anything like the guys who've done this before that I've met, is to take a job somewhere. If I were interested in this, which I ain't, I'd either accept one of those job offers that occasionally drop by, or take the new GI bill and get the classwork for the PhD done. You know, that kind of stuff. That's my guess.

@anon 848: You remind me of the George Washington quote: "When we assumed the soldier, we did not set aside the citizen." Alternatively, you're denying the value of the entire National Guard. I think you miss the point.

@Veemann: It depends, really. Some IAs are hot runners who get put there for a li'l shining up. And all the IAs are doing great work in a hard place. However, the precepts for the boards don't have any hard numbers attached to the admonition and don't weigh as much as other considerations. Too many IAs I saw a few years back are guys who get told it's a get well tour. Then they fail to make the next board or screening. (They tell me it mostly changed but I've seen too many counterexamples).

4/19/2009 8:59 AM

Blogger kwicslvr said...

This could of very well of kept me in the navy if they were doing this when I was in. Though I agree with a poster earlier. I'm sure nukes would be excluded as always.

4/19/2009 12:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I'd say this program is specifically targeted at female officer surface nukes. Some of the top talent in the surface nuke officer corps is female, and if you look at where these women are age-wise they are compelled to make a difficult decision between family and work in many instances.

I'd also tender the argument that for the most part the program is a non-starter for sub nuke officers with a couple exceptions...Specifically, there are certain year groups where we can't beg, steal or borrow enough officers so that we can get competent folks into XO/CO billets (i.e. '97 and down the line '02 it looks like). We are breaking/ firing DH's at a good clip (or they fail open/quit of their own accord), and I'm willing to bet SUBFOR would be more than willing to take people back into those undermanned YG's just to get competent folks into command positions on the boats. Preference would probably be given to folks who stayed in the Reserves as 1125, but ultimately as long as we keep running our boats aground/into other ships/into piers, buoys, ice etc. there will be a net outflow of DH-level and XO-level folks who will not screen XO/XOSS, and CO/COSS. Hence we are saddled with a talent and experience gap that can only be filled by:
1. Later/earlier YG's
2. Folks plucked from Reserves/Civ world

Just my $.02

4/19/2009 5:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

40 people a year out of the 340,000 who are in the Navy. What a drop in the bucket. That’s not even a drop. It’s a dr.
How ridiculous.
And I also agree that it would be hard to come back after taking the time off.
Our Boy Scout Troop did four-day trip kayaking down the Colorado River from Blyth to Yuma and there was an established campground on night two. We didn’t allow the parents to meet the troop on night two because the first year we did that, half the scouts quit. It’s on a smaller, different scale but it is hard to go back after you had a chance to stop for a while.

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa

4/19/2009 5:59 PM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

I was pretty much going to say what the anon DBFTMC(SS)said. I disagree with this program.

What happens if the enlisted or officer returns to active duty 100 lbs heavier than they were when they signed up for IRR?

4/19/2009 7:41 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

"What happens if the enlisted or officer returns to active duty 100 lbs heavier than they were when they signed up for IRR?"

Dunno. Will distort the cammy pattern in new unis and render the wearer visible?

4/20/2009 6:25 AM

Blogger tennvol said...

Seems like it would only benefit those who have the resources to go to school full time. Who would hire someone knowing they will go away in 1-3 years? I sure wouldn't.

4/20/2009 7:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

$221.50 /mo. That's what I'd get. The only thing I see this program really useful for is to take a break and use your GI Bill to finish a degree and then some back in.

OPNAV 1330.2 covers the program. Looks like if for whatever reason you can't go back on active duty the Navy can come after you for costs incurred (pay, PCS costs, medical benefits used, etc.)

4/20/2009 8:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few thoughts:
there will always be another 10/90 guy waiting in the wings. There will always be another crappy CO/XO/COB when you return. Some may come back 100lbs bigger, I personally lost 40 lbs when I left active duty for the Reserve.
This would be a good program for a guy with a plan (such as college)and a bad program for a guy with no plan. Coming back sucks after getting a civ job; it changes you.


4/20/2009 9:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Think about it this way:

It is a money saver for the Navy in the long run. There are a ton of people doing their 20 years and transferring to fleet reserve. With the average life expectancy of 70 (not sure if that is correct), it means the Navy is paying them a paycheck for roughly 30 years if they joined when they were 19-20.

If you give them a break while they are young and only pay them %15, the Navy will profit in the long run by not having to pay their retirement pay for 3 years at the end. It statistically moves the average age of retirement out 3 years in this case.

They would not offer this program if it was not financially in the best interest of the Navy. Kind of like the REDUX program.

4/20/2009 1:27 PM

Anonymous Jay said...

Geez Folks,

It is a *Pilot* program. That is why the participant numbers are so low.

I like the idea, it remains to be seen how it is executed.

I think it would be of great benefit to some folks.

I doubt it will be used to get rid of the "10 percenters", I suspect the board (or whatever screening process for this program turns out to be...) will be looking at it as both benefitting the Navy & the individual (with the intent that the individual returns at the end of the sabbatical).

There are other ways to deal with your 10 percenters -- to encourage them to find employment elsewhere.

Army logistics folks do something similar (though I don't know the details of the program) where they send some Os to work in related civilian industry for a year. Civvy clothes, with their Army paycheck (I think). They often come back with some cutting edge ideas. I don't know numbers (how many go, how they are selected, how long the selectees stay with Army after returning, etc.)

However, the more tools you have to help your good people, the better you (and they) are.

4/20/2009 1:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where was this program when you were in Point Loma working for Fast Eddie???

4/20/2009 1:51 PM

Anonymous Jeff Lee said...

There's no way I would take advantage of this initiative, since I'm not staying in the Navy anyway. But I can't see a lot of other people doing it either. If you love the Navy, chances are that you won't want to be apart from it for three years. If you don't love the Navy, you won't want to get a taste of civilian life only to find that you've bought yourself another six years of service.

I can only see one group of people who would do this kind of thing: The confused.

4/20/2009 5:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on the money Jeff-Lee!!

Keep a zero bubble...........


4/20/2009 8:52 PM

Blogger MM1/SS said...

this initiative seems a bit...stupid

I cannot see how this would be helpful in any way towards a Sailor on a 20 yr Career track.

If anything, it seems harmful to said sailor.

I know the Navy is getting desperate to keep key performers, but there are other more viable methods.

This seems to be another poorly thought out plan that some Admiral jizzed himself about.

I know the Navy is in a "Force Reshaping"...aka draw down right now. But why can't they trim the dead weight off the top? The top keeps giving us stupidity such as this.

4/21/2009 2:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well and truly said MM1(SS)! They also gave you the New Navy Smurf Uniform.

Elmo Zumwalt Redux. You guys getting Z-Grams??

My two cents, and keep a zero bubble..........


4/21/2009 8:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This program is designed and meant for females to stop and have a baby. Only!
I had the opportunity to go home in the middle of basic, I never would have made it. That break gets you out of the military mindset, and it's very difficult to get back in.
the Duke of Earl

4/22/2009 3:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

sjv, I love your definition of retention! No organization should have to work as hard as the Navy does to retain people. Quality people should WANT to stay in the Navy. The Navy hemorrhages talent and those who remain largely have no leadership skills and rely on their position to put a boot up everyone's a**, as opposed to motivating people to do it on their own. Much like the people who begin their comments with "When I was in command....." or have some reference to same in their handle to legitimize their comments. Any intelligent comment delivered by someone with good communication skills will get peoples' attention and convince them of its applicability with no qualifiers required. Get off the crutches!!!

4/25/2009 5:05 PM


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