White House blows off Sailors’ request to overturn controversial ratings decision

(Nov. 10, 2016) Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Steven Giordano discusses the Navy's rating modernization efforts during an all hands call aboard amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). The rating modernization plan builds on the Sailor 2025 roadmap to better grow and utilize fleet talent. It will allow Sailors to experience a broader range of professional experiences and opportunities. Boxer is currently pier side preparing for a planned maintenance availability. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jesse Monford/Released)

The White House has effectively dismissed Navy Sailors’ requests to reverse a controversial ratings decision that changed the names of countless Naval occupation titles.

The news comes on the heels of a petition created to reinstate the classical, non-gender-neutral ratings titles that were abolished by Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Naval Secretary Ray Mabus in an effort to “modernize” the ratings system, which reached over 100,000 signatures by October 30th of this year.

The White House has finally released their long-awaited response, much to the disappointment of many Sailors and veterans who signed the petition.

Organizational changes that require a cultural shift can cause friction during transition periods,’ the response read, ‘But the President has confidence in the decisions made by U.S. Navy leaders and agrees that the benefits in future years will outweigh growing pains in the next several months.“

The response went on to mention the effort taken in ensuring civilian certifications become more compatible with Naval career fields.

“This Administration believes that providing widely-recognized credentials will improve service members’ chances of success in the private sector. Improving hiring opportunities for veterans remains a high priority for this Administration, embodied in efforts such as the First Lady and Dr.Biden’s “Joining Forces” initiative.”

The ratings issue has been a source of contention for many Sailors, with Naval Secretary Ray Mabus seemingly dismissing the complaints, often doubling down on his stance with statements such as that the title change is partly an effort to “quit segregating women” and that the cherished title of “Corpsman” was “not a historic title” due to it only officially being used after World War II. While this is true, Corpsman was a term in common usage well before and during the Second World War.

The entire response from the White House is as follows:

Thank you for adding your name to this We the People petition and for  your concern regarding the men and women who serve in the United States  Navy. The Navy’s recent announcement about Navy Occupational Specialties  has garnered attention from many veterans and supporters like you who  cherish naval tradition.

This new classification system, which was produced by a comprehensive  review led by the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy and his senior  enlisted leadership, moves toward occupational specialties titles  similar to the other armed services. Modernizing this system provides  many benefits within the Navy, such as increased flexibility in training  and assignments. It also affords our Sailors opportunities when  transitioning to the civilian workforce by aligning their specialties  with civilian occupations.

This Administration believes that providing widely-recognized credentials  will improve service members’ chances of success in the private sector.  Improving hiring opportunities for veterans remains a high priority for  this Administration, embodied in efforts such as the First Lady and Dr.  Biden’s “Joining Forces” initiative.

Organizational changes that require a cultural shift can cause friction  during transition periods, but the President has confidence in the

decisions made by U.S. Navy leaders and agrees that the benefits in future years  will outweigh growing pains in the next several months. Whether one’s  Navy career occurred under the former rating structure or today’s  modernized system, the President maintains his steadfast pride in Sailors  who have sacrificed and worked hard to serve with distinction.”

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Author

  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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