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Coast Guard reactivates high-year tenure limits, may force hundreds to retire

Apr. 20, 2013 - 09:20AM   |  
In this 2003 file photo, then-Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge observes the reenlistement ceremony of Petty Officer 1st Class Glenn Moffett (left), Petty Officer 1st Class Juan Rojas and Petty Officer 3rd Class Thomas Freehling. The Coast Guard has said that a 94 percent retention rate has slowed down advancement opportunities in the enlisted ranks. The Coast Guard reactivated high-year tenure for retirement-eligible Coasties on April 15.
In this 2003 file photo, then-Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge observes the reenlistement ceremony of Petty Officer 1st Class Glenn Moffett (left), Petty Officer 1st Class Juan Rojas and Petty Officer 3rd Class Thomas Freehling. The Coast Guard has said that a 94 percent retention rate has slowed down advancement opportunities in the enlisted ranks. The Coast Guard reactivated high-year tenure for retirement-eligible Coasties on April 15. (Luis Diaz / Coast Guard)
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HIGH-YEAR TENURE CANDIDATES

The Coast Guard has officially set the 2013 high-year tenure marks, but subsequent years are only projections. Starting in 2015, it is expected that Coasties E-5 or below will be targeted for HYT before reaching the 20-year retirement mark. The breakdown:
• E-9—2013-2015 - 30 years active military service
• E-8—2013 - 28 years active military service; 2014-2015 - 26 years
• E-7—2013 - 26 years active military service; 2014-2015 - 24 years
• E-6—2013 - 22 years active military service; 2014-2015 - 20 years
• E-5—2013 - 20 years active military service; 2014 - 20 years; 2015 - 14 years
• E-4—2013 - 20 years active military service; 2014 - 20 years; 2015 - 7/10•
• E-3—2013 - 20 years active military service; 2014 - 20 years; 2015 - 7/10•
E-2 and below cannot extend or re-enlist if they have not advanced.
• E-4s and E-3s will be considered for HYT if they have seven years’ active Coast Guard service or 10 years combined active military service.
Source: Coast Guard

Related Links
  • Breakdown by paygrade
  • The Coast Guard has reactivated high-year tenure, a force-shaping tool that will boot out a number of Coast Guardsmen who haven’t met specific advancement milestones.

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    The Coast Guard has reactivated high-year tenure, a force-shaping tool that will boot out a number of Coast Guardsmen who haven’t met specific advancement milestones.

    The service will only look at retirement-eligible personnel this year and has identified 253 candidates across nearly all ratings. It’s unclear how many will ultimately have to retire.

    While the program is only focused on retirement-eligible Coasties this year, officials expect it will expand to include E-5s or below with fewer than 20 years’ service by 2015.

    The Coast Guard’s advancement pipeline has been clogged thanks to 94 percent retention rates, a Coast Guard news release states. Advancements have slowed as Coasties have stayed put and enlisted billets have shrunk, with “A” school wait times exceeding three years.

    “This situation breaks trust with our personnel who joined the Coast Guard with the desire and motivation to grow both professionally and personally in an enlisted rating and advance based on demonstrated knowledge and performance,” Commandant Adm. Bob Papp said in a prepared statement issued April 15.

    HYT is expected to help mitigate these problems.

    The Coast Guard has assigned a maximum time-in-service for each paygrade. This year mark, called a professional growth point, is used to determine candidates for HYT. For example, a chief with 27 years of service would fall under HYT this year. Any service member who meets or exceeds his professional growth point by June 1, 2014, would fall under this year’s HYT program. (See chart for a breakdown by paygrade.)

    Only two ratings had no HYT candidates this year: intelligence specialist and public affairs specialist.

    The 2013 HYT board will convene in May, said Senior Chief Daniel Tremper, a Coast Guard spokesman. Those identified by the board will retire by Sept. 1, 2014. Those selected for HYT who do not submit a retirement request by June 1 will be separated from the service without retirement benefits.

    Advancement fix

    The Coast Guard said the reactivation was not a result of new budget cuts forced by sequestration, but rather an attempt to address advancement barriers for the enlisted ranks.

    “In the past, we have seen people advance to E-7 in 10 years; you simply would not see that now,” Tremper said.

    He added that some of the reduction in billets has come from decommissioning of Coast Guard units.

    The Coast Guard has used HYT since the 1990s, but in 2000, limited it to only master chiefs with 30 years or more service.

    The service is not targeting specific ratings for reduction.

    Coast Guardsmen can apply for a HYT waiver, and ratings will be considered to ensure critical jobs are filled.

    HYT is in addition to another forced retirement program the Coast Guard has used over the past three years — the career retention screening panel. The 2013 CRSP will convene in June and is looking at:

    • E-6s or below with 19.5 or more years of active-duty service.

    • E-7s with 19.5 or more years of active-duty service and three or more years time in grade as of June 1.

    If service members are eligible for separation under both CRSP and HYT, HYT will take precedence, Tremper said.

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