Navy leaders are reversing their controversial decision to eliminate sailors’ ratings and will restore job titles across the fleet, according to a Navy message set for release Wednesday.
Effective immediately, enlisted sailors will officially regain their ratings, the traditional job titles that have inspired a deep cultural loyalty and that have defined enlisted career tracks for generations, Navy officials said.
The move comes three months after the Navy stunned sailors around the world in September by eliminated ratings titles, including those such as boatswain’s mate that dated back to the founding of the service.
The extraordinarily rare move comes after a fierce backlash from the fleet that became a distraction from the Navy’s broader effort to reform the antiquated personnel system, Navy officials said.
Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, called it a “course correction” and acknowledged the overwhelmingly negative reaction from the fleet was a key factor in the decision.
“We have learned from you, and so effective immediately, all rating names are restored,” Richardson wrote in a Navy message set for release Wednesday. A copy of the message was obtained by Navy Times Tuesday.
Cmdr. Chris Servello, Richardson’s spokesman, confirmed Tuesday night that the Navy planned to restore ratings Wednesday and that a fleet-wide message from the CNO would be released online in the morning, along with more details from CNO and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Steven Giordano.
Though the ratings have been restored, change still lies ahead as the Navy plans to press ahead with its broader effort to fundamentally change the rigid personnel system and make career paths more flexible in the future.
“The feedback from current and former Sailors has been consistent that there is wide support for the flexibility that the plan offers, but the removal of rating titles detracted from accomplishing our major goals,” Richardson wrote.
“There is a way to have the benefits of the rating modernization program without removing rating titles,” the CNO wrote in the message.
“This course correction doesn’t mean our work is done – rating modernization will continue for all the right reason,” Richardson wrote. “Modernizing our industrial-age personnel system in order to provide Sailors choice and flexibility still remains a priority for us.”
These changes will ultimately mean that sailors’ titles may have to change in the future, Richardson continues, but he’s going to solicit sailor feedback.
As early word of the restoration spread on social media Tuesday night, many sailors celebrated the news, both because they welcomed the return of the traditional…