Director's Message:

The Defense Officer Personnel Management Act (DOPMA) (Pub.L. 96–513), passed in 1980, for the first time standardized officer personnel management across the Armed Forces. DOPMA established ceilings on the number of field grade (O-4 through O-6) officers authorized to each service, created uniform regulations governing promotions, and codified rules regarding separation and retirement of officers. Even though the NOAA Corps is not covered under DOPMA, our laws are very similar to DOD and in the majority of the cases are the same. DOPMA also created stable and predictable career paths, institutionalized relatively short careers compared to private industry, and mandated the military adopt an "up or out" personnel management strategy (requiring officers who failed selection for promotion to be removed from the service). The NOAA Corps follows the “up or out” system as well.

NOAA Corps attrition has recently slowed which has resulted in our strength maintaining a level at or above our authorized numbers throughout the fiscal year. The immediate impacts from this slowing are reducing accessions, which can cause another bubble, as created during the hiring freeze in the 1990s. To keep this from occurring again the challenge lies in shifting our approach from a growth model where accessions exceed attrition, to an approach that utilizes active management to assure a balance of attrition and accession.

Management of attrition is where the bulk of this discussion lies. In recent history, this has not been a concern as it pertains to the management of our NOAA Corps workforce. Attrition plus our number of vacancies have exceeded our accessions since 1999. Now that we are maintaining our authorized strength, active and sometimes aggressive management of our attrition becomes necessary. It is on this point that I would like to provide some information as to the tools available to the Director, NOAA Corps, to assure we achieve equilibrium as well as ensuring that we have a strong NOAA Corps workforce positioned to best serve the needs of NOAA.

As listed in the NOAA Corps Directives Chapter 8, there are a number of paths that influence our attrition: Voluntary resignation/retirement, Involuntary non-disability separation/retirement, Disability retirement/discharge, and Separation in the Best Interest of the Service. Of those, separation in the best interest of the Service warrants some discussion.

A separation or retirement in the best interest of the NOAA Corps is warranted when performance of an officer is at a level below that expected of a NOAA Corps officer of his/her grade, and which fails to indicate potential for future growth or promotion. The number of officers involuntarily separated or retired cannot exceed 4% (12 officers) of the NOAA Corps' authorized strength in any given fiscal year.

You may ask, “How does this translate to me?” First, given that attrition numbers will have to be increased to remain balanced or above accessions, the assumption that by merely completing the written requirements for promotion assures promotion is far from accurate. Promotions are based on selecting the most qualified individuals, not just those that have met the basic prerequisites for promotion. Second, not achieving qualifications with your peers meets the criterion for separation in the best interest of the Service. Examples of these qualifications include officer of the deck, senior watch officer, and aircraft commander. Third, active management of one’s career and professional/operational/technical development is a must. This has always been the case. If, for instance, a supervisor has documented a weakness in your performance and laid out a corrective action plan or otherwise tasked you with some work to improve; failing to do so indicates that your performance could be below that of other officers within your grade. Finally, as is evidenced by the 2015 NOAA Corps Officer Corps Management Plan, a study of the workforce composition may inform the Director to order an annual review of a single, several, or all grades within the NOAA Corps. Through that process, the Director may describe the performance criterion that is most important for the strength and positioning of our workforce in the future. Documented weakness in those areas as compared to your peers would be cause for review for separation or retirement in the best interest of the Service.

Our collective goal is to provide NOAA and the Nation the most capable officers. We are a high performing organization and celebrate our “up or out” system. The process of actively managing attrition will further strengthen our Corps by ensuring that our performance across the ranks continues to increase. Thank you for your service and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

CAPT Lawrence T. Krepp, NOAA
Director, CPC

On the Horizon

10 Apr 2015 OPF Submission Deadline for Officer Personnel Board (OPB)
21 Apr 2015 Officer Assignment Board
28 Apr - 01 May 2015 OPB - Promotion Selection
June 2015 Aviation Advisory Board

Approved Resignations, Separations and Retirements

LT Van Helker 15 April 2015
LTJG Leslie Flowers 17 April 2015
LTJG Christopher Briand 01 May 2015
LTJG David Rodziewicz 08 May 2015
LT Christine Schultz 31 May 2015
LCDR Phillip Eastman 01 June 2015
ENS Daniel Hodge 15 June 2015

Extension for OPF Document Submissions

The Officer Personnel Boards for Promotion Selection have been postponed to 28 April, therefore the OPF submission deadline has been extended to Friday 10 April 2015. Additionally, officers are encouraged to review their medical OPF periodically between now and after the selections have been made to ensure that you are fully qualified for full and unrestricted duty. Officers who are selected for promotion but not fully qualified , will not have their names forwarded to the Secretary for approval.

Full-time University Training (FUT)

CPC receives a number of ongoing questions regarding FUT. We are in the process of reviewing this directive's statuatory authority with the Office of General Counsel. Announcements will be made as soon as the policy update is availble.

Aviation Advisory Board

An Aviation Advisory Board will convene in June 2015 to select for initial flight training. Please see below for additional information:

Initial Flight:
The Board will select up to three officers from the fleet who are interested in transitioning to aviation. Start dates for flight training will be determined based upon the needs of the Service and rotation dates of the officers selected. Flight experience is encouraged, but is not required for this opportunity.

Requirements for the NOAA Corps Aviation Selection Process:
1. Complete all sections of NOAA Form 56-43 (Application for NOAA Corps Aviation Program).
2. Complete a USCG Class I flight physical.
3. Complete the Aviation Selection Test Battery (ASTB) exam through a Department of Defense recruiting center.
4. A recommendation for aviation selection must be included in Section 10 (Potential) of the applicant’s Officer Evaluation Report (NOAA form 56-6A), or provide a written endorsement from your current supervisor.

Notify LCDR Nicholas Chrobak ( by COB, 30 April 2015, if you are interested in this opportunity. AOC will be responsible for conducting interviews between April and May for all applicants. Completed aviation application packages must arrive at the Commissioned Personnel Center (CPC) by COB, 31 May 2015. Contact LCDR Chris Kerns ( – (813) 828-4361, or LCDR Jason Mansour ( – (813) 828-4165, with any questions that you have.

Volunteer Request

CPC is looking for a volunteer to be present at a memorial service in honor of a retired NOAA Corps officer. The service is scheduled the weekend of May 29, 2015, in mid-coast Maine. Please contact Katherine Raymond at (301)713-7732 or for details.