Message from the Director

I was going to recycle one of my old articles for this week's Cyberflash, but I came across this one from CAPT Todd Stiles when he was Director, CPC. This was from January, 2007, but holds true today and serves as a good reminder as we start a new performance year and soon, a new calendar year. Thanks, CAPT Stiles!

"I recently came across an excerpt from a previous newsletter highlighting several aspects of career planning which I found to be most interesting and appropriate. The material was taken from a DoD publication titled "The Armed Forces Officer" and modified slightly to apply to the Corps. As we start the new year I hope all will find it useful and refer to it often.

It is never a good idea to try to give precise formulas about things that, by nature, are indefinite and subject to many variable factors. Career planning is one such thing. Career planning has only one basic rule. The individual officer is responsible for what happens to him or her. Essentially, it is not the job you have; it is the job you do that counts. Getting ahead is a matter of getting noticed. Getting noticed is an art. The absolute best way for an officer to become noticed is by simply doing the best job that he or she can.

Career progression differs among the services. Each has nuances that will enhance the possibility of progression. There are no differences, however, among the services in the fundamental concepts of how to best enhance a career. The following rules apply to all:

  • Do an exceptional job in whatever job you are given.
  • Find out what you really enjoy doing; then find a way to do it.
  • Become expert in your specific job; then take every opportunity to broaden yourself to qualify for a better job.
  • Assignments to NOAA Headquarters are important. It provides the officer with a better understanding of the system and how things work. It is a mistake to attempt to avoid such assignments.
  • Learn the system. If you wait for someone to do it to you, someone will! It is your profession, and the rules for that profession are very clearly spelled out. If you don't know the rules, you can't play the game.
  • People make the system work. Know the system and your people well. It is the people you work with that will make you successful.
  • Ask for a job you want. Never ask to go from a job. Ask only to go to a better one.
  • Your word is your bond; never thoughtlessly promise a favor.
  • Do not attempt to be all things to all people. Be the best at what you are and what you are supposed to be.
  • Volunteer frequently, but always thoughtfully.
  • People like to have cheerful people around them. Be one of the cheerful.
  • Lastly, always try to be a little bit better than you think you are. Don't be surprised when you are.

Many duties of a uniformed officer will require selfless dedication to difficult and unpleasant tasks. Do them well, but keep them in perspective. One great joy of the uniformed service is that you will change jobs. Nothing - not even the good jobs - lasts forever."


CAPT Anne K. Lynch, NOAA
Director, CPC

On the Horizon

14 - 17 Nov 2017 Mid Grade Week Two
21 Nov 2017 BOTC 130 Graduation
04 - 08 Dec 2017 CO/XO Conference
08 - 12 Jan 2018 Mid Grade Week One

Approved Resignations, Separations and Retirements

CDR Mark Sweeney 01 Dec 2017
LT Reni Rydlewicz 01 Dec 2017
ENS Kaitlyn Seberger 15 Dec 2017
LT Alexander Johnston 29 Dec 2017
CAPT William Odell 01 Jan 2018
LCDR Jonathan French 01 Feb 2018

BRS or Legacy? That is the question!

The window of opportunity to be able to make a decision on your retirement plan is closing in.

BRS or Legacy? That is the question!

As the timing to opt-in to BRS continues to get closer, CPC is looking to get you the information you need to assist in making the right decision for you. Two questions that continue to come up are;

  • How do I opt in?
  • What will NOAA pay out for Continuation Pay (CP)?

The quick answer to opting-in is that an officer who chooses to opt-in to BRS will do so online through Direct Access. More details will be given out as we get closer to January 1, 2018.

As for CP, NOAA and all seven of the Uniformed Services have decided to offer CP at 2.5x an officer's monthly base pay. This pay will be given out at 12 years of service and come with a four year commitment.

For more information, please visit https://militarypay.defense.gov/BlendedRetirement/ and use the calculator there to compare both options.

Supervisors, Division Chiefs and the like are encouraged to get familiar with the Blended Retirement System in order to discuss and mentor junior officers as they prepare to make a decision on retirement.

TSP Webinar

In support of the upcoming BRS Opt-in period, Thrift Savings Plan is offering up two webinars to increase awareness and understanding. The first webinar is focused on BRS and TSP, however all officers are encouraged to attend the second webinar as it pertains to TSP in both BRS and the legacy retirement systems. Click on the links below to register for the session.

TSP Upcoming Sponsored Webinars

Please reach out to CDR Jeff Shoup, chiefcareermgmt.cpc@noaa.gov if you have any questions on BRS or the TSP webinars.

Uniform and Awards Board

A new Uniform and Awards Board has been convened. Please welcome:

  • CDR Stephanie Koes, co-chair
  • CDR Sarah Duncan, co-chair
  • CDR Jay Lomnicky
  • LCDR Ryan Wattam
  • LCDR Ronald Moyers, Jr.
  • LCDR David Cowan
  • LT Kevin Doremus
  • LT Ricardo Rodriguez Perez
  • LTJG Kristen Raja
  • LTJG Patrick Debroisse
  • LTJG Philip Manougian

The new UAB looks forward to continuing to both serve as your point of contact regarding procedures for nominating officers for NOAA Corps awards and for other recognition, as well to make recommendations to the Director regarding uniform and awards regulations. All officers, particularly supervisors, are encouraged to review the "Awards - How To" located on the CPC website.

School Transitions for Dependents During PCS

One of the largest stressors facing every uniformed service family with K-12 school age dependents is the unknowns associated with transitioning to a new school district. Registration deadlines, curriculum requirements, mandatory residency within a district, credits required for graduation and numerous other obstacles create stormy seas for our school-age kids. The Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission (MIC3) is a relatively new organization (founded in 2006) that serves as storm oil to help calm the stormy seas. MIC3 has developed an agreement between all 50 states, the District of Columbia and DOD schools that gives local school officials the latitude and authority to waive certain requirements which just don't make sense to apply to uniform service kids.

Last week, CAPT Adams presented a NOAA Corps 101 brief to the MIC3 Annual Meeting, raising awareness of the NOAA Corps and our eligibility to avail ourselves of the terms of the compact among state education administrators from 47 states as well as School Liaison Officers (SLO) from the Army and Navy. Should you find yourself and your kids in a school district "pickle" that truly seems unfair or irrelevant to educational outcomes, reach out to the nearest SLO and they can help smooth the seas of educational transitions. More information is available here:
https://www.dodea.edu/Partnership/schoolLiaisonOfficers.cfm
https://www.mic3.net/index.html

Service and Sea Service Verification Letters

Officers are reminded that CPC provides service and/or sea service verification letters upon request. A service verification letter is typically requested in conjunction with obtaining a mortgage while sea service verification letters are required for USCG licenses. In addition, CPC will provide verification of drug testing letters as needed for USCG licenses. Please contact Charise Stewart with any requests and/or questions.

History: Data Transfer Breakthrough

This small note was the headline article of "Notes to Hydrographers" in June, 1989.

"The Pacific Hydrographic Party talks to the Nautical Chart Branch! The preceding statement doesn't sound all that unusual - after all, they should be talking to us. However, it is the way they are communicating - by IBM PC via a phone modem. Beginning the first week of June PHP has been routinely transmitting hydrographic survey data to an IBM PC here at NCB, which is then transferred to the large Harris computer for processing...."

The modem used was probably a 9.6 kbps model. Today, the NOAA Ship OKEANOS EXPLORER transmits data to shore facilities for realtime viewing and analysis at 15mbps ship to shore and receives 2.5 mbps shore to ship, 1500 and 250 times faster respectively than the early phone modems.

The OKEANOS EXPLORER system allows for 3 HD video streams, two way voice and text communications with scientists at Exploration Command Centers around the world, internet, real-time collaboration tools, and large data transfers to shore to support telepresence enabled exploration. Quite an improvement from the not-so-old days. (Thanks to Admiral Sam Debow (ret.), Captain Mark Wetzler and Craig Russell of OER for this information.)

From the Assignment Desk: Billet #0511 Staff Officer, NOAA Corps Policy

The Commissioned Personnel Center (CPC) is looking for a high preforming officer to fill a vacant O-3 billet in the NOAA Corps Policy Division, one of the three primary execution divisions within CPC. The Division is responsible for the development, update, and management of HR policies associated with the NOAA Corps. In addition, the Division expounds upon NOAA's HR policies, as needed, for implementation and execution in OMAO.

The incumbent officer will provide broad based policy support for the entire NOAA Corps. Develop, evaluate and periodically review the CPC policy development strategy. Analyze and evaluate, on a quantitative and qualitative basis, the effectiveness of policy development goals and objectives. Lead, conduct, and/or participate in any comprehensive study/review designed to restructure NOAA Corps policy, and contribute to/develop OMAO personnel policies. As well as represent NOAA Corps on the Military Advisory Panel at the biweekly Per Diem, Travel, Transportation & Allowances Committee, and serve as a representative to inter-agency group meetings (SGLI, Blended Retirement, etc.).

The billet is currently vacant, interested officers should update assignment preferences and contact the Assignment Coordinator.

Want to add the NOAA Corps Centennial Graphic to your email signature block?

  • Go to https://www.omao.noaa.gov/find/media/images/noaa-corps-centennial-graphic
  • Right-click on image and select "copy" (no need to click on the "Download Image" button)
  • Open Gmail and go to "settings"
  • Under "general" scroll down to "signature"
  • Place cursor under name, address and such and right click to "paste" image
  • Click on image again and select "medium" to scale
  • Scroll to bottom of page and click on "save changes"

Enjoy and congratulations on "celebrating a century of service"!