Good afternoon, fellow officers,
Welcome to February! From the many chats I have had over the past two weeks it is apparent that quite a few of us have had the pleasure of a recent snow day, or at least a snow morning, to enjoy. Taking the time to get outside to throw a snowball or sled down a hill can do wonders for combatting winter fatigue - especially considering that Punxsutanwney Phil saw his shadow this past Tuesday, forecasting six additional weeks of heavy coats and mittens. Even our team in Lakeland, FL, saw the temperatures drop to freezing this week! I encourage everyone to take care of themselves and others as winter rolls on and the days remain short.
Switching gears, I would like to provide an update on the 2020 NOAA Corps promotion packages. The new DOC leadership team is preparing to transition into office and this has resulted in a pause for processing correspondence packages. Among these items are the packages to effect the approved promotions for all ranks, O2-O7. Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo received confirmation from the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on Wednesday and her nomination will now go to a vote of the full U.S. Senate. This process could be days or weeks away, and until she is confirmed our direction is to hold all actions until guidance is given. No waivers or workarounds are provided for items that require Secretarial approval. The team at CPC is primed and ready to move the packages forward as soon as possible and we will work tirelessly to ensure our personnel actions are completed as expeditiously as possible.
Additionally, I would like to put to rest the concerns of our BOTC-131 officers who have now held the rank of ensign for over three years. You will not be automatically separated. CPC works in consultation with General Council on a regular basis and they have provided clear guidance on how the applicable laws are to be interpreted. CPC has spent considerable time looking at these as well and we are in agreement. Only officers in the permanent grade of ensign who are found not fully qualified at the three year mark shall be separated from the commissioned officer corps. To be clear, all BOTC-131 officers have been found qualified as evidenced by the results of the Officer Personnel Board that met in April 2020. The recommendations for your promotions were approved by the President on 11 January 2021 and we are now simply waiting to effect these promotions - and that loops back to my earlier paragraph. I hear your concerns, however, I remain optimistic that the process will move more quickly in the near future.
There is one more thing I would like to bring up. Earlier this week, I released a CPC Director's Message, under the direction of the Deputy Director of the NOAA Corps, that all NOAA Corps officers are to be in the appropriate Uniform of the Day (Service Dress, Service Khakis, ODUs, etc) while conducting NOAA business in the virtual environment or government facility. As a follow on, the grooming standards that were relaxed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic are back in effect as well.
Finally, I would like to close out this week with one of my favorite quotes from former Secretary of State, General Colin Powell. It is short and to the point; however, I hope you take it to heart and reflect on it as you end your day and start your weekend:
"Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier."
CDR Douglas MacIntyre, NOAA
Director, Commissioned Personnel Center
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