The Navy eliminated all of its 91 enlisted ratings titles on Sept. 29, 2016, marking the beginning of an overhaul of the rigid career structure that has existed since the Continental Navy in a radical shift sure to reverberate through the fleet and the veterans community beyond. Sailors will no longer be identified by their job title, say, Fire Controlman 1st Class Joe Sailor, effective immediately. Instead, that would be Petty Officer 1st Class Joe Sailor.
Officials say the controversial move will improve sailors’ lives and ease their transition into the civilian workforce by broadening their skills in this tectonic shift in Navy’s personnel system to redraw the traditional lines between enlisted job specialties — a massive shake-up that is only beginning. Within the next three to four years, earlier if possible, the service plans to allow sailors to retrain in related skills, expanding their worth to the Navy while reaping broader assignment opportunities as well as increased advancement changes and greater access to special pays and bonuses that come with the most critical skills.