The Navy has indefinitely suspended its “high-year tenure” program — a policy that allowed sailors to serve only so long at a certain rank before being involuntarily discharged from the service or pushed into the reserves.
In an administrative message released Monday, the sea service said that it is instead making the program's successor — “high-year tenure plus” — permanent. The new program halts separations or involuntary transfers for sailors who don't advance at a fast enough pace.
The effective elimination of the sometimes controversial program, which has been around in various forms for at least a decade and aimed at eliminating low-performing sailors, is yet another policy change the Navy has taken that aims to keep service members in the ranks and at sea.
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Under the previous policy, sailors of any rank could serve at their current level for only a limited time before the Navy would move to discharge them with the presumption that they were not performing well enough to stay in the service. A 2018 document on the policy described it as a tool to “enable the Navy to retain the right number of members.”
For example, under the old rules, a typical E-3 sailor could serve only six years at that rank before the Navy would have separated them. If that same sailor were to be promoted to E-4, they would have been able to serve four…