A few months ago the department of the Navy put out a press release stating that they would be changing their 20 year old Navy FITREP and EVAL System also known as NAVFIT 98.
As per the press release one of the objectives for the new navy eval and Fitrep system was to remove forced distribution categories and to simplify FITREP/EVAL completion by allowing cloud based and mobile device input. While these are good objectives I would like to add one additional objective that cuts to the heart of why our FITREP and EVAL system has become diluted over time.
The issue at stake here is the ability for Commanding Officers and Senior Raters to artificially lower their average through a process known as “3.0 and go”. Through the “3.0 and go” process a sailor or officer who has filed paperwork to get out of the Navy will then receive 3.0 FITREPs/EVALs during the remainder of his or her time at the command. This action artificially raises the performance of that individual’s peer group while artificially lowering the performance of the individual getting out.
The frequently used policy of “3.0 and go” puts commanders and reporting seniors in quite a dilemma. On one hand those commanders want to use the FITREP and EVAL system as designed to properly report on their sailors performance. On the other hand many of their peers are artificially raising their grades thereby making it harder not to jump in that boat.
Furthermore, 3.0 and go this makes reserve promotions exceedingly difficult as oftentimes these sailors that are getting out of active duty go directly into the Navy Reserves. This leaves reserve ranking boards with the difficult decision of deciphering what exactly this Sailor’s 3.0 EVAL means.
One could make the argument that each reporting senior should have the right to decide if he or she wants to implement 3.0 and go in order to manage their reporting seniors average, and that this should be an individual decision. I disagree; unless the New FITREP and EVAL system has one consistent policy on this ranking boards will not be able to tell the difference in performance between sailors whose commanders used 3.0 and go and those who did not.
As a proposal, I recommend that in the New Navy FITREP and Eval System Commanding Officers and Senior raters are prohibited from lowering the grades of those getting out of the Navy unless they document in the write up section of the New Navy Fitrep that the individual’s performance in fact decreased over the rating period.