Leadership Promotion Board

From Commander, Military Sealift Command

Leadership Promotion Board

One of the strategic themes in the Voyage Plan focuses on our people, “Harnessing and Developing a Diverse, Capable and Talented Workforce.”

Supporting this theme, we are restructuring and improving the promotion board procedures for selecting permanent Master Mariners and Chief Engineers at Military Sealift Command (MSC).

For the past several months we thoroughly reviewed the current method for selecting our most senior leaders on MSC ships. We found that the present process, while sufficient, could be improved with additional formality and rigor.



U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mate Bryan Stoots


I am confident that a more formal approach to selecting the best and fully qualified maritime officers will benefit applicants for our critical Master Mariners and Chief Engineer positions.

The improved process will mirror the systematic approach followed for selection boards conducted by Navy Personnel Command (NPC). In fact, future selection boards will be conducted at Millington, Tennessee, in the NPC board spaces and will incorporate time-tested procedures that reduce subjectivity and personal bias.

The revised board process will benefit the mariner candidates because it will reduce subjectivity and distraction and promote integrity, rigor and transparency. The new process will establish a collaborative environment focused on evaluating professional performance as the key qualifier for selecting future Master Mariners and Chief Engineers.

Board members will evaluate each applicant’s Mariner Advancement Program record, resume, and responses to Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA). The total record of each applicant will be assessed by two board members at least one of whom shall be a qualified Master Mariner or Chief Engineer.  Then the records will be further reviewed via a process known as the “tank” (space at Millington specifically design to electronically review records) where they will be collaboratively reviewed by the entire board to select the best and fully qualified.  In the tank, discussion invoking context and expertise will be encouraged in order to thoroughly consider all aspects of an applicant’s record.  For future boards we envision further shifting away from KSA responses to using a tailored questionnaire and evaluations.

The selection board will be chaired by a MSC Flag Officer or Senior Executive Service member. Board members will consist of qualified O-6 staff (must have held afloat USN Command) or Area Commanders, experienced GS-15 staff, and permanent MSC Master Mariners and Chief Engineers.

The process has not been changed without reaching out to our partners, the labor unions. The International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots leadership toured NPC in Millington and were impressed with the increased scrutiny of each record, formal electronic briefing, incorporation of electronic scoring and the sanctity of the spaces.  As such we received their endorsement during our Nov. 15 Union Meeting.  Likewise the process has also been endorsed by the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association (MEBA).  As a result of the progress made to the process, our intent is to implement this enhanced selection board process during the spring of 2018.

I know you share my commitment to provide our mariners with leaders who exemplify the highest standards of leadership, professionalism, and personal integrity. I believe the improvements to the board process will ensure that future Master Mariners and Chief Engineers are truly the best and fully qualified to meet these high standards.

United We Sail,

Rear Adm. Dee L. Mewbourne, USN

Commander, Military Sealift Command


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