Navy reverses decision to change ratings system for enlisted sailors
WASHINGTON — The Navy reversed course on its ratings overhaul, announcing enlisted sailors would continue to be called by their specialty instead of by rank.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson is expected to announce the reversal Wednesday, acknowledge the pushback by current and former enlisted sailors against the Navy’s plan to end its 241-year-old tradition of job-oriented titles, such as gunner’s mate or mass communications specialist.
Sailors are expected to receive an explanation of the decision from Adm. Richardson and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Steven Giordano on Wednesday, Navy officials said.
The change would have affected about 265,000 enlisted sailors. The Navy said they had initially tried to remove the old job titles to bring them more in line with the other services and allow sailors more flexibility to move between specialties.
“Since we made the initial rating modernization announcement in September, [Navy leadership] have had the opportunity to speak with thousands of sailors during our travels throughout the fleet. The feedback from current and former sailors has been consistent,” Richardson said. “…So effective immediately, all rating names are restored.”
A WhiteHouse.gov petition to get the Navy to reverse its decision gathered 103,760 signatures, just more than the 100,000 required for an official response from the executive branch. Military.com had previously reported the original petitioner was Robert D. Weeks, a retired Navy operations specialist. In November, the White House responded to Weeks' petition, saying it supported the Navy's efforts to modernize the ratings system.
Richardson said the Navy still needs to modernize its ratings and would be seeking suggestions on how to do so.
“We will need to tackle the issue of managing rating names,” the admiral said. “We will continue to involve sailors throughout the fleet.”
Richardson asked sailors with ideas on how to modernize the ratings titles to send them to NavyRatingMod.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read a related article: 'Hooyah!': Sailors react to Navy's decision on ratings system