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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Oct. 6, 2022

Policy update: Opportunities for officers to opt out of promoting at certain pay grades

By Annie Sheehan, MyCG Staff Writer

As part of Ready Workforce 2030, officers in zone for promotion to lieutenant, lieutenant commander, and commander can request to opt out of their respective promotion selection boards, starting in promotion year 2024 (PY24). 
An officer may request exclusion from promotion consideration for one to three years to complete a broadening assignment, an assignment of significant value to the Coast Guard, a career progression requirement delayed by education or a qualifying personal or professional circumstance. Examples include completing a White House Fellowship, advanced education programs, or birth or adopting a child. See Update to Officer Accessions, Evaluations, and Promotions, COMDTINST M1000.3 ALCOAST 380/22 for details on how to apply for consideration. 

“This policy initiative will provide more career flexibility to the officer corps by allowing the Service to consider delaying an officer’s promotion timeline based on a member’s request to allow for opportunities that benefit the officer and the Service,” said Cmdr. David Ratner, chief Boards, Promotions, and Separations Branch, Officer Personnel Management (OPM-1). 
This policy change aligns with similar programs the Department of Defense (DoD) offers. 

“Our promotion system is based on an ‘up or out’ philosophy,” Ratner said. “If an officer is not selected for promotion in as little as two opportunities, they can be separated or retired from the service.” 
The original promotion system was designed to achieve the officer pyramid structure dictated by statue for the officer corps for the control grades of lieutenant commander and above.  However, it failed to consider unique circumstances that might make standard promotion timelines incongruous with a person’s desired career path timelines. This policy change allows for greater career flexibility within the Coast Guard, based on an individual officer’s desires.
Like their officer counterparts, the enlisted workforce is also able to opt out of advancement
All eligible officers who desire to opt out of promotion should submit their request to PSC-OPM by Oct. 31 as described in Update to Officer Accessions, Evaluations, and Promotions, COMDTINST M1000.3 ALCOAST 380/22 to facilitate promotion year planning by PSC-OPM and CG-126 for promotion year 2024.