Via the Washington Examiner:
The Navy is restoring its traditional job titles after scrapping the centuries-old tradition in September, according to the Navy’s top officer.
The reversal, which leaked out on social media Tuesday evening and became official Wednesday morning, means that sailors will continue to be referred to by their job titles, such as boatswain’s mate, yeoman and master-at-arms. The plan was to call all enlisted sailors by either seaman, petty officer or chief.
Some of those traditional job titles, known as ratings, have been around since the birth of the Navy, and the decision to get rid of them in September sparked immediate and widespread outrage in the fleet.
The decision to get rid of the ratings came about after the Pentagon lifted the ban on women serving in combat. Navy leaders then looked at ways of making their job titles gender-neutral, which led to a larger review on how to improve the Navy’s advancement system. Leaders said getting rid of all job titles would allow sailors to advance faster and have an easier time getting a job on the outside.
But after angry reactions and even a White House petition, the Navy has reversed course.
“Since we made the initial rating modernization announcement in September, the [secretary of the Navy and the master chief petty officer of the Navy] and I, along with other Navy leadership, have had the opportunity to speak with thousands of Sailors during our travels throughout the fleet,” according to a message from Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson. “The feedback from current and former Sailors has been consistent that there is wide support for the flexibility that the plan offers, but the removal of rating titles detracted from accomplishing our major goals. Furthermore, there has been a solid body of thoughtful input that pointed out that there is a way to have the benefits of the rating modernization program without removing rating titles.”
Richardson added that officials still plan on improving the advancement process, even with the job titles restored.
“This course correction doesn’t mean our work is done – rating modernization will continue for all the right reasons. Modernizing our industrial-age personnel system in order to provide Sailors choice and flexibility still remains a priority for us. As we execute the rating modernization plan, more Sailors will have multiple occupational skill sets or ratings. We will need to tackle the issue of managing rating names. We will continue to involve Sailors throughout the Fleet, using the Rating Modernization working group to figure out how to best do that.”