A sailor about to transition, returned from deployment recently & learned that Skill-bridge applications were being denied, whereas before deployment they were mostly being approved. The USN HR released an advisory that emphasized the non-entitlement nature of the program, and that seamen on Skill-bridge would not be backfilled until they actually left the service. Also they reduced Skill bridge to 120 days vs the 180 days the program was designed for. This leaves the COs little choice but to deny Skill bridge Applications. Any chance this can be escalated and have the ACP push back on politicians? Any way, the US public should be aware that this is going on. It is a major change for transitioning military members. The USN might be in a recruiting death spiral.
Richard, I can absolutely empathize with you on this - and would like to point out a few things:
1-SkillBridge is not guaranteed, nor a "right" per se - albeit, absolutely well earned;
2-The NAVADMIN uses the term "not normally" when referencing 120 vs 180 days. As with any military (Navy in this case) instruction and/or directive, the subsequent sub-entities can make it more stringent, but not more lenient. This means that while the DoD prescribes SkillBrige (internship or apprenticeship) "up to" 180 days, that is simply the threshold. Each service branch will determine what's best suited.
3-Balancing recruitment and attrition is always going to be a sticky and delicate thing to balance; there will most likely always be those who are early adopters, and those that are laggards in how they see SkillBridge; and as many good and well-intended leaders, there will also be those that only think about their current state and will always lend to the mission over the sailor - there will also be those sailors who genuinely seek to leverage SkillBridge as a way in which to prime their post military chapter, while still fulfilling their duties and leaving the command in a good place w/ continuity built in and conversely, those that only seek to "game the system" and "get theirs". These will only get but so far on this side of it - and then reality will be the ultimate equalizer.
I hope this helps.
Thank you for bringing attention to this. Unfortunately, this is completely outside of ACP's area of influence and there isn't anything we can do other than offer transitioning service members the chance to be mentored by a mentor in their chosen career field.
Have a great weekend.
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