Job shuffle under way in the U.S. Navy.

Author:Erwin, Sandra I.
Position:UP FRONT

The Navy is evaluating 25,000 jobs for possible elimination or transfer. The move is part of a broad reorganization designed to lower costs and improve the quality of the workforce, said Vice Adm. Gerald Hoewing, deputy chief of naval operations for manpower, personnel, training and education.

"We are creating a Navy that has fewer people, but these people need to be more technically focused, more experienced, more capable," he said in a recent interview.

The process involves a meticulous analysis of each job description, followed by an assessment of whether a job is relevant to the Navy's current missions and responsibilities, Hoewing said.

While many jobs will disappear, new ones are being created in response to growing demands in areas such as antiterrorism and special operations. "Many times we don't have sailors with the desired skills," he said. The drawdown primarily is attributed to a steady drop in the number of ships the Navy operates.

"We are down to 289 ships," Hoewing said. "When you decommission ships, you don't need that manpower."

The Navy has 363,315 active-duty members (54,403 officers and 305,652 enlisted), 3,260 Midshipmen, 142,094 reservists and 176,768 civilian employees.

Any job cutbacks will affect mostly those in the active-duty and reserve categories, said Hoewing. Many administrative support positions no longer are needed, he said. Just 12 years ago, when the Navy had more than 320 ships, about two-thirds of service members were in sea-duty billets. By 2004, only half were at sea.

"As we've drawn down the number of ships, the...

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