navy life

10 Months out… what does that mean, exactly?

So I mentioned in my post last week that we are 10 months out from our next move with the US Navy, but what does that mean? Why is 10 months significant?

Well, in a sense, it’s not. This is the last deep breath before things start to “matter” I suppose. And now that this is going up, it’s even less than 10 months for us.

In our specific case (active duty, enlisted, Navy), it means that J comes into his “negotiation window” 9 months from his PRD. (Remember “PRD” from my Glossary of Terms? No? Here you go.)

Next month, J gets to log onto the Navy’s most recent iteration of their automated job-matching program and see what billets are going to be open when it’s time for us to move. I’m not kidding about the automated part– there used to be individual detailers (people whose job is to match the needs of commands with the available sailors/service member of your branch’s flavor) we’d talk to, and there still are detailers who ultimately process this stuff, but in the ongoing effort by the military to move everything online, now there’s a form thing to fill out. I’m getting off track.

My point is, J can look at what’s going to be available, and then he and I discuss (because hey, I have to go live there, too), and then he submits the choices in order of preference. And what happens next is why we refer to it as “negotiating” orders. Once he submits, the Navy comes back and says “well, you can have your # 3 choice” or “actually none of those are available after all” or whatever version of that may happen.

Sometimes there’s nothing either of us likes, and we can wait another month to see what else might come up. It’s a gamble, though, especially if there is an option we might like already on the table. But we navigate it as it comes, and will see how things go.

I know this may sound confusing, and I probably won’t document the exact instances as they happen, but I’ll try to explain as we go through it. You’ll probably mostly get my frustration while we wait to hear back and then wait some more and then wait some more….

Oh, and the most asked question I get about this is “Do you have any idea where you’ll wind up next?” and the answer is always “NOPE.” We won’t know until J hits that 9 month window and we can actually see. But the list of Navy bases is relatively small, and the list of those that are surface ships (as opposed to submarines or naval air stations) is even smaller, so there you go. Those are the best guess I have. Sorry it’s not more specific, but that’s part of the process, too.

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