News Briefs: July 15, 2014

Admiral Michelle Howard becomes first four-star woman in Navy history

The ceremony included a bit of comedy, but there was no denying the significance: For the first time in its history, the Navy promoted a woman to become a four-star admiral.

Surrounded by friends, family and peers, Adm. Michelle J. Howard was promoted to her new rank at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. She’ll take over as the vice chief of naval operations, the No. 2 officer in the service. She is not only the first woman to hold the job, but the first African-American.

It’s the latest achievement for Howard, who previously was the first African-American woman to serve as a three-star officer in the U.S. military and command a U.S. Navy ship. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said her promotion is a “representation of how far we have come, and how far she has helped bring us.”

Why the military can’t find recruits

By William Treseder,
The Defense Department is losing the battle for talented (and even not-so-talented) people. Millions of young men and women have decided against military service or failed to even consider it.

For many young people, military service could be the best option. It can give them structure and challenges, as well as an opportunity to serve a cause greater than themselves, learn to work with truly diverse teams of people in intense environments, and receive the best leadership training anywhere.
And yet they aren’t joining, or can’t join.
What’s keeping them back?
Dysfunctional public education disqualifies many from service because of the high school diploma (or GED equivalent) requirement. Right now 1 out of 5 students does not finish high school on time. The military, once an option to gain valuable skills while serving the country, is now denied to them.
Increasing obesity rates also remove many potential candidates from the running. To state the obvious, you can’t be fat and join the military; too many physical tasks are required to perform basic duties. We continue to gain weight as a nation and thus, disqualify a growing number of young people every year.

Writing contest for military vets

Social Publishing House (SPH) is hosting a writing contest in July to look for military veterans to share their experiences. SPH is actively seeking military authors to publish by holding monthly writing contests. The contest is for first chapters of a memoir manuscript.

SPH is a startup company that began with the help of The Jonas Project, a non-profit organization that sponsors veteran entrepreneurs. The Project generously sponsored Gilb, a former Marine Corps Logistics Officer, with a grant, mentorship, and promotion to help launch his search for military members to publishing books through their online store.

For more information or to enter, visit

Revised SDAP rates announced

Revisions to Special Duty Assignment Pay (SDAP) for eligible enlisted Sailors were announced in NAVADMIN 156/14 released July 7.

The SDAP program enhances the Navy’s ability to size, shape and stabilize the force by encouraging qualified Sailors to serve in designated Special Duty Assignments (SDAs) for a monetary incentive ranging from $75 to $450 a month.

The update incorporates two additions and several increases to existing SDAPs. Increases to existing SDAP levels are effective upon release of NAVADMIN 156/14.

In order to qualify for SDAP, a service member must be assigned to and working in a valid billet on the command’s Enlisted Distribution Verification Report (EDVR), hold a matching Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC), must be working in the authorized billet, and. the billet must be authorized by the Bureau of Naval Personnel in the latest SDAP NAVADMIN as an SDA billet.

Commanding officers must certify that service members meet all the qualifying criteria established by OPNAVINST 1160.6B, DODINST 1304.27 and NAVADMIN 156/14 prior to a Sailor receiving SDAP. A Sailor must complete all qualifications, including Personal Qualification Standards (PQS) and Under Instruction (UI) watches before they are eligible for SDAP certification.

The annual re-certification required by commands with SDAP billets will begin upon release of the recertification NAVADMIN which will provide guidance for the re-certification process.



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