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NEWS | Sept. 4, 2020

Navy Removes Photographs From All Officer Boards

By By MC1 Mark D. Faram, Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

The Navy will no longer show officer service record photos during promotion, selection and assignment boards.

Announced in NAVADMIN 247/20, the change took effect Sept. 1, as a way to eliminate the possibility of bias in the service’s board process.

“We are working through Task Force One Navy to eliminate systemic prejudice and bias in the Navy,” said Vice Adm. John B. Nowell, Jr., the Navy’s chief of personnel.

“This immediate action will ensure no intentional or unconscious bias, based on race, ethnicity, gender or national origin, is any part the career decisions we make about our people.”

The Navy’s policy change is based on direction from Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in his July 14 Memorandum titled “Immediate Actions to Address Diversity, Inclusion, and Equal Opportunity in the Military Services.” 

These changes, including removing photographs from selection processes in all services, are intended to address existing issues “within policies, programs, and processes to improve diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity for our Service members,” Esper wrote.

A revision is now in the works to Military Personnel Manual (MILPERSMAN) Article 1070-020, which discusses the Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) for officers, to reflect the elimination of  photographs being shown at selection boards.

The message also states that the change in board policy does not eliminate the ongoing requirement for officers to maintain a current photograph in their official service record.

All officers, regardless of status, in both the Regular Navy and the Navy Reserve, are required to update their official photo within three months of accepting a new promotion. Points of contact for any questions are in NAVADMIN 247/20.

More information on how officer photographs are to be taken and submitted to Navy Personnel Command is available in MILPERSMAN Article 1070-180.

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