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Chiefs Selection Board Preparation


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The Selection Board Process

The Chief's rank in the U.S. Navy is perhaps one of the most elite enlisted groups rank wise that exists for any Navy in the world. With that said, making Chief is not for everyone. One of the first steps is to consider whether you are ready to join the Chief's Mess.

Don't Forget the Exam

Before I get to the other stuff it should be emphasized that one should take the E-7 exam seriously and make an effort to continuously study for the test. I have heard it on occasion that the Sailor did not know the exam was taken into account for the Chief's selection. Comments that I have heard include "I didn't know" to "well; the test should not be taken seriously if you are going to be a Chief." It does count, and you should take the exam seriously if you want to make rank. Also consider that you will be expected to be the expert in your rate and studying will help you achieve that if you commit yourself.

Prepare, Correct and Update Your Records

Perhaps the biggest thing an enlisted Sailor can do is to fix and update their records to match what they have achieved in the fleet. Showing the selection board what you have done in the Navy is a vital aspect in helping them decide if you get selected or not. What is important to know is that the ones who have the best records will be the ones who make it. With that in mind, it is critical to know how to find errors in your records, what records to look at and how to correct and update your records. Additionally, do not assume that information is automatically entered into your military records - you need to verify!

The best way to learn how to correct and update your records is to get help from your chain of command and to ask your peers for advice. NPC will usually publish information on how to fix your records and the Navy Enlisted Forum is also a great resource for asking questions (and giving advice!) Remember - keep your records up-to-date and come up with a long term plan on how you will correct, verify and update your records. Those that do make it an effort to fix their records have the advantage.

Qualifications, Education and Assignments

Back to more familiar territory, most Sailors know that seeking more challenging assignments, getting an education and getting qualifications are good for one's career. Questions that crop up are what are the more valid qualifications or assignments? The answer depends on your rate and rank. So the best advice will most likely come from your command and in particular, a Chief in the same rate.


While your military records speak of what you have achieved, your evaluations speak of your performance and your traits. One of the goals, other than getting a good set of evals, is Sustained Superior Performance. What sustained superior performance means is that you have perform at a higher level continuously over a period of time over your peers throughout the Navy. This lends to your credibility as a future leader in the Navy. Some Sailors will say that they already have SSP. The fact is that no one will know except the board members for that particular board! Remember that they are vetting all eligible Chiefs in the Navy and that is information you are not privy to. Strive to self-evaluation yourself and improve on your weak areas. If possible write your own evals since you know yourself better than anyone else. It will also make it easier for your supervisor.

Putting it All Together

Hopefully, from this page you have gathered a plan of attack on becoming a Chief Petty Officer of the United States (Doesn't that sound nice?).

You should strive to do the following:

  • Study long-term for the exam
  • Verify and fix your records
  • Seek qualifications, training & assignments
  • Improve your evals and maintain "Sustained Superior Performance"
  • Make sure your Sailors are training and qualifying under your supervision and that they are documenting it!

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Instructions & Messages

  • BUPERSINST 1401.5C - Supplemental Guidance for U.S. Navy Selection Boards
  • NAVADMIN 050/21 - FY-22 Navy Active-Duty and Reserve Enlisted Advancement Selection Boards for Chief Petty Officer

Chief's Selection Board

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