Yokosuka, Japan. (Sept. 14, 2023): In this photo by Seaman Kyree Rogers, Senior Chief Aviation Ordnance specialist Cody Shaw, from Kingstree, South Carolina, proctors as Sailors take the Navy-wide Advancement Exam (NWAE), a key step to eventual promotion. These sailors are assigned to the Ronald Reagan, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5 operating in the Indo-Pacific region.
For enlisted Sailors, advancement in the ranks is in part determined by how high they score on the NWAE. Given twice a year, the NWAE consists of 175 total questions concerning a Sailor’s occupational rating and is used as an unbiased measure to rank qualified candidates for advancement.
There are two windows throughout the year to take the NWAE; Spring and Fall for E4 to E6 candidates, and January/February for Chief candidates.
In this system, Sailors compete for promotion against others within the same “rating” or occupation allowing only a small percentage to advance among the many who take the test. The competition is so intense, many advancements are achieved with only a hundredth of a point margin. This is not a one-time deal, however, as Sailors can retake the exam in the next cycle so long as they remain eligible for advancement.
Exams like the NWAE ensure the Navy promotes the best and the brightest to defend the nation.