Frequently Asked Questions

USCG Specific Frequently Asked Questions

For additional coronavirus questions not covered in these FAQ or that your chain of command cannot answer, please e-mail To ensure the most timely response, please identify yourself (i.e. military member, civilian, Auxiliarist, contractor, family member) in your e-mail inquiry. 

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SWEs/Boards/Advancement FAQs



D32 (formerly Q1) Q: Why is the Coast Guard canceling the May 2020 Service-wide Examination (SWE)?

A: In an effort to remain in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), White House social distancing guidelines, and accommodate those service members who have been or will be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the May 2020 SWE has been cancelled. The health and well-being of our entire workforce is our top priority, but it’s also our duty to ensure a fair and equitable advancement process. The next SWE is scheduled for November 2020 and will include testing for E5 through E8.


D33 (formerly Q3) Q: Why not just move the May 2020 SWE back by a few months?

A: Given the dynamic uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and to not interfere with the associated implications of moving deadlines (e.g. transfer season and the advancement cycle), moving to November 2020 was the best action.


D34 (formerly Q4) Q: Can the SWE just be administered in small groups?

A: Last May, nearly 11,000 service members took the SWE. It would be logistically impossible to accommodate all 11,000 test takers in very small groups. Also, any members who may be in quarantine or self-isolation would not be able to fairly compete.


D35 (formerly Q5) Q: Do you anticipate postponing/canceling the Reserve 2020 SWE?

A: Not at this time, although events are dynamic at this point. We will reevaluate as the situation evolves.


D36 (formerly Q6) Q: I am concerned I will reach my Professional Growth Point (PGP) and become a High Year Tenure (HYT) candidate. How will this affect HYT and my PGP?

A: There will be no changes to the HYT policy until a thorough workforce analysis is conducted to determine service impacts and needs. Once that analysis is conducted, we will follow up with a determination on whether adjustments to the HYT and PGP policy are needed


D37 (formerly Q7) Q: I was previously identified as a HYT candidate last year and am scheduled to retire or separate in September 2020. Does this change my retirement or separation date?

A: No, members with retirement or separation orders should continue to prepare accordingly.


D38 (formerly Q8) Q: I am currently serving on a HYT waiver and filling a service need. How does this apply to me?

A: It does not. You should continue to serve as outlined in the provisions of your HYT waiver approval.


D39 (formerly Q9) Q: If I was eligible for the May 2020 SWE, am I automatically eligible for the November 2020 SWE?

A: No. Each SWE has its own individual timeline and requirements. You must continue to maintain your eligibility in accordance with COMDTINST M1000.2(series) and other advancement eligibility requirements.


D40 (formerly Q10) Q: I am a BM3. Will I still be required to be placed on the BM2 supplemental list for advancement to BM2?

A: Yes, the Coast Guard still requires the use of a BM2 supplemental. That is not forecasted to change prior to the November 2020 SWE.


D41 (formerly Q11) Q: Will this reduce the number of people advanced in 2020 and 2021?

A: EPM will continue to advance to vacancy utilizing the two active advancement lists. However, cancelling the May 2020 SWE should not reduce the number of forecasted advancements.


D42 (formerly Q12) Q: How will the Coast Guard fill vacancies without a May 2020 SWE? *Updated 6/19/2020*

A: EPM uses multiple advancement lists to fill service needs and vacancies. Advancements during calendar year 2020 will not be impacted due to the cancellation of the May 2020 SWE. The May 2019 SWE advancement list for E7 and above will remain active until June 2021. The May 2019 SWE advancement list for E5 and E6 will remain active until June 2020, and on 1 July 2020, the November 2019 SWE advancement list will become active. As a result of canceling the May 2020 SWE, the November 2020 SWE list will become active 1 July 2021 for E-5 to E-8.


D43 (formerly Q13) Q: Why has the Master Chief Advancement Panel (MCAP) been postponed?

A: In an effort to remain in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and White House social distancing guidelines, as well as instituted official restrictions, the MCAP is postponed to later in the year. Our top priority is for the health and well-being of the entire workforce, but we also have a duty to ensure a fair and equitable advancement process.


D44 (formerly Q14) Q: When is the MCAP being moved to?

A: The target for the re-scheduled MCAP will be Fall 2020, but given the dynamic nature of current events, we will remain flexible.


D45 (formerly Q15) Q: Since the MCAP has been shifted to the fall 2020, will I (E8) need to take a SWE for E9?

A: No. Any changes to the MCAP or changes to the November 2020 SWE will be announced by ALCGENL.


D46 (formerly Q17) Q: Will scheduled OER/EERs be affected or delayed? *Updated 4/1/2020*

A: No, there are no changes expected for 2020 OER/EER submissions. 


D47 (formerly Q18) Q: Will scheduled boards/panels be affected or delayed?

A: OPM and RPM remain focused on completing the Promotion Year 2020 (PY20) promotion board and panel season. Due to national guidance on social distancing, OPM and RPM will conduct many of the remaining PY20 boards and panels virtually. The process and standards will remain the same, however, they will follow additional security protocols. The Personnel Service Center (PSC) will communicate guidance to service members on any changes and updates to pending PY20 boards and panels via CG messages (e.g. updates to PSCNOTE 1401).

PSC is still developing the PY21 boards and panels schedule, but expects timelines to remain consistent with PY20 timelines. PSC will release the final schedule via CG message.


D48 (formerly Q19) Q: I’m supposed to be frocked for my new assignment, but Senate confirmations have not yet occurred for my paygrade.  Do OPM or RPM have an idea as to when they will take place?

A: See PSC’s guidance on frocking in ALCGPSC 018/20, as well as any updates to confirmation status on the OPM-1 Portal page.