NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- The White House has officially endorsed the Navy's plan to get rid of time-honored enlisted ratings for sailors.

Opponents of the idea gathered more than 103,000 signatures on the "We The People" petition page, seeking a reversal of the decision.

Under the plan, enlisted sailors will, in the future, be addressed only by rank, in the same manner that other members of other services are recognized. For example, lower-ranked sailors will be called seamen, mid-grade enlisted sailors will be addressed as petty officers and the highest-ranking enlisted sailors will be known as chiefs.

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus have pushed for overhaul, saying it will make sailors more flexible and improve their chances of success in post-military careers.

In its response, the White House said he change will "improve sailors' chances for success."

In a posting today, the White House wrote:

"Thank you for adding your name to this We the People petition and for
your concern regarding the men and women who serve in the United States
Navy. The Navy's recent announcement about Navy Occupational Specialties
has garnered attention from many veterans and supporters like you who
cherish naval tradition."
This new classification system, which was produced by a comprehensive
review led by the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy and his senior
enlisted leadership, moves toward occupational specialties titles
similar to the other armed services. Modernizing this system provides
many benefits within the Navy, such as increased flexibility in training
and assignments. It also affords our Sailors opportunities when
transitioning to the civilian workforce by aligning their specialties
with civilian occupations.
This Administration believes that providing widely-recognized credentials
will improve service members' chances of success in the private sector.
Improving hiring opportunities for veterans remains a high priority for
this Administration, embodied in efforts such as the First Lady and Dr.
Biden's "Joining Forces" initiative
Organizational changes that require a cultural shift can cause friction
during transition periods, but the President has confidence in the
decisions made by U.S. Navy leaders and agrees that the benefits in future years
will outweigh growing pains in the next several months. Whether one's
Navy career occurred under the former rating structure or today's
modernized system, the President maintains his steadfast pride in Sailors
who have sacrificed and worked hard to serve with distinction.