Gary Sheftick, Army
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An Army study recently released
recommends that warrant officers be fully integrated into the officer
corps, paid more, and recruited in some cases from tech schools and
college ROTC programs.
The study recommends a total of 63 changes to improve the
training, manning and professional development of warrant officers.
Now these recommendations will be reviewed by an Implementation
Process Action Team at the Pentagon, an official said, to determine
exactly how they can be implemented.
The study was conducted by the Army Training and Leader
Development Panel (ATLDP) over
the past year with teams out of Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
More than 7,430 warrant officers and others completed survey
questionnaires for the study and 2,815 soldiers and family members
participated in focus group discussions or in-depth interviews
conducted at 75 locations worldwide.
One recommendation resulting from the study is that each branch
establish a chief warrant officer position. Six of the 15 branches
that have warrants already have such a position, according to Chief
Warrant Officer 5 John Sparkman, director of the ATLDP warrant
officer study. He said the aviation branch was the latest one to
establish such a position.
"The big holistic view is stronger identity as part of the
officer corps, and of the branch to which they are associated."
Warrant Officer 5 John Sparkman,
Director of the
ATLDP Warrant Officer Study
Sparkman said one of the biggest recommendations of the study
is to change the "mindset" of the Army's Training and
Doctrine Command by eliminating the separate warrant-officer education
system and melding it into the officer education system.
He said warrants should attend the officer basic and advanced
courses right along with lieutenants and captains.
Combining the education systems is just part of integrating
warrants into the officer corps, Sparkman said, a process begun in the
1980s but never completed.
Since 1987, chief warrant officers have been commissioned.
But Warrant Officer 1s (WO1s) are still appointed by warrant.
One of the panel's recommendations is to commission warrants
immediately upon graduating candidate school or their officer basic
"Some will feel like we're losing our identity, but that's
just not the case," said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Mike Adair of
the Army's G-3 Training and Leader Development Division.
"A lot of people would look at the recommendations and a
knee-jerk reaction would be that warrants are becoming more
generalists," Sparkman said. "That's not true at all. It's
just the opposite."
All education and career-progression would be branch-specific,
Sparkman said, if the panel's recommendations are implemented.
In fact, the panel recommends elimination of the separate
warrant officer division at Personnel Command so that all assignments
would be managed by the 15 branches.
Warrant officers would wear their branch insignia, instead of
the warrant "rising eagle" on their collars.
"The big holistic view is stronger identity as part of the
officer corps, and of the branch to which they are associated,"
said Sparkman, who is also in the warrant officer leader development
position at Leavenworth's Center for Army Leadership.
"Many commanders and soldiers today don't know the
difference between a CW2 and a CW4 and figure a warrant is a
warrant," Sparkman said. He explained that establishing an
education progression that officers understand will lead to commanders
knowing how to better employ warrants.
About 21,300 warrant officers are in the Army today - and they
comprise about 2 percent of the total force.
Fifty-four percent of warrant officers are in the active force,
33 percent are in the Army National Guard, and 13 percent are in the
Army Reserve. Warrant officers serve in every branch except infantry
and armor. More than half of
all warrant officers serve in combat arms and 48 percent serve in the
aviation field as pilots, maintenance technicians, safety officers and
in other aviation specialties.
The study shows the Army is having problems recruiting warrant
officers to serve in three intelligence fields, and to be Criminal
Investigative Division (CID) agents. It also shows that the Army is
having trouble retaining warrants in some aviation fields and in
One recommendation of the study is to recruit civilians with
technical expertise for some warrant-offer technical fields.
For instance, Sparkman said law-enforcement officers could be
recruited as CID agents. And
he said the Army and the ROTC Command might look to computer schools
and other trade institutes to recruit for warrant officers in the
Increasing the pay difference between warrant officers and NCOs
would also help recruiting for warrants, Sparkman said.
He explained that there was a 13-percent pay jump from staff
sergeant to WO1 when he became a warrant officer.
Now there's only a 5.5 percent difference.
And he said there's no increase in pay when going from sergeant
first class to warrant officer.
When asked in a survey, "What would you tell the chief of
staff of the Army is the most important change he can make to warrant
officer training and leader development?" the top five responses
were in the areas of the warrant officer education system, pay and
compensation, the role of the warrant officer, technical/military
occupational skill training, and insufficient resources.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki chartered the ATLDP
in June 2000. He
instructed the panel, which convened at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., to
examine issues affecting training and leader development, and
empowered the panel to examine appropriate institutions, processes,
tools and the environment.
The warrant officer study is actually the third conducted by
the ATLDP and is part of the largest self-assessment ever done by the
Army, officials said. It
follows studies of the commissioned-officer and the NCO corps.
The panel completed Phase I (Officer Study) in May of 2001, and
Phase II (NCO Study) in May 2002.
The Army instituted a management process under the proponency
of the Army G-3 to determine the feasibility, suitability, and
acceptability of the recommendations.
The ATLDP is also continuing its mission by examining
Department of the Army civilians (Phase IV).