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History of the Army
Warrant Officer Corps

(Page 4)

d. Revitalization (1957-1975)

In January 1957, a completely new warrant officer concept was announced that:

(1) Affirmed the need for the warrant officer and the continuation of the Warrant Officer Corps.

(2) Stipulated that warrant officer status would not be considered as a reward or incentive for enlisted men or former commissioned officers.

(3) Approved the following warrant officer definition:

"The warrant officer is a highly skilled technician who is provided to fill those positions above the enlisted level which are too specialized in scope to permit the effective development and continued utilization of broadly-trained, branch-qualified commissioned officers."

e. Present Warrant Officer Program

The present Warrant Officer Program was announced in DA Circular 611-7 on 12 April 1960. In addition to stating the 1957 definition of the warrant officer, this publication also outlined utilization policies, criteria for selection of warrant officer positions, and instructions for conversion to the current warrant officer MOS system.

In 1966, a study group formed at the Department of the Army to develop a formal Warrant Officer Career Program that would be responsible to future Army requirements while concurrently offering sufficient career opportunities to attract high quality personnel. The study group examined all aspects of the Warrant Officer Corps and made a number of recommendations in areas such as pay, promotion, utilization, and education. To implement these recommendations, various actions were initiated to provide more career opportunities for warrant officers.

Additional Note: In 1966 the first Warrant Officer Professional Development Program was published in Department of the Army Pamphlet 600-11.

During the 6 years following its initial development, several significant improvements were made into the Warrant Officer Career Program.

In 1967, below-the-zone selection for promotion to grades CW3 and CW4 was implemented.

Additional Note: The initiation of early selection for promotion to the grades of CW3 and CW4 was for a limited number of warrant officers with exceptional performance records.

In 1968, the Regular Army Program was reopened to warrant officer applicants after having been closed for 20 years. Additional changes reduced service eligibility criteria and simplified application procedures.

Since 1968, the military education available to warrant officers has been remarkably expanded. Before then, there was no formal progressive military schooling program for warrant officers. A tri-level education system was established by the end of 1972 that provided training at the basic or entry level for warrant officers in 59 occupational specialties, at the intermediate or mid-career level for 53 specialties, and at the advanced level for 27 specialties.

In 1973, the three levels of training were redesignated from basic, intermediate, and advanced to entry, advanced and senior, respectively. Simultaneously, after successful testing of the concept, the Warrant Officer Senior Course (WOSC) was established to provide all warrant officers with access to the highest level of professional education. In 1973, the Department of the Army a plan to close the gaps in the warrant officer military education system by expanding and modifying the existing advanced courses to accommodate all warrant officer specialties.

Civil schooling opportunities were also increased during this period. The educational goal for warrant officers was upgraded from 2-year college equivalency to an associate degree and warrant officers were authorized entry into fully funded civil school programs. To promote achieving this goal, cooperative degree programs began to be established in the colleges and universities near the installations conducting the warrant officer career courses. In consonance with increased educational opportunities, duty positions requiring warrant officers with master's degrees were validated for the first time by the Army Education Requirements Board.

To forecast and control their assignment and training opportunities, warrant officers were incorporated into the HQDA Projected Requisitioning Authority (PRA), a management tool long used for commissioned officers, but not applied to warrant officers until 1975.

Additional Notes: 1975 welcomed the establishment of the Warrant Officer Division at the Army's Personnel Command, providing a centralized career management center for all warrant officers (excluding those working in Staff Judge Advocate and Medical Corps specialties). 1975 also saw the warrant officer civilian education program (degree completion) authorized and funded by Department of the Army.

By the close of 1975, the Army's capability for professionally developing the Warrant Officer Corps had been significantly expanded and warrant officers were being offered developmental opportunities not available to their predecessors. 

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Information Courtesy of U.S. Army

 

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