Posted on Jul 1, 2017
MSgt Weather Craftsman
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Lt Col Jim Coe
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Edited 3 y ago
Based on the experience of the other Services, I believe it's time for the Air Force to bring back WOs. The basic assumption must be that WOs are experts in their field, but not leaders in the chain of command. There are many areas in which WOs might serve as the most senior experts in their field. Here's my list of possible areas in which WOs might work out well IMO:
-Intelligence
-Criminal investigation
-Legal (paralegals)
-Nurses (2-year degree/ADN)
-Deployment planning
-Mission Command
-Drone Operations (drone pilots)
-Airborne battle command, ISR, electronic warfare, and gunnery
-Aircraft Operations (pilots)

A few of these require some explanation.

Criminal investigation. AFOSI agents often work in civilian clothing and seldom don a uniform with their real rank and name. Some are enlisted and some are officers. This is a good career field for WOs because the investigators that come up through the enlisted ranks could move up to WO and handle the difficult investigations. As WOs they wouldn't need to worry about advancing though the command structure, but focus on their job.

Paralegals don't require a bachelors degree to be certified and licensed in most states. Their help in legal offices is very valuable to the AF members because they do a lot of routine legal stuff and can be more available than lawyers. A WO would be the most expert of paralegals and provide technical guidance to other paralegals.

-Nurses. Many community colleges educate Associate Degree Nurses (ADN) (2-year degree). Most states will grant them an RN if they pass the test. The Air Force could hire them as WOs. BSN (4-year degree) nurses would still come in as commissioned officers, the AF would need fewer of these to fill the supervisory and command positions only.

Airborne battle command, etc. These are the people who work in the back of aircraft with "E" or "M"in their designation, such as E-3, EC-130, MC-130. Enlisted personnel in these specialties would have a chance to advance to WOs. In some cases they might be able to replace commissioned officers is some mission areas. Also allow a similar pathway for enlisted who are gunners and sensor operators in the AC-130s.

Pilots. The Army has a well developed Aviation Warrant program. The Air Force could model a similar program for its pilot force. WO drone operators could replace more expensive commissioned officer drone pilots. As for manned aircraft, many pilots would jump at the chance to only perform their operational duty, flying, for an entire career. Because they won't be competing to be Chief of Staff of the AF, they will concentrate on flying the aircraft and air operations. They could be instructors and evaluators, flight lead qualified, but never "commanders."
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Dave Jones
Dave Jones
3 mo
Where is the IT field in this list? That is a perfect place for a cadre of warrant officers.
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Cpl Kenneth Ledbetter
Cpl Kenneth Ledbetter
3 mo
After I got out of the Marines, I got a 5 year Bach. of Architecture. I found after a few years that there are a ton of super smart people who never got a formal education, so they wouldn’t be able get a regular commission in the services, but where far smarter than many I knew who were officers. So, I think the WO system is a way to keep talent in the services. I also learn that some people are educated far beyond there intelligence.
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1SG Walter Craig
1SG Walter Craig
3 mo
In todays fast moving pace it is the best way to keep quality individuals in the nesccary fields, Hell yes.
(1)
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Maj Pete Siegel
Maj Pete Siegel
1 mo
I was a linguist (208/1A8 AFSC) for 14 years before going to OTS. I knew many NCOs who would rather sit rack or transcribe than do the managerial work, They were great technicians, but not interested in what they would have to do as a SNCO. Back in the 70s, a favorite USAFSS senior officer tried to bring back the warrant officer program for these guys, especially those who were Airborne Mission Supervisors, ground site Surveillance & Warning Center Supervisors, and the like. It was fun when I would walk out on the Ops floor and one of the guys would say, "El-tee, tell me what you hear."
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SrA Mike Holovacs
31
31
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Why not make the remote pilots Warrants?
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SrA Mike Holovacs
SrA Mike Holovacs
3 y
It's a great way to reinforce the elitism of the manned pilot corps...<tongue only half in cheek>
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SMSgt Lawrence McCarter
SMSgt Lawrence McCarter
>1 y
That actually sounds like a pretty good idea !
(1)
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1SG Walter Craig
1SG Walter Craig
3 mo
I agree. Warrant Officer Corp in the army takes about 9 months to train. I am sure the unmanned drones can be no less difficult to operate. Probable more so because of the delay of input to response. Retention of those personnel would save lot of money in the budget.
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SSG John Stinson
SSG John Stinson
1 mo
They are not Pilots. They are Operators but really just gamers who don't know its real
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LCDR Chief, Investions Division
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Many of the other services have them and they are effective as SMEs. I personally would choose to have them. My last assignment I had a senior level shop with CWOs and O-3s. They CWOs can concentrate on the mission while the JOs get pulled left and right for other tasking.
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SSG Environmental Specialist
SSG (Join to see)
3 y
I never understood why the Branch with the most technical MOS's did not have WO's.
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CPT Lawrence Cable
CPT Lawrence Cable
3 y
The other option would be to go Navy and go to LDO's, which as far as I can tell, serves the same purpose even if the Navy does still have Warrant Officers.
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CW2 Wendell Karrick
CW2 Wendell Karrick
>1 y
They would be an asset to the air force
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LCDR Aviation Maintenance Duty Officer
LCDR (Join to see)
1 mo
CPT Lawrence Cable - While LDOs and Warrants look like they serve the same purpose, they're actually quite different. LDOs follow a career path similar to other officers for the same rank. Warrants fill the same set of billets for the rest of their careers.

Take aviation maintenance for example. LDOs, CWOs, and restricted line (1520 - Aviation Maintenance Duty Officer) all start out filling the same billets - Detachment Maintenance Officer, Maintenance/Material Control Officer, Material Control Officers, Assistant Maintenance Officer, and production division officers (Squadrons and I-level for the last one). In fact, it's not uncommon for a 1520 to relieve a CWO and be relieved by an LDO.

At the O-4 level, the 1520 and LDO basically become too senior to take those jobs and they start doing department-head level tours. The LDO, though, just keeps doing the same job over and over again.

Often, the decision as to whether to apply for LDO or CWO comes down to that issue - does the Sailor want to risk promoting out of the squadron maintenance role? Many don't - they want to stay as close to the deckplates as possible, and the Navy finds value in that.
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