W-5 - CW5
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Perhaps the rarest rank in the United States Army, the rank and title of Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CW5) is given to those soldiers displaying unsurpassed mastery of the technical and tactical aspects of their chosen branch of military service.
In addition, CW5's show very strong leadership skills as well as an understanding of both combined and joint operations in tandem with a demonstrated understanding of and willingness to attempt innovation.
CW5's are recognized as the most capable of leaders in the Warrant Officer Corps and the undisputed most knowledgeable tactical and technical experts in their chosen craft in the units in which they serve.
Soldiers holding the rank of CW5 serve at unit levels from brigade up to forces command.
The duties and responsibilities that CW5's discharge include all those assigned to CW4's, such serving as technical experts and leaders, systems managers, sustainment providers and experts, systems and unit integrators, advisors, and maintainers.
In addition to being charged with ensuring that all these duties and responsibilities are executed, CW5's are also tasked with advisor senior leaders in the Army. More specifically, they are looked to for insight on how the Army could better function both internally and as a member of the whole military power of the United States.
Although rarely recognized publicly or lauded for their contributions, CW5's are invaluable to the functioning of the Army in the present but also as it adapts to a changing world and the future.
Best part of holding this rank
CW5s are a grade which only 4 percent of all Warrant Officers ever attain and usually they don't have any direct role models. This is due to the "grey area" that they occupy between commissioned officers and enlisted personnel. Although they may derive inspiration from those around them, almost no other member of their unit deals with the unique technical, tactical and advisory positions they occupy. However, younger commissioned officers are wise to use CW5s as mentors and teachers, despite technically outranking them.
Worst part of holding this rank
What are the worst parts of holding this rank?
Advice on how to be selected for this rank
CW5s are generally promoted from CW4 ranks, although promotions may occur -- like with any other grade increase -- based on merit and exemplary performance. Warrant Officers regardless of grade may look to becoming commissioned officers if they so desire, applying to these roles through Officer Candidate School. Many Chiefs have attained higher officer positions to Major and above. CW5s are promoted into these slots through a highly selective and competitive screening and application process, ultimately decided on by a dedicated panel.
Becoming a CW5
All prospective CW5s should attend the Warrant Officer Senior Service Education, a component of the Warrant Officer Career College at Fort Rucker, Alabama. This course is five total weeks in duration, teaching advanced academics on strategy and tactics. The course is two phases, one comprising a distributed learning or DL phase, followed by an intensive four-week resident phase. The course is the culmination military professional education for only the most senior Warrant Officers in the Army. The end result are prospective CW5s with a broad knowledge of full-spectrum military operations.