WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 23, 2014) – As the Army continues its drawdown, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III has shared many messages to educate and prepare the enlisted force for likely changes. One of those messages to Soldiers is to consider a new military occupational specialty if their current one is over-strength.
During the meeting with Army Senior Warrant Officer Council, representing the major branches and agencies from the active and reserve components, at their annual meeting in the Pentagon, Thursday, he had a slightly different message.
“We all know that most of our warrant officers come from our NCO corps, so I ask that you continue that tradition now,” Chandler said. “Many NCOs will be asked to change their MOS (military occupational specialty) over the next few years, but another option for some might be to serve as a technical expert in your warrant officer corps.”
Although warrant officers have not had a Qualitative Service Program, or QSP, board to date, there are discussions to have one.
“It’s a very good possibility,” Chief Warrant Officer 5 Arland Jackson, G-1 said. But, there are also opportunities for those seeking to become a warrant in specific technical specialties for those who act quickly.
The deadline for the November 2014 Warrant Officer Selection Board has been extended to Oct. 24 for the following MOSs: 140A, 140E, 150A, 350F, 350G, 351L, 351M, 352N, 914A, and 921A.
According to the Warrant Officer Recruiting website, the Army is “significantly short applicants” for these career fields.
It goes on to state that, “if you have the prerequisite experience for these Warrant Officer MOSs and the desire to submit a packet, then your chances of being selected on the first board of FY 15 is extremely high!”
Detailed information about these opportunities can be found at:
ROLE OF THE WARRANT OFFICER
In addition to recruiting NCOs, warrant officers also have a responsibility in developing junior NCOs in their ranks, Chandler said.
“Your expertise is unmatched,” Chandler said. “We’ve got a responsibility to ensure our young Soldiers are really getting that knowledge and wisdom. I’d think that would be what would inspire the right types of people to have become warrants, no matter what the background.”
While warrants are busy mentoring junior Soldiers, they also need to be advocating more for their own continuing education opportunities, despite this resource-constrained environment, Chandler advised. Too often, warrants are literally the “quiet professionals.”
Those quiet professionals can be found in some 70 MOSs across the components, Jackson said after the meeting. There are about 15,000 warrant officers in the Army, making up around 2.4 percent of the total force, and close to 15 percent of the officer corps, he said. Most of these warrant officers previously served as enlisted Soldiers.
“A Soldier’s desire to do something should spur them to look toward greater technical expertise in whatever their MOS is,” he said, referring to the technical expertise that is a trademark of warrants.
However, just because someone has the technical expertise to go forward doesn’t mean they also have the ethical and moral background to become a warrant, he added.
At the end of his visit, Chandler took questions from the audience, and the Army’s use of QSP boards was a hot topic.
“No discipline issues at all are considered for QSP,” Chandler emphasized, in response to a question about the drawdown. “Basically, your performance and your potential for future positions of responsibility are weighed against your peers.”
Two years ago, the QSP separated about 100 sergeants first class to sergeants major, last year about 200, this year about 500, which will include staff sergeants, next year it could be about 2,000, and the year after that could be about 8,000, he said. “It’s all tied to force structure.”
QSP boards are “completely driven” by the same criteria used in promotion boards, Chandler explained. Those same members on a selection board first chose those who should be promoted and then they get the remainder of those that they did not select for promotion and they review those records.
The Army is not going to need as many maintainers or logisticians for the brigade combat teams as before, because some BCTs are being eliminated, he said, “so we’ve slowed those promotion rates down.”
Soldiers selected by QSP boards who are retirement eligible can retire. If they’re within two years, the Army will keep them until they are retirement eligible. For those with 17 years or less they’ll get earlier retirement at reduced rate, Chandler said, regarding how QSP affects senior Soldiers.
In recent years, the Army has also dialed back the number of years one can stay in the Army without a promotion.
“If you’ve got 12 years in the Army and you’re still a sergeant, your potential for the future is limited at best,” Chandler explained. “You’ll probably retire as a staff sergeant. Our model for a successful career in the Army is to have 20 years of service, be retirement eligible, and having attained the rank of sergeant first class — although staff sergeants are still eligible to retire — if they’re worthy to retire.”
“The thing that we’ve tried to protect is that we give (those selected for separation) a year’s time to prepare so they get full Army Career & Alumni Program transition benefits and assistance,” he noted.