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Air Force Taking Air Guard Warrant Officer Applications

04-30-24 WR Warrant Officers WEBSITE
04-30-24 WR Warrant Officers WEBSITE
Washington Report

The Air Force is now taking applications from airmen who rank staff sergeant (E-5) and above to be the service’s first new warrant officers in 65 years.

Cyber and information technology will be the Air Force's first warrant-officer career fields. Applications will be accepted until May 31, the service announced April 25.

The inaugural training class will consist of up to 60 warrant officer candidates, including 12 from the Air Guard and three from the Air Force Reserve, according to the National Guard Bureau.

A selection board will identify the program's top candidates, who will be notified that they've been chosen in late July, the Air Force said. The selection board is scheduled to meet June 24 to June 28.

The selected candidates will attend warrant officer training school starting in fall 2024 or early 2025 at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. There will be 30 candidates in each of the program's two classes.

The school's graduates will serve as "technical experts, functional leaders, advisors, professionals, and risk managers, contributing to the overall proficiency of their organizations," the Air Force added.

The Air Guardsmen who complete WOTS will have a reserve service commitment of five years out from their graduation date, NGB noted.

The Army, Navy and Marine Corps all currently have warrant officers who specialize in various fields.

The Air Force also had warrant officers in its early years, but the service began phasing out this type of airman in 1958 after Congress authorized the grades of E-8 and E-9 across the military.

After this change, senior master sergeants and chief master sergeants then took on many traditional warrant-officer responsibilities.

The last Air Force reservist who was also a warrant officer retired in 1992, according to the Warrant Officer Historical Foundation. This reservist's retirement happened 12 years after the Air Force's last active-duty warrant officer retired, the WOHF added.

The Air Force is bringing back warrant officers to ramp up the service's technical and operational expertise in specialties it considers critical to potential future conflicts.

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall announced warrant officers would be returning to the service on Feb. 12 at the Air and Space Forces Association’s 2024 Warfare Symposium in Aurora, Colorado.

Kendall said the move would happen in conjunction with the Air Force's plan to reoptimize for great power competition.

"We need operational units with all the capabilities they need to deter and compete with our pacing challenges and ready to enter a conflict on short or no notice," he said.

"In those units we need the right mix of skills necessary for high end combat and to ensure technological superiority, particularly in information technology and cyber," Kendall added.

Further details about the Air Force's warrant-officer eligibility and application requirements are available here.

— By John Goheen