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Sun, Feb 11, 2024

Warrant Officers Back in Fashion

Old-School Solution to New-School Problems

The US Air Force is mulling over a return to the Warrant Officer program, which would provide a niche technician class that slots in between the enlisted and officer ranks.

The planning order describing a return of the Warrant Officer role included it among "new ways to develop and retain a "highly capable, technologically capable corps of air-minded warfighters". The document stems from the Air University, and was released as unclassified in the last week of January. It began making the rounds when those with the sense to understand the culture shift began passing it around. Currently, everything is theoretical, and far from set into motion. Aviators will not be drawn from the Warrant Officer cadre, in any case - technical positions only.

"To fully leverage the technical depth and breadth of talent of our airmen and cultivate the strategic advantage USAF technicians have historically provided, we will make the necessary preparations to re-establish a WO corps and deliver foundational training for designated WO-1 candidates,' the document reads. USAF spokespersons refused to weigh in on the issue, too, merely saying that the Secretary of the Air Force would be announcing plans for "re-optimizing for great power competition". (That's the very official water cooler talk for 'keeping up with the Joneses', but for military procurement and readiness.)

The move is just one of many recruiting and retention issues that have bubbled up to the forefront as the global gumbo of geopolitics has heated up. With smoke popping up in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and a smokey scent rising from Pacific, it's understandable why the Air Force could find use for Officers that provide some of the most important functions of an Officer corps, but without the irritating pay and training requirements.

FMI: www.af.mil

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