authored by Nicholas Nemeth and Joshua Rasor
The Navy Warrant Officer plays a vital role in today’s Navy. In it’s over 200-year history, there aren’t many places where the Navy, as an organization, has defined the role of the Navy Warrant Officer. Today, the definition can be found in the annual LDO/CWO Procurment Boards NAVADMIN. CWOs provide specific technical expertise and leadership skills in support of the unrestricted line, restricted line, and staff corps communities (NAVADMIN 144/16, 2016).
Other than the annual NAVADMIN, there aren’t many places where official definitions of the Navy Warrant Officer can be found. Through my research, I have found four publications that discuss the role of the Navy Warrant Officer.
The first book is the The Naval Officer’s Guide. (3rd ed.), authored by Commander Arther A. Ageton, U.S. Navy. In this book, the Warrant Officer is discussed as they relate to the forces afloat in the Navy of the United States. Commander Arthur A. Ageton, U.S. Navy, wrote:
Since considerable intelligence is required to pass the very strict examinations for promotion to warrant officer and since only men with the best service records are allowed to compete, the warrant and chief warrant officers of the Navy as a group possess the most detailed practical knowledge of the complicated mechanisms of our modern Navy and include in their ranks many of the finest specialists in the Navy. Thus promotion to chief and warrant ranks provide a fitting reward to outstanding enlisted men for excellence in their performance of duty. Many warrant officers of the regular Navy have won temporary promotion to ranks higher than lieutenant (Ageton, 1944).
The author then goes on to enlighten the reader on how other Navy Officers should perceive Warrant Officers. Commander Arthur A. Ageton, U.S. Navy, wrote:
The individual warrant officer thus affords a walking store of information and expert guidance for others in the service. The young officer, new to the Navy, cannot do better than to consult these experts for assistance within the fields of their specialties (Ageton, 1944).
The second book is the Division Officer’s Guide, (4th ed.), authored by Captain John V. Noel, JR., U.S. Navy. In this book, the author explains that the Navy’s rank does not represent a constant and fixed set of values. The author uses Warrant Officers as an example. Captain John V. Noel, JR., U.S. Navy, wrote
Navy warrant officers, while technically junior to ensigns and junior lieutenants, actually represent a group of seasoned, responsible, and skillful officers who exert a much greater influence than their broken stripes would indicate. Many warrants held a higher wartime rank and have refused promotion to the rank of ensign because they desired to serve only in their original specialty and to retain their retirement advantage as warrant officers. Unfortunately, the slight increate in pay in the rank of ensign is not sufficient inducement to encourage the advancement in rank of many warrant officers. Warrant officers are an exceptionally able group of officers who have a detailed knowledge of their specialty and a wealth of experience in the Navy. A newly commissioned ensign or junior lieutenant should tread verily lightly in dealing with these wise old-timers; he should solicit their advice on technical matters and their guidance in dealing with naval problems. Warrant officers, proud of their special skills and long service, are always glad to help a young officer get squared away in his new job (Noel, 1959).
The next year was the first of a few years in which the Navy temporarily phased out the Warrant Officer ranks. The third book was released this year (1960), The Naval Officer’s Guide. (5th ed.), authored by Rear Admiral Aurther A. Ageton, U.S. Navy (retired), and Captain William P. Mack, U.S. Navy. The authors explained the termination of Warrant Officer promotion but still spoke of Warrants in very high regards.
In 1960 the procurement of additional warrant officers was terminated. Outstanding enlisted men will now be advanced to commissioned warrant officer rank as limited duty officers or through other programs for which they are eligible. Warrant officers possess detailed practical knowledge of their specialty and include in their ranks many of the finest specialists in the Navy (Ageton & Mack, 1960).
The last book is The Bluejackets’ Manual, (19th ed.), authored by the U.S. Navy. This brief mention resembles the definition from the previously discussed book. Warrant officers and commissioned warrant officers have advanced through the enlisted ranks in various technical specialties and probably posses the most detailed practical knowledge of the modern Navy (The Bluejackets’ Manual, 1973).
While the role of Navy Warrant Officer may not be well documented, existing documentation shows that the Navy Warrant Officers is a seasoned, responsible, and skillful officer whom provides a walking store of information and expert guidance for others in the service. In addition, existing publications show that Navy Warrant Officers are promoted from outstanding enlisted men for excellence in their performance of duty. Finally, the Navy does not represent a constant and fixed set of values in regards to rank structure, which can be seen from what the Navy Warrant Officers are and what they provide.
Ageton, A. (1944). The Naval Officer’s Guide. (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.
Ageton, A., Mack, W. (1960) The Naval Officer’s Guide. (5th ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute.
The Bluejackets’ Manual, (19th ed.). (1973). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press.
FY-18 Active-Duty Limited Duty Officer and Chief Warrant Officer In-Service Procurement Boards (2016). NAVADMIN 144/16. Retrieved August, 28, 2016, from http://www.thenavycwo.com/applicants/guidance-and-instructions/fy-specific-guidance/fy-18/send/5-fy-18/24-navadmin-16-144-fy-18-active-duty-ldo-cwo-in-service-procurement-boards
Noel, J. (1959). Division Officer’s Guide, (4th ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute.