By David Ruderman, U.S. Army Human Resources Command Public AffairsSeptember 1, 2015
FORT KNOX, Kentucky (Aug. 28, 2015) -- The Army Staff Senior Warrant Officer met with U.S. Army Human Resources Command leaders and branch manager warrant officers during a visit to the Maude Complex Aug. 26.
Chief Warrant Officer 5 David Williams was at Fort Knox to attend the 2015 Warrant Officer and Recruiting and Accessions Summit, hosted by U.S. Army Recruiting Command Aug. 25-26. The gathering brought together a diverse body of warrant proponent stakeholders for a comprehensive discussion and review of procedures, guidelines and accession goals. Williams attended the summation brief to USAEREC Deputy Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Donna W. Martin.
The discussion came as the Department of the Army considers approval of Warrant Officer 2025, a strategy for the future of the cohort that is presently under review by the highest level of leadership, Williams said.
"It's been vetted across the Army and now it is at Headquarters, Department of the Army at the Pentagon for signature by the Chief of Staff of the Army and the Secretary," he said.
"The senior leaders overwhelmingly, as with warrant officers, felt that we have gaps with our lifecycle management, gaps in leader development, gaps in accessions. With that, that is where I placed my focus," said Williams, who was appointed as the first Army Staff Senior Warrant Officer in March of last year.
"And the recommendation is, instead of trying to drill down into exactly what is wrong by using a study, let's have a unified strategy to identify those things and fix them. Because in the past what we have done is basically manage the warrant officer cohort by conducting a study every five to 10 years. Adopting a unified strategy to do it is what I told the boss and the senior leaders, and they overwhelmingly believe that is the right way to go.
"The Warrant Officer 2025 strategy is a great opportunity for us to improve the cohort. It is timely and it is the right thing to do for the Army. It is the right thing to do for our warrant officers," he said.
Williams said he hoped the WO 2025 would be signed in the coming few weeks. He also said his conversations with HRC warrants confirmed the impressions of concern and commitment he encounters when speaking with warrants across the Army.
"They are concerned about promotion opportunities and education opportunities. They see the Army downsizing and there's a little bit of anxiety -- will promotion opportunities continue to be out there? They are concerned about that as well as additional broadening opportunities, opportunities to further educate themselves," Williams said.
"What I'm telling them is, as we go forward the Army is going to continue to change, the Army is going to continue to draw down, based on what our senior leaders are saying," he explained. "And I think the opportunities will stay steady. So if you continue to work hard, and you continue to do a great job for the Army, I think that you will be OK.
"My major concern is to make sure that our warrant officers know and understand the priorities of the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff. Everything centers around that. If you understand that, then you know what to focus on.
"The chief's number one priority right now is readiness, and with readiness comes a lot of other things. It's a broad umbrella, making sure that you professionally develop yourself, making sure you lead by example, making sure that you are ready to support the Army. That is what it is all about."
Williams said his access to the Chief of Staff and a place at the table with senior leadership is widely seen as a positive development across the warrant community.
"Warrant officers across the Army overwhelmingly appreciate the fact that the Army created this position and they have a voice in the Pentagon. The chief's priorities are nested with mine and vice versa. Those are readiness right now, the future of the Army, and taking care of Soldiers. And that is what I'm articulating to warrant officers, making sure they understand those priorities, making sure our warrant officers are ready well into the future, not just today," he said.
While at Fort Knox, Williams took the opportunity to meet with U.S. Army Cadet Command officials and conducted a professional development session for warrants from all Fort Knox commands and the surrounding units before returning to the Pentagon Aug. 27.
"The warrant officer career managers I have come into contact with here are doing a great job," Williams said after meeting with HRC warrant career managers. "They have really been doing a fantastic job. What I have asked them to do is to support me by supporting Warrant Officer 2025. I also told them my job is to support them, so anything that they need, regardless of what it is, if they need my assistance, I will be there for them."
He said this is a great time to be in the warrant officer cohort -- or to join it.
"There is a lot of excitement in the warrant officer cohort today. Regardless of the challenges we may face, I think the excitement is just knowing that we have a voice, that folks are listening to our concerns. I can tell noncommissioned officers this is a great time to be a warrant officer. So put your packet in, become a warrant officer," said Williams.
"It is a great, great time to be a warrant officer. It's a career opportunity. You can stay an NCO if that's what you want to do, but if you want to do more, come be a warrant officer. We are looking for great NCOs," he said.