By Sgt. Jeffrey StorrierJuly 5, 2018
On July 9, 1918, a congressional act established the Army Mine Planter Service as part of the U.S. Army's Coastal Artillery Corps, authorizing warrant officers to serve as masters, mates and engineers for each mine planting vessel. This occasion, 100 years ago, is the officially recognized birthday of the warrant officer corps.
Commemorating its 100 year anniversary with the theme; the Army Warrant Officer at 100: a Legacy of Technical Leadership and Expertise, the modern-day U.S. Army warrant officer is a highly specialized expert and trainer who, by gaining progressive levels of expertise and leadership, operates, maintains, administers and manages the Army's equipment, support activities, or technical systems throughout an entire career.
One hundred years of evolution has, like in all things, given rise to an impressive and finely tuned entity, a modernized Army Warrant Officer Corps that is more proficient, effective and capable than ever before in its history.
As the digital age speeds ahead, gaining momentum seemingly at every turn, the Army has adapted its tactics, personnel and systems to conquer the ever-changing, multi-echelon, global domain where threats evolve and warfare is waged.
It is within this multi-domain battlespace where highly technical systems, equipment and the expertise required to harness those capabilities coincide, that the warrant officers of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) diligently apply their craft.
As the warrant officer corps began its centennial year, INSCOM held 61 percent of the Army's assigned fixed wing aviators, 31 percent of military intelligence warrant officers and 25 percent of cyber warrant officers within its active duty ranks.
It is clear the cohort has undergone a transformation from its humble beginnings to a thriving component not only of the Army, but the entire national military intelligence apparatus.
According to Chief Warrant Officer 5 Kevin G. Boughton, command chief warrant officer, who serves as the principal advocate for all warrant officers within INSCOM, this transformation is no better illustrated than inside the INSCOM formation.
"The more than 850 warrant officers of INSCOM are an extraordinary group of Army professionals," Boughton said. "They are responsible for the technical health and readiness of this command. Every single day they ensure our commanders receive accurate, timely, and relevant intelligence at the point of need. While remaining relatively small in number, the Army Warrant Officer Corps, is tasked with the significant responsibility of maintaining the Army's technical acumen through individual and collective technical leadership, expertise, and stewardship of their army specialties and branches. "
Military intelligence warrant officers are the Army's premier land force technical experts and systems integrators and specialize in multiple intelligence disciplines. They provide expedient solutions to complex problems in a rapid-change environment while serving in very unique roles at INSCOM.
They are not alone. INSCOM employs warrant officers serving in almost every Army career field including signal, quartermaster, adjutant general and aviation maintenance, to name a few. They are assigned to all but one of INSCOM's 17 major subordinate commands worldwide, providing outstanding leadership, technical expertise and a mastery of their craft on a daily basis.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Lashonda Pringle, a human resources technician at INSCOM headquarters, is a subject matter expert who knows exactly what she brings to the fight.
"Without human resources expertise, all the little administrative stuff becomes big stuff really quickly," the affable Pringle said. "It's my job to know the ins-and-outs of how the G-1 operations run top to bottom and I'm pretty proud to say I do."
Pringle went on to describe how warrant officers have a unique ability to affect real change at all levels of the organization.
"Warrant Officers provide such a unique perspective," she said. "We guide and train NCO's, officers and Army civilians and work with all three so easily, that's why it's so important to be that expert people can count on."
It has been a century rich in history and accomplishment for the Army Warrant Officer Corps, the cohort has grown and expanded its capabilities at every turn. Today, they find themselves an indispensable facet of Army operations and celebrate their centennial with pride and the knowledge that the future of the warrant officer corps is brighter than it has ever been.
Headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, with 17,500 Soldiers, Army civilians and contractors located at 180 locations in 45 countries, INSCOM executes mission command of operational intelligence and security forces; conducts and synchronizes worldwide multi-discipline and all-source intelligence and security operations; delivers linguist support and intelligence-related advanced skills training, acquisition support, logistics, communications, and other specialized capabilities in support of Army, Joint, and Coalition Commands and the U.S. Intelligence Community.