Professionals. Technical-experts. Those are two characteristics that should immediately come to mind when you think of warrant officers, especially sustainment warrant officers.Today’s complex operational environment requires them to be innovative integrators of emerging technologies, dynamic teachers and mentors, confident warfighters, and developers of specialized teams of Soldiers. Warrant officers must be knowledgeable and proficient in leveraging capabilities in support of the warfighter.However, many of our warrant officers have lost their edge during the past few years of counterinsurgency operations because their responsibilities were often handled by others. Too often today, warrant officers are seen as staff officers who conduct briefings or handle Power-Point slide presentations. That must change.“No longer can we rely on forward operating bases and readily accessible contractor support,” said Gen. Gus Perna, commanding general of Army Materiel Command, in 2018. Perna often says that the next conflict will likely require the Army to be much more expeditionary in nature. “Warrant officers will cross the line of departure in decisive action, not civilians or contractors.”Masters of Their CraftLarge-scale combat operations (LSCO) in Multi-domain Operations (MDO) require warrant officers to be agile, adaptive, and innovative while physically being with our noncommissioned officers (NCO) and younger Soldiers. Commanders at all levels need warrant officers to identify problems as they arise at the squad level and recommend solutions to maximize combat effectiveness. Warrant officers should be teachers, coaches, and mentors to the Soldiers, NCOs, and officers around them.For example, warrant officers need to be in motor pools troubleshooting equipment with NCOs and Soldiers, demonstrating their technical expertise and passing on their knowledge. Warrants should be the first thought—the “go-to person”—for our both enlisted and officers. The call of “Hey Chief, can you help me?” should be heard in motor pools instead of a Soldier asking for assistance from a logistics assistance representative, field service representative, or contractor. The resurgence of technical proficiency in a warrant officer is paramount to the success of the Logistics Corps and the Army. Warrant officers are critical to our formations and must retake their place in our shops and motor pools; drive technological innovation needed to transform the Army. They must be part of the solution to our overreliance of contracted logistics in our units. Warrant officers must be engaged, invest in the profession, and develop future technical leaders. Warrants should be on the very front edge of technology. They need to aggressively and continuously undertake self-development; demanding the additional training, if required, from the institution and themselves. Legacy thought processes and parochialisms need to be discarded.Systems Integrators and InnovatorsThe Army is transforming from an Industrial Age-based institution to an Information Age-ready force. Warrant officers need to stay abreast of technology and help drive it in the direction we need.Warrant officers must master both the systems and the associated data analytics to coach, teach, mentor, and advise others on how to improve readiness and predict requirements. Warrant officers are obligated to drive utilization of advanced technologies in innovations such as:• Next Generation Automated Test System• Additive manufacturing (3D printing)• Tactical autonomous resupply• Joint Battle Command Platform mission command systems capable of displaying sensor data that provides commanders a common operating picture of the status of combat platforms, crews ready to launch, fuel, and ammunitionWarrant officers are critical to enhancing Army readiness and materiel management in the future. Maneuver commanders expect warrant officers to provide them the tools to make decisions.Talent AlignmentThe Army Talent Alignment Process applies to all warrant officers and Active Duty Officer Assignment Interactive Module Version 2 brings the Army talent management into the information age. Under the new system, an officer’s knowledge, skills, behaviors, and preferences are taken into account. It is crucial that warrant officers understand the process and participate. They need to help commanders with detailed duty descriptions of warrant officer positions for technical specialties as well as the unique knowledge, skills, and behaviors desired for these positions. Warrant officers should integrate into the process of interviews and assessments of the warrant officers in the marketplace. Participation, advice, and counsel are key components of the process. The Information Agebased talent alignment process ensures we continue to refine technical expertise, leadership development, and management skills through career progressive assignments and education.Technical LeadersWarrant officers must regain their title as the undisputed masters of their chosen trades and how they fit into an organization’s mission. Warrant officers are tactical operational-level leaders who are experts in their units’ missions. They understand the commander’s intent and priorities and how their specialties contribute to mission success. Warrants provide running estimates using the Army’s embedded Global Combat Support System-Army visualization capabilities to quickly and accurately provide commanders an understanding of combat power and the ability to positively affect readiness and battlefield decisions.“Warrant Officers must take back ownership of their profession and reassume control as the Army’s technical experts, masterfully administering, managing, maintaining, operating, and integrating Army systems across the spectrum of Army operations,” Perna said.As the Army transitions to LSCO on a MDO battlefield, warrant officers have never been needed more. It is essential that warrant officer's capabilities and value they provide to commanders are firmly rooted in their specific technical specialty. Bottom line: Warrant officers are the technical backbone of the Army, not its executives.-----------------------------Maj. Gen. Rodney Fogg, commanding general of Combined Arms Support Command, is a graduate of Quartermaster Basic and Advanced Officer Leadership Courses, Command and General Staff College, and the Army War College. He has a master's degree in logistics management from Florida Institute of Technology and a master's degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College.Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jonathan Yerby is the chief warrant officer of Combined Arms Support Command. He holds an associate’s degree in General Studies from Pierce College, Washington.-----------------------------This article was published in the April-June 2020 issue of Army Sustainment.RELATED LINKSArmy Sustainment homepageThe Current issue of Army Sustainment in pdf formatCurrent Army Sustainment Online ArticlesConnect with Army Sustainment on LinkedInConnect with Army Sustainment on Facebook