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Military Intelligence Warrant Officer recruiting.

In previous articles I highlighted how many of the Warrant Officer (WO) cultural aspects have and will continue to change in order to meet the Army's needs. WO recruiting seems to be an area that is a constant challenge. The requirements levied on our WO force by combat operations and the Army's transformation are many and as a result the demand for competent WOs has never been higher. Unfortunately the accession of new WOs has not kept pace with the requirements for several years. This column focuses on the Military Intelligence Corps continuing initiatives to seek, identify, and increase the recruitment and accession of Warrant Officers.

The yearly WO accession mission is determined by the Department of the Army (DA) G-1 based on Army personnel requirements (retirements, shortages, etc.). Although, the Military Intelligence (MI) WO recruiting effort has fallen short of its intended accession mission for many years, fiscal year (FY) 2005 was a great recruiting year for the MI WO cohort and, thus far, FY 2006 looks like it is going to surpass last year's performance. Thanks to all of you who participated in the recruiting, mentoring, and education of new WOs. Your efforts helped to fulfill our Army current and future requirements.

The following WO recruiting areas generate most of the questions I receive. If you have other questions dealing with MI WO care and feeding, contact me.

Temporary adjustment of MI WO prerequisites.

It is important to reiterate that in addition to the Army's prerequisites there are MI branch specific prerequisites for the WO program. These are: Sergeant (E-5) minimum, four years in the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), and successful completion of the Basic Noncommissioned Officers Course (BNCOC). These prerequisites have been in effect for years.

The Army developed short-term prerequisites to increase the number of WO applications to meet the current and future requirements. These short-term prerequisites seek to harvest the experience gained in combat. The experience gained while performing a job under combat conditions is very difficult to replicate in a classroom. The prerequisites are as follows: Sergeant (E-5) minimum, two years in the MOS (if one year was performing the job in combat), BNCOC (waiver possible if soldier served in a leadership position).

In the short time in which these new prerequisites have been implemented the number of WO applications has dramatically increased. This is good news for two reasons. One, it allows MI to satisfy increasing WO requirements, and two, since there are more applications than requirements it ensures a competitive board process and thus ensuring that the best applicants are selected.

Alternate WO Accessions Initiative.

The Army is considering using alternative methods to access WOs. The current WO accession process is reactive in nature (it depends on applicant decisions to submit or not to submit) and is therefore slow. A proactive accessions method is needed to expedite the WO acquisition process. A proposed accession methodology would screen and board NCO performance files for a specific shortage WO AOC, establishing an Order of Merit List (OML). These files must contain the full prerequisites (GT Score 110, 5 to 12 years active federal service (AFS), 4 years in the MOS, completion of BNCOC, etc.). After the board, those (determined by the DA G1 based on requirements) selected would be notified that they qualify for the WO program. This is a volunteer program. If they accept, a request for orders will be issued sending the selectee to WO training, Warrant Officer Candidate School (WOCS) and the Warrant Officer Basic Course (WOBC), en route to their first unit as a WO.

The initial thrust of the initiative would be to increase the number of WOs to support the Army's transformation. I expect that if implemented, this methodology would target a small number to address shortage WO AOCs (mostly MI). If the concept proves to be viable, it could be exported for use by the U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) and the National Guard Bureau (NGB). More on this later as the concept matures.

Accession Bonus.

The MI WO accession bonus was approved in March 2006 and has already shown its usefulness in attracting WO applicants. This bonus awards $20,000 for WOs in AOCs 350F All Source Analysis Technician, 351L Counterintelligence Technician, 351M Human Intelligence Collection Technician, 352N Traffic Analysis Technician, and 353T IEW Systems Maintenance Technician upon graduation from the WOBC. This bonus is for the active component only. The USAR and NG have their own bonus programs.

WOCS Redesign.

The WOCS has transformed in order to take into account the professional capabilities that NCOs already possess. The course gives credit to NCOs who have graduated from any of the NCOES courses. These NCOs; however, are required to finish a common core instruction block via distributive learning before reporting to the WOCS. This is a major shift in training methodology at Fort Rucker. The change is designed to encourage more NCOs to apply for the WO program and to teach them "officership" while discarding the harassment associated with this program in the past. Please inform your soldiers, NCOs, WOs and Officers of this change.

Waivers.

Any applicant can apply for a waiver of any prerequisite (except for GT score). I will address the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), or P-2 profile, and the AFS waivers. I do not want to discourage any qualified NCO from applying, but it is important that the right information is disseminated about these programs.

The APFT (or P-2 profile) waiver request is processed by the DA G3 and is intended to provide quality and technically proficient NCOs who have service related injures (combat, jumping, etc.) the opportunity to become officers in our Army. Approval is not automatic. Waiver request approval is dependant on the physical condition, long term prognosis, and the applicant's performance file. The applicant must not have a condition that prohibits world-wide deployment.

The AFS waiver is mandatory for applicants who have between 12 and 15 years in active service (Reserve service does not count for this purpose). It is adjudicated at the DA G1 and just like the APFT waiver, approval is not automatic. Approval or disapproval decision is focused on the individual's performance file.

Conclusion

In closing, the opportunity to become a WO in MI has never been better. I know that with so many changes and developments in the WO recruiting arena it is difficult to stay informed. Those NCOs interested in becoming a WO should contact the WO Recruiting team at http://www.usarec.army.mil/hq/warrant/ for information. This website will have the latest information on the WO accession program. If you require additional information that the U.S. Army Recruiting Command cannot provide or to inquire on prerequisites, contact me at james.prewitt@us.army.mil. I encourage you to redouble your recruiting efforts. Change happens is not just a saying-it is constant and necessary. We can drive it or get trampled by it.

by Chief Warrant Officer Five James J. Prewitt-Diaz

U.S. Army Military Intelligence Corps
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Title Annotation:Technical Perspective
Author:Prewitt-Diaz, James J.
Publication:Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin
Date:Apr 1, 2006
Words:1167
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