Regimental chief warrant officer.
Army warrant officers have been serving this Nation as expert technicians and quiet professionals for almost 100 years. While other Army branches have enjoyed decades of warrant officer history and lessons learned, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) warrant officers have just 5 years of history under their belt. But in those five short years, much history has been made. Nearly every day represents a possible first for Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) 740A. But trust me when I say that those 5 years have been hard fought to get CBRN warrant officers where they are today.
As our CBRN commanders settle in with the addition of an expert CBRN technician in their formations, new realizations are discovered almost daily; and as the U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear School (USACBRNS) works tirelessly to define the role of warrant officers, units in the field have begun to understand the value that professionals with vast experience can bring to an organization. Over these past few years, the warrant officers themselves have also come to realize what roles they should perform. Warrant officers are a tremendous asset in the development of other officers and noncommissioned officers (NCOs). As a commissioned officer and former NCO, the Dragon warrant officer's knowledge base is an untapped resource from which the Chemical Corps has only begun to benefit.
In the past 3 years, USACBRNS has taken enormous strides and made great progress for warrant officers--progress that began with three decisions:
* The first decision was to integrate CBRN warrant officers into CBRN units. The 740A MOS brings a level of focus on core competencies that have atrophied for the past 15 years of counterinsurgency operations.
* The second decision was to make the warrant officer selection process more challenging. Hazmat technician and superior NCO evaluations are now required just to be considered for 740A selection; these requirements have demanded more from the NCOs who seek appointment. To date, the Army has selected 84 highly qualified CBRN NCOs to be CBRN warrant officers.
* The third decision was to take ownership of the warrant officers' professional military education. The first Warrant Officer Basic Course (WOBC) taught by the Army was held in the summer of 2015. And although it was the seventh CBRN WOBC conducted overall, it was the first that provided the level of technical training required by warrant officers for their first assignments in hazard response companies and technical escort teams. And just this past April, 12 students graduated from the Warrant Officer Advanced Course (WOAC). WOAC is designed to develop field grade warrant officers and prepare them for positions on CBRN staffs from battalion through Corps echelons.
These decisions, which differed from the original proposed CBRN warrant officer plan, required that someone champion these efforts and execute them with a high level of devotion. Officers focus on officer development, while NCOs focus on NCO development; therefore, a warrant officer should take care of the professional development of the warrant officer population. Consequently, a fourth decision--the decision to establish a CBRN Regimental Chief Warrant Officer position--was made 14 years ahead of schedule.
For the past 3 years, I have dedicated my time and efforts to these decisions that are now part of our history. This will be my last time to write as your Regimental Chief Warrant Officer. It has been a true honor to serve in this position, but it is now my goal to champion these efforts out in the field. We look to the future as we continue to build our warrant officer cohorts, improve their professional military education, and strengthen the bonds we have created in our Regiment. I wish the next Regimental Chief Warrant Officer all the future success that I experienced in the past.
Elementis regamus proelium!