Talk:Warrant officer

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Move discussion in progress[edit]

There is a move discussion in progress on Talk:Able Seaman (rank) which affects this page. Please participate on that page and not in this talk page section. Thank you. —RM bot 23:53, 29 December 2010 (UTC)[]

what's the difference between a warrant and a commission?[edit]

The article starts by saying Warrant Officers are those appointed by a warrant rather than a commission, but makes no explanation about what exactly such a warrant is or how it differs from a commission. The word "warrant" was made into a link to the article on that term, but that is merely a list of links to articles about widely varied different things known as warrants, and the only mentions of military types in the list merely links back to articles about warrant officers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:32, 12 April 2011 (UTC)[]

It’s deceptively simple; A commission comes directly from the national government (Parliament in the UK, Congress in the US, etc), usually based upon recommendations from the service one is promoting in (these are typically rubber stamped). These officers attended the military academies.

A warrant on the other hand is from within the service, based on experience and knowledge. These are limited-duty officers, as opposed to commissioned officers who are supposed to be able to fill any role (there are some limited-duty commissioned officers, such as doctors and nurses, but they are supposed to be able to do anything to a limited degree- when line officers move over to medical or other limited duty commission duties or vice-versa, they typically have to depend upon their enlisted personnel much more heavily).Wikipedia- Best Source Of Information Since The Weekly World News. (talk) 01:23, 11 July 2011 (UTC)Andering J REDDSON[]
The explanation above really only fits the US system and is certainly not correct for the UK. In the UK commissions come from the monarch and warrants officers are not 'limited duty' they are the top of the non-commissioned ranks.Blackshod (talk) 06:31, 11 July 2011 (UTC)[]
In the United States the rank of W-1, a non-commissioned officer, is granted by Warrant issued by the Department Secretary, which is what the article intended. The ranks of W-2 through W-6 are officers commissioned by the president. The rank of W-6 has been approved as of 1970, but not authorized for use.MR2David (talk) 08:47, 29 May 2012 (UTC)[]
The US uses a lot of confusing language (LDO, for example) but ultimately US CWO rank beneath the lowest commissioned officers, the same as UK WO, and both derive their authority from a warrant, signed by the president/monarch as opposed to their experience and rank.
The US has Warrant Officer (W-1), Chief Warrant Officer (CWO), LDO (Limited Duty Officer. Top end depends upon the assignment. Doctors, dentists, chaplains, scientists, etc. usually max out at CDR, but can be promoted into the 2-Star Admiral flag ranks, though rarely.), who is a specialty officer as opposed to line officer, and Line Officers (Ensign to Flt Admiral) are officers in direct line of command.MR2David (talk) 08:47, 29 May 2012 (UTC)[]
Also, the historic definition of Warrant Officer in the UK armed forces has changed multiple times, has a distinct social component.
And this article could use more citations! Kirk (talk) 14:36, 11 July 2011 (UTC)[]

circular definition[edit]

" ...a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission..."

-- (talk) 04:35, 27 July 2014 (UTC)[]

Fixed. Evensteven (talk) 06:07, 27 July 2014 (UTC)[]
No, you haven't. What you've done is converted the entire intro to describe what an American WO is. This is not what a WO is in Commonwealth forces, for instance, where a sergeant-major (including the equivalent of a US first sergeant) is a WO and very much within the chain of command. -- Necrothesp (talk) 10:44, 28 July 2014 (UTC)[]
Sorry, then. A warrant officer originally (within the Royal Navy, from at least the late 18th century and well beyond) was not in the chain of command, and presumably it was also this way within Commonwealth forces later. The shifting of Royal Navy warrants in the mid-nineteenth century did not apply to all WO ranks, and the definition of chain of command is a separate issue that may or may not have redefined with WO ranks (I don't know). There has apparently been a change in Commonwealth forces I wasn't aware of, but the American usage clearly originates from the British history, even though it wasn't adopted wholesale even at first. Evensteven (talk) 14:52, 28 July 2014 (UTC)[]
British sergeant-majors have been warranted since the late 19th century! Unlike most American WOs, all British WOs are promoted from the ranks and many of them are not technical specialists. A British WO2 is equivalent to a US master sergeant and a WO1 to a sergeant major. They don't occupy a separate tier as they do in the US, although Royal Navy WOs did until after WWII. American usage was probably based on Royal Navy usage, but not on British Army usage. See Warrant officer (United Kingdom). -- Necrothesp (talk) 15:01, 28 July 2014 (UTC)[]
I don't doubt what you say. I was working off only the information I have, which is not comprehensive. My first object was to eliminate the circularity of wording mentioned at the start of this section. The technical specialty/chain of command thing once had fairly broad application (to my knowledge), and the article mentioned it too. I thought what I had added was compatible both with what I knew and what was said in the article, and thought it worthy of mention in the lead, so I added it there, figuring others would correct me if I got it far wrong. So, thanks for your clarifications here. I do think the article could do more to make clear how the WO ranks relate to chain of command both historically and presently, and hope you might be in a position to improve it in that direction. I just don't have the expertise. Evensteven (talk) 16:22, 28 July 2014 (UTC)[]

Re “Confusion about Warrant Officer Status” and “what’s the difference between a warrant and a commission?”: Warrant Officers are NOT non-commissioned officers![edit]

In both of the above named sections, MR2David makes the highly erroneous assertion that US Warrant Officers in the grade of W-1 are “non-commissioned officers.” The ranks of WO1 in the US Army and WO in the US Marine Corps are NOT non-commissioned officer ranks. (The other services do not have Warrant Officers in the grade of W-1 or don't have WOs/CWOs at all.)

Warrant Officers are in a separate rank class (W grades vice E grades) from the enlisted grades. By regulation non-commissioned officer ranks end at E-9, with the exception of the several Senior Enlisted Advisors to the various Service Chiefs and the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff (these “super senior” non-commissioned officers have a special pay-grade, which is position dependent.)

While there are a few somewhat esoteric, albeit important legal, distinctions between a warrant officer and a commissioned officer (primarily concerning certain aspects of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, specifically Articles 88-91 & 133), on a practical level warrant officers are officers just as much as are CWOs or any other grade of officer:

  • Warrant Officers swear the Oath of Office (the same as commissioned officers) – non-commissioned officers do not.
  • Warrant Officers wear officer uniforms and insignia – non-commissioned officers do not.
  • Warrant Officers receive officer customs of the service, including being addresses as “sir,” receiving salutes from all persons of lesser rank, having rooms/spaces/areas/units called to “attention” upon their arrival/entry if they are the senior person present – non-commissioned officers do not.
  • Warrant Officers are entitled to “by your leave” privileges to approve a request from a person of lesser rank to overtake them while walking in the same direction, and “gang way” privileges over all persons of lesser rank requiring them to make way for the officer in passageways, congested areas, confined spaces, etc.
  • Warrant officers routinely serve as unit (platoon, flight, and section), vessel, and aircraft leaders and commanders, officers-in-charge of detachments, divisions (naval ship/squadron departmental sub-units), and sections and may serve as commanding officers of units. Non-commissioned officers do not normally fill these roles unless there is a shortage of officers available.
  • Warrant Officers assigned as unit commanders and officers in charge have Non-Judicial Punishment authority over all non-commissioned officers and other enlisted members of their unit (Manual for Courts-Martial United States, Part V, Para. 2a; 2b). Non-commissioned officers do not have this authority.
  • Warrant Officers may, with probable cause, apprehend or order the apprehension of any military personnel suspected of committing offenses (including commissioned officers and other warrant officers) – non-commissioned officers may apprehend officers (commissioned and warrant) with certain caveats (Rules for Courts-Martial (R.C.M.) 302(b).)
  • Warrant Officers may serve as members of courts-martial for any accused non-commission officer and other enlisted members (R.C.M. 502(a) (1) (b)) – non-commissioned officers (and other enlisted members) may serve on courts-martial only under very specific circumstances (R.C.M. 503(a) (2)).
  • Warrant Officers are eligible to join the Officer’s Mess, dine in the Officer’s Field Mess (when one is provided), are members of the Wardroom aboard ship, and are billeted/quartered/housed in officer’s quarters, accommodations, and staterooms. Non-commissioned officers have separate facilities in most cases. In conclusion, Warrant Officers are officers, appointed from the non-commissioned ranks by warrant from the Secretary of their respective Service Branch. Non-commissioned officers are not appointed or promoted by warrant by the Service Secretary, but rather are promoted by orders from their respective Service Branch Headquarters. Non-commissioned officers may receive, especially in former times in the USMC, a promotion "warrant," which is a formal certificate of promotion, but it is not a Warrant Officers appointment warrant, which is somewhat similar in form to an officer's commission.CobraDragoon (talk) 06:14, 29 March 2015 (UTC)[]
    • The US armed forces use the term differently than other armed forces, and that's a great summary of many of the differences. I'm always curious about the social component - UK Warrant Officers are also in a separate class but fill senior NCO billets and mess with other NCOs while US Warrant officers serve in similar roles as commissioned officers and mess with officers yet all rank below a newly-graduated O-1 (2nd Lt.) and their promotion potential is severely limited. Is this to preserve the distinction between officers who attended a service academy? In the UK we can fall back on class as a distinction where officers are from the upper class and warrant officers are not, but in the US it would seem more democratic and egalitarian to promote warrant officers to their line officer equivalents so are US warrant officers assumed to be from an enlisted (e.g. lower class) background? I keep hoping some historians start writing about this so we can improve this article! Kirk (talk) 19:34, 6 April 2015 (UTC)[]
      • Yes, the US interpretation, classification, and use of Warrant Officers is unique. No, it has nothing to do with service academy graduation; the majority of US second lieutenants and ensigns are not graduates of one of the five federal service academies (USMA, USNA, USCGA, USMMA, and USAFA), but rather are commissioned after graduating from their respective service's Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at a state or private university or college. A smaller number are commissioned through Officer Candidate School (OCS - for Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard) or USAF Officer Training School (OTS) programs for enlisted members. An even smaller number are commissioned directly from civilian life (primarily clergy and health care professionals) and then attend an orientation course as an officer. The USMC does not have a separate service academy or ROTC program (and does not commission directly from civilian life), but rather commissions a percentage of US Naval Academy graduates and Naval ROTC (NROTC) Marine Corps option graduates. The USMC also uses the "Platoon Leaders Class" (PLC) program (unique to the USMC), which permits students at colleges and universities not having a NROTC program to attend USMC OCS during either two six-week training sessions conducted during their summer academic break or one 10-week PLC combined session (virtually identical to the 10-week Officer Candidate Course (OCC) program at OCS conducted for college graduates and enlisted Marines). The US Coast Guard does not have a ROTC program and the great majority of its ensigns are commissioned through the USCG Academy or USCG OCS. As to promotion to "their line officer equivalents," again US WOs are unique and their positions/slots/billets are purposely not intended to be "equivalent" to the duties of O-1s and above. Warrant officers are by design and intention, "officer-level specialists and technicians" rather than military management "generalists." Besides, in US use "line officer" denotes a specific community of officers, which includes warrant officers (of all five grades) and "traditional" (my use of the term) commissioned officers from second lieutenant/ensign to general/admiral, who are authorized to lead and command combat units. Additionally, while there are some Warrant Officers who hold university (BA/BS) and higher level (i.e., masters, etc.) academic degrees prior to appointment (W-1) or commissioning (W-2 and above), and many who hold two-year college degrees (AA/AS), academic education level is rarely a pre-requisite for appointment/commissioning as a warrant officer. Conversely, the overwhelming majority of all officers commissioned as a second lieutenant or ensign possess at least a BA/BS, with some holding graduate/first professional and even post-graduate/doctoral degrees. For an overview of the history of the Warrant Officer rank in US service, see Warrant officer (United States). CobraDragoon (talk) 00:05, 8 April 2015 (UTC)[]
        • Warrant officers are not unique - they either fill roles that could be filled by commissioned officers or senior NCOs, which again I though you explained very well above. For example, the US services that have warrant officers the vast majority are(or possibly were...things have changed recently) helicopter pilots, but I thought fixed-wing combat aircraft pilots were only commissioned officers (again, could have changed!). There's also some reason the Air Force doesn't need warrant officers, which is unusual considering how other services use them. In the UK there is no requirement that commissioned officers have any sort of degree (eg. Prince Harry) and its considered normal for Warrant Officer to be commissioned at some point in their career. Warrant officers have historically been 'not quite officer and gentleman material for some reason', and personally I think that's still the key difference between a commission and a warrant. Kirk (talk) 14:03, 8 April 2015 (UTC)[]
          • I suppose that we will just have to agree to disagree that US warrant officers are or are not unique; however, they are obviously unique in the US interpretation of their role, status, etc. No, the vast majority of US warrant officers were never helicopter pilots; even in the US Army during the height of the War in Vietnam only about 50% were aviators (and they did and still do pilot airplanes, as well as helicopters). The majority of warrant officers, in all US services that have them, are technical or administrative specialists and include legal (paralegals) and medical specialists (physician's assistants). The USMC and the US Navy have had warrant officer aviators, who also piloted both helicopters and airplanes, but do not currently designate warrant officer aviators. The last USMC CWO aviators retired circa 1981 and piloted KC-130s and OV-10s, while the US Navy had a short-lived program to train CWO aviators to pilot P-3s, EP-3s, E-6s, P-8s, and H-60s. The last being commissioned/designated in 2011. Also, the reason that the US Army does not have "fixed-wing combat aircraft" has nothing to do with social class but rather with politics and inter-service rivalry. The infamous "Key West Agreement" of 1948, and as amended in 1954, and the "Johnson-McConnell Agreement" of 1966 essentially stripped the US Army of any armed fixed-wing aircraft (and intra-theater tactical airlift airplanes) in favor of the USAF, but allowed the army free-reign in the development of armed and attack helicopters. Since the USAF did not then, and does not now, have WOs as pilots, those agreements effectively terminated non-naval aviators from ever having the opportunity to fly tactical airplanes with the exception of the now retired OV-1s, the recent RU-21/RC-12 tactical reconnaissance/electronic surveillance airplanes, and a few C-23 tactical utility transports. The USAF decided to phase-out warrant officers starting in 1959 with the last one retiring in 1992. This was primarily a cost-cutting initiative because the USAF chose to use the then new (1959) enlisted "super-grades" of E-8 and E-9 (designating them as "superintendents") to fill previous WO/CWO positions. This also helped reduce the USAF officer/enlisted ratio which was, and remains, the highest in the US military due to the large number of aeronautical rated officers (pilots, combat systems officers, etc.) in the USAF as compared to the other services. So, as a former CWO who became a "real" commissioned officer, I strongly disagree that WOs are not "officer and gentlemen material." CobraDragoon (talk) 17:18, 8 April 2015 (UTC)[]
          • I think the way the term is used in the US Army today is unique, since 15%+ of Officers are Warrant Officers with their many jobs performed in other services by non-com or commissioned officers (e.g. Pilots) and there doesn't seem to be a good reason for this from the outside looking in. I was flippantly referring to the historical difference - in the US armed forces, there's basically no difference between commissioned officers and chief warrant officers, but in most other armed forces, Warrant Officers are the ultimate enlisted ranks. Kirk (talk) 20:53, 8 April 2015 (UTC)[]

Yes, and the entire premise of this discussion topic is just that; in United States use all Warrant Officers and Chief Warrant Officers are officers, NOT non-commissioned officers, and all WOs and CWOs, of all US services, outrank all persons of lesser rank, including all enlisted grades, officer (and warrant officer) candidates, cadets, and midshipmen. CobraDragoon (talk) 15:12, 9 April 2015 (UTC)[]

WO6 is a legit US rank[edit]

It's something that's approved by congress, but the military hasn't adopted it. (talk) 14:53, 19 January 2021 (UTC)[]