The Best Kept Secret in the Army: The Army Warrant Officer Program

What is the best-kept secret in the Army?  After spending approximately 15 years in the Army, I can tell you that the best-kept secret in the Army is the Warrant Officer Program.  Why do I say that?  I truly believe that Warrant Officers have the best of both worlds.

First off, a Warrant Officer is an expert in their career field.  They have the subject matter expertise in a specific area and they know the ins and outs of it.  They are trusted advisors and are frequently referred to for advice.

They are respected by both enlisted and officers alike. They are treated well and don’t have the typical “officer drama” or politics that most commissioned officers have to deal with.  They get to lead Soldiers but spend most of their time doing their technical work.  Basically, they are left alone to do their job.

What I like best about Warrant Officers is that they look out for each other.  They don’t back stab each other and try to “one up” their peers like many officers do.  They typically work well together and help each other succeed.  I think a lot of officers and enlisted Soldiers can learn something from Warrant Officers (in this respect).

Another great thing about the Army Warrant Officer Program is that you normally work in a small group and serve as an advisor to your senior officer, typically a commander. Normally, you won’t be in charge of hundreds (or thousands) of Soldiers like many commissioned officers, although you could be.

While leading a large amount of Soldiers is a very rewarding experience, working in small groups also has its merits (less drama and more time to focus on your job).  You get to form a close relationship with your team of NCOs and Soldiers and get to mentor and teach them.

In addition, the pay for Warrant Officers is pretty competitive.  It’s not as high as the commissioned officer’s pay, but it’s much higher than the enlisted ranks.  Here are a couple of examples:

  • The monthly base pay for a W1 with 10 year of service is $4,091.00.
  • The monthly base pay for a CW3 with 14 years of experience is $5,229.60
  • The monthly base pay for a CW4 with 20 years of service is $6,523.80

Disclaimer: These are the 2015 pay rates for Warrant Officers.  Please keep in mind that this does not include any additional allowances such as food or housing, which is tax-free and is usually an extra $1,000 to $2,000 per month, depending upon where you are stationed.

If you’re currently serving in the Army as an enlisted Soldier or commissioned officer or are thinking about joining the Army, you should really look into the Army Warrant Officer Program.  It really is a good deal!  In fact, I truly believe it is the best-kept secret in the Army.

Looking back, if I had to do something different in my military career, I would have served as a Warrant Officer, rather than a commissioned officer.  While I enjoyed my time as a commissioned officer, I always admired the Warrant Officers who seemed to have the best of both worlds!

What are your thoughts?  What do you think is the best kept secret in the Army?  Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment to this post. I look forward to hearing from you. Also, if you have any questions, you can post them below. Thank you.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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4 thoughts on “The Best Kept Secret in the Army: The Army Warrant Officer Program”

  1. Candace Ginestar

    I am not going to lie, I have dreamed about reaching the rank of COL and then finding a way to revert to warrant and enjoy the rest of my career as a warrant officer. Lofty goals, but that’s why it is a dream!

  2. I like this post a lot, Chuck. When a friend of mine was looking to joint the Army, the first thing I did was recommend becoming a WO. I gave many of the same reasons you did in support of his decision. WO truly do have the best of both worlds. They are similar to NCOs being SMEs in their fields, but also leaders who advise Senior Officers and are highly respected. It is even more so true that WO do not have nearly HALF as much drama as other Soldiers do, which for some is a HUGE incentive. Way to expose the WO ranks!

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