Navy Brings Back Warrant Officer 1 Rank to Retain Cyber Talent

Navy Brings Back Warrant Officer 1 Rank to Retain Cyber Talent
Sailors stand watch in the Fleet Operations Center at the headquarters of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet at Fort George G. Meade, Md. (MC1 Samuel Souvannason/Navy)

The Navy is hoping to entice sailors with cyber skills to stay in service longer by bringing back the warrant officer 1 (WO1) rank, which was last worn by a sailor in 1999.

Only sailors E-5 or above in the cryptologic technician networks rating with between six and 12 years of time in service in certain cyber jobs are eligible. The first class - six appointees, announced in a recent Navy-wide message - begins training in September.

“Skilled younger cyber sailors, who could be potential CWO candidates, were separating and taking their cyber skills to the civilian sector before they were eligible for the CWO program,” said Michael Otten, deputy director for the Bureau of Naval Personnel's Community Management Command. “The addition of the WO1 rank opens an opportunity for these sailors to change their career path at an earlier point, which is a benefit to both themselves and the Navy.”

Sailors with eligible Navy Enlisted Classification codes (H13A, H14A, H15A, and H16A) can apply; once selected, they can be assigned to positions worldwide.

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Otten said he hopes the rank will entice sailors to stay in the Navy, rather than leaving to pursue a civilian career.

“The addition of this rank allows specific sailors a path to become an officer, to utilize their skills at a high level, while continuing to develop their leadership skills during their career,” he said. “In addition to the monetary increases that come with increased rank and responsibilities, they gain the ability to continue serving their country in uniform while they operate, analyze, plan and direct full-spectrum cyber operations until retirement eligibility.”

The new rank is appointed, not commissioned, and incurs a six-year service obligation from the date of appointment. Sailors must serve a minimum of three years as a WO1 and are required to complete and minimum of 12 years of time in service before promotion and commissioning to chief warrant officer 2.

The Navy's current warrant officer community - CWO2 to CWO5 - consists of 1,735 chief warrant officers across 27 technically defined designators. Chief warrant officers are selected from the chief petty officer ranks based on their enlisted technical experience and performance.

The Navy's last WO1 positions fell under the technical nurse warrant officer program, which began a six-year phase-out on Sept. 21, 1993.

Amanda Dolasinski is MOAA's staff writer. She can be reached Follow her on Twitter@AmandaMOAA.

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Amanda Dolasinski
Amanda Dolasinski

Dolasinski is a former staff writer at MOAA.