Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Warrant Officer

Warrant Officer

Overview
A warrant officer is an officer in a military organization who is designated an officer by a warrant
Warrant (law)
Most often, the term warrant refers to a specific type of authorization; a writ issued by a competent officer, usually a judge or magistrate, which permits an otherwise illegal act that would violate individual rights and affords the person executing the writ protection from damages if the act is...

, as distinguished from a commissioned officer
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

 who is designated an officer by a commission, or from non-commissioned officer
Non-commissioned officer
A non-commissioned officer , called a sub-officer in some countries, is a military officer who has not been given a commission...

 (NCO) who is designated an officer by virtue of seniority.

The rank was first used in the (then) English Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 and is today used in many other countries, including the Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 nations, and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Outside the United States they are effectively senior non-commissioned officers with long military experience, although technically in a cadre of their own between NCOs and commissioned officers.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Warrant Officer'
Start a new discussion about 'Warrant Officer'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
A warrant officer is an officer in a military organization who is designated an officer by a warrant
Warrant (law)
Most often, the term warrant refers to a specific type of authorization; a writ issued by a competent officer, usually a judge or magistrate, which permits an otherwise illegal act that would violate individual rights and affords the person executing the writ protection from damages if the act is...

, as distinguished from a commissioned officer
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

 who is designated an officer by a commission, or from non-commissioned officer
Non-commissioned officer
A non-commissioned officer , called a sub-officer in some countries, is a military officer who has not been given a commission...

 (NCO) who is designated an officer by virtue of seniority.

The rank was first used in the (then) English Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 and is today used in many other countries, including the Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 nations, and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Outside the United States they are effectively senior non-commissioned officers with long military experience, although technically in a cadre of their own between NCOs and commissioned officers. Warrant officer is a rank between Flight sergeant and Pilot Officer in the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

. However, warrant officers in the United States
Warrant Officer (United States)
In the United States military, the rank of warrant officer is rated as an officer above the senior-most enlisted ranks, as well as officer cadets and candidates, but below the officer grade of O-1...

 are technical leaders and specialists, and Chief Warrant Officers are commissioned by the president of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 and take the same oath as regular commissioned officers
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

. They may be technical experts with long service or direct entrants, notably for U.S. Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 helicopter pilots.

History: Origins in the Royal Navy


The warrant officer corps began in the 13th century in the nascent English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

. At that time, noblemen with military experience took command of the new Navy, adopting the military ranks of lieutenant
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

 and captain
Captain (Royal Navy)
Captain is a senior officer rank of the Royal Navy. It ranks above Commander and below Commodore and has a NATO ranking code of OF-5. The rank is equivalent to a Colonel in the British Army or Royal Marines and to a Group Captain in the Royal Air Force. The rank of Group Captain is based on the...

. These officers often had no knowledge of life on board a ship — let alone how to navigate such a vessel — and relied on the expertise of the ship's Master
Master mariner
A Master Mariner or MM is the professional qualification required for someone to serve as the person in charge or person in command of a commercial vessel. In England, the term Master Mariner has been in use at least since the 13th century, reflecting the fact that in guild or livery company terms,...

 and other seamen who tended to the technical aspects of running the ship. As cannon came into use, the officers also required gunnery experts.

Four categories of WOs


Originally, warrant officers were specialist professionals whose expertise and authority demanded formal recognition. They eventually developed into four categories:
  • Wardroom warrant officers
  • Gunroom warrant officers
  • Standing warrant officers
  • Lower-grade warrant officers


Literacy was one thing that all warrant officers had in common, and this distinguished them from the common seamen. According to the Admiralty Regulations, "No person shall be appointed to any station in which he is to have charge of stores, unless he can read and write, and is sufficiently skilled in arithmetic to keep an account of them correctly". Since all warrant officers had responsibility for stores, this was enough to debar the illiterate.



Demise of the Royal Naval warrants


In 1843, the wardroom
Wardroom
The wardroom is the mess-cabin of naval commissioned officers above the rank of Midshipman. The term the wardroom is also used to refer to those individuals with the right to occupy that wardroom, meaning "the officers of the wardroom"....

 warrant officers were given commissioned status, while in 1853 the lower-grade warrant officers were absorbed into the new rate of Chief Petty Officer
Chief Petty Officer
A chief petty officer is a senior non-commissioned officer in many navies and coast guards.-Canada:"Chief Petty Officer" refers to two ranks in the Canadian Navy...

, both classes thereby ceasing to be warrant officers. On 25th July 1864 the standing warrant officers were divided into two grades: Warrant Officers and Chief Warrant Officers (or "Commissioned Warrant Officers", a phrase that was replaced in 1920 with "Commissioned Officers from Warrant Rank", although they were still usually referred to as "Commissioned Warrant Officers", even in official documents). By the time of the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 their ranks had been expanded with the adoption of modern technology in the Navy to include Telegraphist
Telegraphist
Telegraphist is an operator who uses the morse code in order to communicate by land or radio lines. Telegraphists were indispensable at sea in the early day of Wireless Telegraphy. During the Great War the Royal Navy enlisted many volunteers as Telegraphists. Telegraphists are also called Telegraph...

s, Electrician
Electrician
An electrician is a tradesman specializing in electrical wiring of buildings, stationary machines and related equipment. Electricians may be employed in the installation of new electrical components or the maintenance and repair of existing electrical infrastructure. Electricians may also...

s, Shipwrights, Artificer
Artificer Sergeant Major
Artificer Sergeant Major is an appointment held by a Warrant Officer Class 1 in the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers , the corps of the British Army whose function is the repair and recovery of all mechanical and electrical equipments.The ASM is normally the senior tradesman in...

 Engineer
Engineer
An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical problems. Engineers design materials, structures, machines and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality,...

s, etc. Both WOs and CWOs messed in the Warrant Officers' mess rather than the wardroom (although in ships too small to have a WOs' mess they did mess in the wardroom). WOs and CWOs carried swords, were saluted by ratings
Naval rating
A Naval Rating is an enlisted member of a country's Navy, subordinate to Warrant Officers and Officers hence not conferred by commission or warrant...

, and ranked between Sub-Lieutenant
Sub-Lieutenant
Sub-lieutenant is a military rank. It is normally a junior officer rank.In many navies, a sub-lieutenant is a naval commissioned or subordinate officer, ranking below a lieutenant. In the Royal Navy the rank of sub-lieutenant is equivalent to the rank of lieutenant in the British Army and of...

s and Midshipmen
Midshipman
A midshipman is an officer cadet, or a commissioned officer of the lowest rank, in the Royal Navy, United States Navy, and many Commonwealth navies. Commonwealth countries which use the rank include Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Kenya...

.

In 1949, the ranks of WO and CWO were changed to "Commissioned Officer" and "Senior Commissioned Officer", the latter ranking with but after the rank of Lieutenant, and they were admitted to the wardroom, the WOs messes closing down. Collectively these officers were known as "Branch Officers", being retitled "Special Duties" officers in 1956. In 1998, the Special Duties list was merged with the General list of officers in the Royal Navy, all officers now having the same opportunity to reach the highest commissioned ranks.

Australia


The Australian Army
Australian Army
The Australian Army is Australia's military land force. It is part of the Australian Defence Force along with the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. While the Chief of Defence commands the Australian Defence Force , the Army is commanded by the Chief of Army...

 has three Warrant Officer ranks. The most senior Warrant Officer rank is that of Warrant Officer (WO), introduced in 1991. This rank is held by the Regimental Sergeant Major
Regimental Sergeant Major
Regimental Sergeant Major is an appointment held by warrant officers class 1 in the British Army, the British Royal Marines and in the armies of many Commonwealth nations, including Australia and New Zealand; and by chief warrant officers in the Canadian Forces...

 of the Army (RSM-A). It is the most senior non-commissioned rank in the Australian Army and is held by only one person at a time. The insignia are a crown for a WO2, the Australian coat of arms (changed from the royal coat of arms in 1976) for a WO1, and the Australian coat of arms surrounded by a wreath for the RSM-A. The Royal Australian Navy
Royal Australian Navy
The Royal Australian Navy is the naval branch of the Australian Defence Force. Following the Federation of Australia in 1901, the ships and resources of the separate colonial navies were integrated into a national force: the Commonwealth Naval Forces...

 has two Warrant Officer ranks, Warrant Officer of the Navy and Warrant Officer. The Royal Australian Air Force
Royal Australian Air Force
The Royal Australian Air Force is the air force branch of the Australian Defence Force. The RAAF was formed in March 1921. It continues the traditions of the Australian Flying Corps , which was formed on 22 October 1912. The RAAF has taken part in many of the 20th century's major conflicts...

 also has two Warrant Officer Ranks, Warrant Officer and Warrant Officer of the Air Force (WOFF-AF).

Singapore


In the Singapore Armed Forces
Singapore Armed Forces
The Singapore Armed Forces is the military arm of the Total Defence of the Republic of Singapore; as well as the military component of the Ministry of Defence. The SAF comprises three branches: the Singapore Army, the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the Republic of Singapore Navy...

, Warrant Officers begin as Third Warrant Officers (3WO). This rank is given to former Specialists
Specialist (Singapore)
In the Singapore Armed Forces , Specialists are the group of ranks equivalent to non-commissioned officers in other armed forces. This term was introduced in 1993, for a more "positive" rank classification. In the SAF, Warrant Officers are not considered Specialists.Like many other modern...

 who have attained the rank of Master Sergeant
Master Sergeant
A master sergeant is the military rank for a senior non-commissioned officer in some armed forces.-Israel Defense Forces:Rav samal rishoninsignia IDF...

 and have either gone through, or are about to go through the Warfighter Course at the Specialist and Warrant Officer Advanced School (SWAS) in the Specialist and Warrant Officer Institute (SWI). In order to be promoted to a Second Warrant Officer (2WO) and above, they must have been selected for and graduated from the Joint Warrant Officer Course at the SAF Warrant Officer School
SAF Warrant Officer School
SAF Warrant Officer School is a training school within the Pasir Laba Camp complex. In the new scheme, Third Warrant Officers of all services aspiring to promote to higher ranks in the Warrant Officer Corp are trained here...

. Warrant officers rank between Specialists and commissioned officers. They ordinarily serve as Battalion, Brigade, etc. Regimental Sergeant Major
Regimental Sergeant Major
Regimental Sergeant Major is an appointment held by warrant officers class 1 in the British Army, the British Royal Marines and in the armies of many Commonwealth nations, including Australia and New Zealand; and by chief warrant officers in the Canadian Forces...

s. A great deal of them serve as instructors and subject-matter experts in various training establishments. Warrant officers are also seen on the various staffs headed by the respective manpower, intelligence, etc. officers. There are five grades of warrant officer.

Warrant Officers usually have their own mess. For smaller units, this mess may be combined with the Officers' Mess as the Officers'/Warrant Officers' Mess. Warrant Officers often have similar responsibilities to commissioned officers. Warrant Officers are addressed as "Sir" by those junior to them or by "Warrant (Surname)". They are also commonly addressed "Encik" ("Mister") by commissioned officers. They are not, however, saluted by enlisted ranks.

Royal Navy


In 1973, warrant officers reappeared in the Royal Navy, but these appointments followed the Army model, with the new warrant officers being ratings rather than officers. They were initially known as Fleet Chief Petty Officer
Fleet Chief Petty Officer
Fleet chief petty officer is a non-commissioned naval rank, typically senior to chief petty officer and ranking with army warrant officers.-Pakistan:...

s
(FCPOs), but were renamed Warrant Officers in the 1980s. They always ranked with Warrant Officers Class I in the British Army and Royal Marines and with Warrant Officers in the Royal Air Force.

British Army




In the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

, there are two warrant ranks, Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) and Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1), the latter being the senior of the two. It used to be more common to refer to these ranks as WOII and WOI (using Roman instead of Arabic numerals). Warrant Officer 1st Class or 2nd Class is incorrect. The rank immediately below WO2 is Staff Sergeant
Staff Sergeant
Staff sergeant is a rank of non-commissioned officer used in several countries.The origin of the name is that they were part of the staff of a British army regiment and paid at that level rather than as a member of a battalion or company.-Australia:...

 (or Colour Sergeant
Colour Sergeant
Colour sergeant or colour serjeant is a non-commissioned title in the Royal Marines and infantry regiments of the British Army, ranking above sergeant and below warrant officer class 2....

).

Royal Marines


Before 1879, the Royal Marines had no warrant officers: by the end of 1881, the Royal Marines had given warrant rank to their sergeants-major and some other senior NCOs, in a similar fashion to the Army. When the Army introduced the ranks of Warrant Officer Class I and Class II in 1915, the Royal Marines did the same shortly after. From February 1920, Royal Marines Warrant Officer Class Is were given the same status as Royal Navy Warrant Officers and the rank of Warrant Officer Class II was abolished in the Royal Marines, with no further promotions to this rank.

The Marines had introduced warrant officers equivalent in status to the Royal Navy's from 1910 with the Royal Marines Gunner (originally titled Gunnery Sergeant-Major), equivalent to the Navy's warrant rank of Gunner. Development of these ranks closedly paralleled that of their naval counterparts: as in the RN, by the Second World War there were Warrant Officers and Commissioned Warrant Officers, e.g. Staff Sergeant Major
Staff Sergeant Major
-Canada:Staff Sergeant Major is a Royal Canadian Mounted Police rank above Staff Sergeant but junior to Sergeant Major. It is roughly equivalent to a Canadian army Master Warrant Officer or a British army Warrant Officer Class 2.-Britain:...

s, Commissioned Staff Sergeant Majors, Royal Marines Gunners, Commissioned Royal Marines Gunners, etc. As officers they were saluted by junior ranks in the Royal Marines and the Army. These all became (commissioned) Branch officer ranks in 1949, and Special Duties officer ranks in 1956.

Israel Defense Forces


Rav samal bakhír

insignia

IDF
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...





Rav nagad

insignia

IDF
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...




The רב-סמל בכיר Rav samal bakhír, Warrant officer and the רב-נגד Rav nagad, Chief Warrant Officer are both non-commissioned officers ranks in the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 (IDF). Because the IDF is an integrated force, they have a unique rank structure. IDF ranks are the same in all services (army, navy, air force, etc.). The ranks are derived from those of the paramilitary Haganah
Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

 developed in the British Mandate of Palestine period to protect the Yishuv
Yishuv
The Yishuv or Ha-Yishuv is the term referring to the body of Jewish residents in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel...

. This origin is reflected in the slightly-compacted IDF rank structure
Israel Defense Forces ranks
Israel Defense Forces The Israel Defense Forces have a unique rank structure. Because the IDF is an integrated force, ranks are the same in all services The ranks are derived from those of the paramilitary Haganah developed in the Mandate period to protect the Yishuv...

.

Israel Defense Forces ranks : Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO)
IDF NCO
Rank
רב-סמל
Rav samal
רב-סמל ראשון
Rav samal rishon
רב-סמל מתקדם
Rav samal mitkadem
רב-סמל בכיר
Rav samal bakhír
רב-נגד
Rav nagad
Abbreviation רס"ל
Rasal
רס"ר
Rasar
רס"מ
Rasam
רס"ב
Rasab
רנ"ג
Ranag
Corresponding
Rank
Sergeant First Class
Sergeant First Class
Sergeant First Class is the seventh enlisted rank in the U.S. Army, above Staff Sergeant and below Master Sergeant and First Sergeant, and is the first senior non-commissioned officer rank...

Master Sergeant
Master Sergeant
A master sergeant is the military rank for a senior non-commissioned officer in some armed forces.-Israel Defense Forces:Rav samal rishoninsignia IDF...

Sergeant Major
Sergeant Major
Sergeants major is a senior non-commissioned rank or appointment in many militaries around the world. In Commonwealth countries, Sergeants Major are usually appointments held by senior non-commissioned officers or warrant officers...

Warrant Officer
Warrant Officer
A warrant officer is an officer in a military organization who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, or from non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer by virtue of seniority.The rank was first...

Chief Warrant Officer
Chief Warrant Officer
Chief warrant officer is a military rank used by the Canadian Forces and the Israel Defence Forces.-Canada:In the Canadian Forces, a chief warrant officer or CWO is the most senior non-commissioned member rank in the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force...

Insignia
More details at Israel Defense Forces ranks
Israel Defense Forces ranks
Israel Defense Forces The Israel Defense Forces have a unique rank structure. Because the IDF is an integrated force, ranks are the same in all services The ranks are derived from those of the paramilitary Haganah developed in the Mandate period to protect the Yishuv...

 & IDF 2011 - Ranks (idf.il, english)



United States



In the United States military, a Warrant Officer (grade W-1 to W-5) is ranked as an officer above the senior-most enlisted ranks, as well as officer cadets and candidates, but below the officer grade of O-1 (NATO: OF-1). The precedence of an Army Warrant Officer is "with but after Lieutenants." Warrant officers are highly skilled, single-track specialty officers, and while the ranks are authorized by Congress, each branch of the Uniformed Services
Uniformed services of the United States
The United States has seven federal uniformed services that commission officers as defined by Title 10, and subsequently structured and organized by Title 10, Title 14, Title 33 and Title 42 of the United States Code.-Uniformed services:...

 selects, manages, and utilizes warrant officers in slightly different ways. For appointment to Warrant Officer One (W-1), a warrant
Warrant (law)
Most often, the term warrant refers to a specific type of authorization; a writ issued by a competent officer, usually a judge or magistrate, which permits an otherwise illegal act that would violate individual rights and affords the person executing the writ protection from damages if the act is...

 is approved by the secretary of the respective service. Chief Warrant Officers (W-2 to W-5) are commissioned by the President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 and take the same oath as regular commissioned officers
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

 (O-1 to O-10).

Warrant officers can and do command detachments
Detachment (military)
A detachment is a military unit. It can either be detached from a larger unit for a specific function or be a permanent unit smaller than a battalion. The term is often used to refer to a unit that is assigned to a different base from the parent unit...

, units, activities, vessels, aircraft, and armored vehicles as well as lead, coach, train, and counsel subordinates. However, the Warrant Officer's primary task as a leader is to serve as a technical expert, providing valuable skills, guidance, and expertise to commanders and organizations in their particular field.