ACTIVE COMPONENT OFFICERS
Warrant Officers[Footnote 10]
Warrant officers comprise a relatively small but vital group of technicians and specialists who serve in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. These Servicemembers ordinarily do not assume typical officer command responsibilities, and their careers emphasize depth rather than breadth of experience, in contrast to commissioned officers. [Footnote 11], [Footnote 12] The status and duties of these experts, trainers, and specialty managers have grown and otherwise changed since their grades were established around 1920. Today, they can be found advancing within military careers such as aviation, physicians’ assistant, nuclear weapons, and administration.
Although some warrant officers may enter directly from civilian life (e.g., helicopter pilots), most previously were in the upper enlisted ranks. In FY 2004, 1,930 warrant officer accessions were added to the force and the overall total force of warrant officers on active duty stood at 15,660. Table 4.16 presents gender and race/ethnicity statistics on FY 2004 warrant officers. They are overwhelmingly male (90 percent) but have greater minority representation than commissioned officers. Blacks, in particular, are more highly represented among warrant officers, accounting for 17 percent of active duty warrant officers (in contrast to 9 percent of commissioned officers). Appendix Tables B-43 and B-44 provide a glimpse of warrant officer accessions and the corps of warrant officers on active duty by gender and race/ethnicity.
[Footnote 10] For more detailed information on warrant officers, see Department of Defense, DoD Report on the "Warrant Officer Management Act" (WOMA) (Washington, DC: Author, 1989). [back to paragraph]
[Footnote 11] Upper-level warrant officers, however, frequently function in foreman-type roles within their system specialties. [back to paragraph]
[Footnote 12] The Air Force discontinued its warrant officer program in 1959 and increased promotion opportunities for senior enlisted personnel. [back to paragraph]