11:41 am - Saturday January 25, 2020
The genesis of the current association for Army Warrant Officers was an idea generated in Indianapolis, Indiana in July 1972. Out of this group was formed the United States Army Warrant Officers Association. See the first flyer published to promoting USAWOA in 1972.
The European Warrant Officers Association, a separate organization of concerned warrant officers was also formed during the same period as the USAWOA. After personal contact and review of similar objectives, the European Warrant Officers Association merged with the USAWOA and became the European Region. The European Region was the stabilizing force for the Association as USAWOA sought to build membership in the United States.
USAWOA became incorporated as a not-for-profit association in Virginia on 7 November 1974.
The United States Army Warrant Officers Association was incorporated as a “not-for-profit” Association in the Commonwealth of Virginia on 7 November 1974. As stated in the Articles of Incorporation, the USAWOA was established to:
Foster a spirit of patriotism and devotion to duty among members, commensurate with the high ideals of the Army and our position therein.
Recommend programs for the improvement of the Army.
Disseminate professional information among warrant officers.
Promote the technical and social welfare of our members
Promote a spirit of true comradeship among our members.
USAWOA is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of a National President, Vice President, Secretary, and six Region Directors elected by the membership, plus any appointed National Treasurer. An Executive Committee of the Board (EXCOM) is responsible for overall operation of the Association. USAWOA By-Laws guide the operation of our Association. Operational manuals detail the operation of the Board of Directors, Financial and many other administrative operations of the Association. View the listing of USAWOA Officials, Directors, Committee Chairpersons, Home Office Staff, and Past National Presidents.
USAWOA basic philosophy is to work within the system to present knowledgeable, professional concerns that affect policy. (USAWOA does not involve itself in personal matters of warrant officers for accessions, assignments, promotions or retirement.) Our current method for meeting our objectives involves a two-pronged approach. First, we acquire professional information for circulation to warrant officers from our official and unofficial contacts with Department of the Army, Department of Defense, Congress, The Military Coalition, and other associations.
Second, and just as important, our Association acts as a focal point to receive professional recommendations, suggestions, concerns and general comments from warrant officers in the field and, after analysis, review, study and approval, present these views to the appropriate offices with the support of the USAWOA.
One of the issues addressed in the early years was the formation of a centralized warrant officer management system to replace the fragmented branch management system. The Department of the Army’s Warrant Officer Division was formed in 1975. Another major issue was the equalization of flight pay which was approved after a long struggle. Military and civilian educational goals including establishment of a Warrant Officer Senior Course and advance courses were advocated. Improvements have subsequently come to pass. Assignment of warrant officers to positions of responsibility on the Army Staff was continually recommended and today we have warrant officers in key positions throughout the Army. Modifications in the Officer Evaluation Report system for warrant officers were sought and approved. Appointment of warrant officers to promotion boards, field grade quarters for senior warrant officers, defined additional duties for senior warrant officers and other issues raised by our members were eventually approved.
In more recent years USAWOA provided valuable warrant officer research information to the Total Warrant Officer Study (TWOS) and served as a sounding board for many TWOS issues. The Association also lobbied Congress for passage of the Warrant Officer Management Act and succeeded in having the legislation introduced in the House of Representatives where it was subsequently included in other legislation and passed. USAWOA also actively participated and continues to participate in the Warrant Officer Leader Development Network (WOLDN).
In short our Association from its inception has tackled the issues that our members believed were necessary to improve the Corps. Our logo of “Professionalism, Representation and Recognition” served us well in the early days and continues to be a driving force behind our current actions.
A major activity in recent years has been the hosting of professional development seminars in which members of the Army staff, including the reserve components, brief warrant officers on the myriad of changes affecting warrant officers today and in the future. This information is presented by those who are instrumental in developing policies which will shape the future of the Corps.
Worldwide Chapters & Regions
USAWOA is not a select few at the national level. The Association is comprised of Army Warrant Officers from around the world. To provide social and professional opportunities for its members the Association encourages the organization of local chapters where ever warrant officers can be found. The primary purpose of the chapters is to act as a focal point for warrant officers at the local level to disseminate and pass on to USAWOA officials the professional concerns of their members. Another function of the chapters is to provide social outlets to their members and families as the local situation dictates. View listing of world-wide Chapters and Regions. A Non-Affiliated category of membership also exists for many members who are not in close proximity to a chapter or who do not desire to be affiliated with a chapter. To facilitate these chapters, geographic regions with an elected Region Director have also been established – see below map for more on USAWOA Regions.
USAWOA is organized into six Regions: They are the European, Mid-Northern, Mid-Southern, Northeastern, Southeastern, and Western Region. Each of them has an elected Director who, in addition to the elected National Officers, serves on the USAWOA Board of Directors. Region Directors also represent the Chapters and Members-at-Large within their geographic area of responsibility.
USAWOA legislative activities are conducted primarily through The Military Coalition (TMC), which we joined as a Charter Member when it formed in 1985. The Military Coalition is comprised of 35 organizations representing more than 5.5 million members of the uniformed services–active, reserve, retired, survivors, veterans — and their families. In the early years USAWOA undertook many legislative actions to include, but not limited to the following:
Retired Pay Computation – Recommended that retired pay for warrant officers be aligned to be computed on the same basis as commissioned and enlisted personnel. (Approved by DA and recommended to Congress)
Warrant Officer Flight Training – Recommend legislation which required 6 years of active duty commitment be amended to add “or selective reserve service” to permit Reserve Component personnel to receive fixed/rotary wing training. (Approved)
Flight Pay – Recommended the equalization of flight pay between warrant officers and commissioned officers. (Approved)
Drill Pay – Recommended that Guard and Reserve members be allowed to deduct expenses of travel, meals and lodging incurred when performing military duty away from home. (Passed but the tax deduction has expired and a new exemption is once again being pursued)
Disability Pay – Recommended concurrent receipt of military retired pay and VA Disability compensation. (Ongoing)
Forgotten Widows – Recommended legislation to modify the Survivor Benefit Plan to provide an SBP benefit for forgotten widows.
Cola – Opposed the reduction or elimination of the cost of living allowance (COLA) for military retirees. (a major effort mounted each year to preclude the inequitable treatment of retirees as the Congress struggles with reducing the Federal Budget) (Successful to date but requires continual monitoring)
The Warrant Officer Management Act (WOMA) proposal was delivered by then USAWOA Executive Vice President CW4 (Ret) Don Hess of on behalf of the Army to Congressman Charles Bennett of Florida. Upon review, the Senate Armed Services Committee Report on the FY 1990/1991 Defense Authorization Bill referred the package to the Department of Defense (DoD) to evaluate the proposal for consideration in the 1991 bill. The Army was requested by the Defense Department to chair a special ad hoc committee to research and prepare the requested report for the Congress. The committee initiated deliberations on September 22, 1989. Committee participants included representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Force Management) and from the personnel departments of each of the military services, the Reserve components, and the Coast Guard. Then USAWOA National President Dave Welsh served on the committee as the Army’s Reserve Component representative. The Committee’s report was issued on November 30, 1989. The Assistant Secretary of Defense (Force Management & Personnel) forwarded the Defense Report to the Chairmen of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees on March 9, 1990. See the Executive Summary. Congressman Charles Bennett then submitted House Resolution 36, The Warrant Officer Management Act of 1991, to the House of Representative on January 3, 1991. The Bill was referred to the House Armed Services Committee and later became a part of the National Defense Authorizations Act for Fiscal Year 1992. WOMA provisions became effective 90 days after enactment of NDAA FY92, thus WOMA and the establishment of the grade of CW5 were effective in February 1992.
In July 1995, USAWOA submitted Two Technical Amendments to Title 10 of the U.S. Code 1) to allow Reserve Component (RC) Commissioned Chief Warrant Officer to serve until Age 62 and 2) to allow Active Guard-Reserve soldiers to attend Warrant Officer Candidate School and Warrant Officer Basic Course. Title 10 was amended in 1985 to allow for the commissioning of Army Chief Warrant Officers. Effective with commissioning the Office of the Judge Advocate General (OTJAG) opined that the mandatory removal date for commissioned CWO in the RC remained at age 62 not withstanding that the mandatory removal of Regular Army CWO. Further, OTJAG opined that the current laws pertaining to the AGR program did not permit AGR soldiers to attend entry level training. Senator Inhofe, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was successful in insertion of these technical amendments in the Conference Committee report on the National Defense Authorizations Act for Fiscal Year 1996. Upon NDAA FY96 passage this became another victory for USAWOA.
In summary, USAWOA affiliation with The Military Coalition has broadened our understanding of the big picture while still maintaining the Association’s focus on Army warrant officers. Through our proactive participation we have contributed to a unified voice on legislative issues pertaining to the entire military community while simultaneously drawing support for warrant officer issues from other associations.