Good people can agree or disagree if it was a good idea to begin with - I happen to think it was - but this is what we are telling the Fleet why we killed it?
The Navy has permanently grounded its 6-year-old Flying Warrant Officer Program, saying that though successful at turning enlisted sailors into aviators, the needs of the service have changed. Moreover, the long-term impact of keeping it going would hurt both the people and the service.What have we discussed over and over from Mahan to Midrats about the warfighter needing to make sure the administrator is not primary?
The 49 fliers created by this enlisted-to-officer program — both pilots and naval flight officers — will continue to fly, most likely as commissioned officers, though the service is giving them options.
“We were bringing junior E-6s as W-2,” Whitehead said “Because there was not a formal career path established for these people, there were no metrics for by which promotion boards had to select these people for the more senior warrant grades, W-4 and W-5. For at least 34 of these warrants, it was a real possibility that they would fail to select for W-4 two times and be forced out of the Navy because they would not have enough commissioned service to be either retirement eligible or even be in sanctuary to be retirement eligible.”
Now that the program is officially dead (announced in NAVADMIN 192/13), the question remains as to the future of the 49 flying warrants, 21 of which are pilots and the other 28 being naval flight officers.
Whitehead said the current plan is to allow the warrants to apply to transfer into the unrestricted line aviation community. Their accession would happen in phases over the next few years, he said, inserting them into officer pay grades and year groups that will make them competitive down the line for the jobs they weren’t supposed to have — department head, XO and CO jobs.
Most will move to the URL community once they make W-3 and pick up there as junior in grade lieutenants, he said.
The Navy is also giving these warrants the option to roll the dice and stay flying and keep their warrant officer status. But this comes with a warning that they risk not being able to advance and possibly retire because of their anomaly status in the system if they fail to select for the higher warrant grades.
In addition, those who don’t qualify for the URL jobs, or who for some reason leave flying status, those sailors can compete for other warrant or limited duty officer designators they’re qualified for based on their aviation or prior-enlisted experience in another community.
Are we that rigid? These are our rules, these are totally under our control. How sad and what a waste.
This really boils down to killing a program because Millington can't make it fit in their little system. They can't make it fit because they don't want it to. It speaks to a lack of imagination and to an even greater extent to breaking faith with people.
"Warfighting First?" No CNO, actually - in this case - it is Millington Diktat first, and we are a weaker Navy for it. This was a good program - but it was killed for what seems the most petty of reasons.