Here is what's new. For the first time since 1975 the US Navy is bringing back the old W-1 (Warrant Officer) grade. After the edition of two additional Chief Petty Officer Grades (Senior Chief E-8 and Master Chief E-9) the navy dropped the entry point warrant officer grade of "Warrant Officer" (W-1) and all newly appointed warrant officers after 1975 were directly appointed to Chief Warrant Officer (W-2) and could advance through the Chief Warrant Officer grades to W-4. Today the high demand for cyber skills in the civilian job market has caused the Navy to seek out a faster track for promotion of its most skilled cyber ratings particularly in the cryptologic areas.
The usual point for ascension to either the Chief Petty Officer grade (E-7) and the earliest point for ascension to the Chief Warrant officer Grade (W-2) has traditionally been from First Class Petty Officer (E-6). From either E-6 or 7 promotion to the Chief warrant officer grades brings a considerable pay raise, not so much from E-8 or 9 and these senior and master Chief Petty Officer grades are more rarely involved in the Warrant competition. THE NEW PROGRAM BY RESTORING THE W-1 WARRANT GRADE OFFERS AN ASCENSION POINT OF SECOND CLASS PETTY OFFICER, SKIPPING THE NECESSITY OF MAKING FIRST CLASS TO EXAMINE FOR THE WARRANT COMPETITION. THE W-1 GRADE OFFERS A SUBSTANTIAL PAY INCREASE TO BOTH SECOND AND FIRST CLASS PETTY OFFICERS COMPARABLE TO MAKING CHIEF PETTY OFFICER.
While W-1 doesn't cover all of the gap between military and civilian pay for journeymen Crypto techs, it provides a serious living wage, plus allowances and benefits and an officer life style. The Navy hopes this opportunity will keep many of the best and brightest in the targeted rates aboard. But it will do more than that. The Chief Petty Officer rates are subject to percentage of rate limits, for example usually by law only 1% of a particular rating may consist of active duty Master Chiefs (E-9) by siphoning off some of the competition to the warrant grades more CTS will be able to advance to Chief Petty Officer sooner. A first enlistment CT second class nearing reenlistment time would be looking at greatly enhanced probability of making First Class Petty Officer (E-6) within weeks of reenlisting, and participating in the warrant competition while still a second class. If the CT second class (E-5) doesn't make the warrant during his first attempt, he will be sitting for First class in weeks with a high probability of advancing. He can then apply for advancement directly to Chief Warrant Officer via the usual route and will be eligible to take the Chief Petty Officer exam within 2 years. Most of the targeted rate members who make second class petty office within their first four years in service should find themselves as Chief Petty, Warrant, or Chief Warrant Officers by the time they are six years into the service.
Many of the members of the Chief Petty Officer and Chief Warrant Officer corps in other ratings not subject to such civilian competition for their skill sets spent the better part of 20 years advancing to these grades. With all of the extra time ahead of them these fast track Chiefs and Warrants have plenty of time to climb the respective career tracks to Master Chief (E-9) or Chief Warrant Officer (W-4) or make the transition via the limited duty officer track to commissioned officer. What many civilians don't under stand is that at these levels the rigid hierarchy or rank that civilians perceive gives way to more of a bell curve of compensation with Master Chief Petty Officers, Chief Warrant Officers and Lieutenant Commanders not being very far apart in monthly pay or retirement benefits.
Add in the the twenty or thirty year retirements with the probability of lucrative civilian employment awaiting them, the medical benefits in retirement, retirement pay that you don't have to wait on a specified age to collect, and the attractant factor for a naval career goes up. With this early ascension program a naval career, even when you have highly sought after and compensated skills wanted in the civilian world could put the Navy's tech stars well ahead of those who chose the early out civilian path.