ARLINGTON, Va. – The eighth command chief warrant officer of the Army National Guard took the reins of the position in an informal ceremony this month at the Herbert R. Temple Army National Guard Readiness Center.
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Brian Searcy succeeded Chief Warrant Officer 5 Teresa Domeier, who retired.
“I’m humbled and honored and surprised to be selected for this position, the CCWO,” he said. “It’s really a great responsibility.”
He’s also the right person for the job, said Lt. Gen. Jon Jensen, director of the Army Guard.
“Brian brings a great mix of experience and leadership,” Jensen said. “I look forward to working with him to help our entire force across the country, not just our warrant officers, and ensure our Army National Guard remains Always Ready, Always There.”
Searcy served as the command chief warrant officer of the Utah Army National Guard and said he’s eager to take on the challenges of his new role.
“It’s similar to my past position,” he said. “It’s just a different set of responsibilities and a different set of things that I need to look at.”
The job, he said, means advocating for warrant officers throughout the Army Guard rather than focusing only on issues affecting warrant officers in the Utah Army Guard.
“Before, I had just one set of problems,” he said, adding that he tackles the expanded challenges with assistance from the command chief warrant officers in each of the 54 states, territories and District of Columbia and the Army Guard Warrant Officer Senior Advisory Council.
“I depend on them to let me know what they need,” he said. “Then I take what they need and try and figure out how to meet those needs. They let me know what they need me to work on here.”
Searcy said his top priorities include ensuring promotion and education opportunities within the Army Guard warrant officer cohort and recruiting the next generation of warrant officers and filling open billets.
“We have a lot of vacancies right now,” he said. “And, frankly, there’s a lot of competition out there for the same skills that our warrant officers have.”
Ensuring those vacancies are filled also means developing enlisted Soldiers. Unlike commissioned officers, a warrant officer generally must previously serve as a noncommissioned officer in a feeder specialty.
“We need to have really smart, well, not just warrant officers, but enlisted too, because that’s where we feed from,” said Searcy, adding that’s all part of focusing on people, readiness, modernization, reform and partnerships.
Those are especially important in building the Army Guard of 2030, he said.
“The Army of 2030 is going to be very technical,” said Searcy. “You’re going to need those technical warrant officers to be able to fix systems, run systems, maintain systems. They’re going to need to be technically ready.”
And roughly half of Army Guard warrant officers are aviators, he said.
“They’re going to get those new aircraft, whatever they may be, and those aviators are going be in aircraft that are more technical than what they’re in right now.”
Searcy said attracting and retaining the right people is essential and one of his primary efforts.
“I want to get on some sort of glide path where we’re full up on warrant officers,” he said. “It’s going to take some time, but I want to come up with some sort of plan with how we can all work together to get our warrant officer positions filled.”
Part of that also means providing engaging opportunities and showing the Army Guard is a family.
“It’s more than just a place to work,” he said. “It’s a family with great opportunities. You can do a lot of things in the Army National Guard that you otherwise couldn’t do just in the civilian world, and then if you want to do the civilian world too, you can do both at the same time.”
For Searcy, being part of the Army Guard family began in 1988 when he enlisted as a cannon crewmember in the Utah Army Guard. Four years later, he reclassified as an interrogator and Spanish linguist and served as an interrogation section sergeant with D Company, 142nd Military Intelligence Battalion, Utah Army Guard. That lead him to pursue opportunities as a warrant officer.
“There was just a lot of opportunity for warrant officers in the military intelligence community,” he said, though his initial interest in becoming a warrant officer went back to his days as an artillery crewmember.
The unit property book officer, a chief warrant officer 4, made an impression on him that stuck.
“I’ll always remember that guy because the first formal event we had, my rank on my uniform was all messed up,” Searcy said. “He just walked over and said, ‘Let me help you here, Pvt. Searcy. Let me help you get your rank right.”
That simple act, and the warrant officer’s calm approach, made Searcy take notice.
“I was like, ‘Wow, that guy is cool. I want to be like him,’ “he said. “That’s probably the first time I thought, ‘I want to be a warrant officer.’”
The warrant officer’s technical knowledge and expertise also made an impression. As technical experts, warrant officers “tend to be a little bit blunt and attack issues,” he said.
For Searcy, that’s done with an eye toward helping improve the situation or organization.
“I always try to treat everybody like they’re having their worst day,” he said. “How can I help fix that? If you go at it that way, you won’t have problems.”
That’s especially important as the Army Guard reconfigures with an eye toward 2030.
“This is a team effort – taking care of people, reforming, getting ready for the Army of 2030,” said Searcy. “That’s going to take all of us to do that and all of us working together.”
For Searcy, it comes down to serving.
“I just want to serve,” he said. “I love Soldiers. What a great opportunity to come to Washington, D.C., to be able to do this job and be able to do what I was doing back home, but at a different level.”