If at first you don’t succeed, try doing it the way the command chief warrant officer told you before you started.
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Wesley Klees, command chief warrant officer, Space and Missile Defense Command, assumed his role as the senior warrant officer in the command Sept. 12. In his position as CCWO, his roles and responsibilities include providing the command team with extensive expertise for SMDC’s warrant officers as well as developing and synchronizing warrant officer-related policy initiatives including force modernization, recruiting, training, utilization, education and career enhancement.
“The Army warrant officer is a self-aware and adaptive technical expert, combat leader, trainer and adviser,” Klees said. “Warrant officers are innovative integrators of emerging technologies, dynamic teachers, confident warfighters and developers of specialized teams of Soldiers.
“Warrant officers are experienced leaders who are innovative technical experts, or ELITE if you will. The rapid change of technologies and the need to outpace current and future threats will only increase the U.S. Army’s requirement for and reliance on an ELITE warrant officer cohort.”
Klees said his role as the SMDC CCWO is to be the primary adviser to the commanding general on warrant officer professional development, including a proper balance of training, education and mentorship. He added that he will work collaboratively with leaders from across the command to ensure warrant officer talent management and utilization to enhance the operational readiness of the command and adhere to established Army policies and procedures.
As the CCWO, Klees said he will also represent the SMDC commanding general during meetings and conferences with other senior leaders from across the Army on policies and other issues related to warrant officers.
“The SMDC CCWO remains a technical and tactical subject matter expert and advises the commanding general and staff as required in support of our core mission to develop and provide current and future global space, missile defense, and high altitude capabilities to the Army, joint force, and our allies and partners, to enable multi-domain combat effects; enhance deterrence, assurance and detection of strategic attacks; and protect the nation,” Klees said.
Klees said he wanted the civilian work force to know two things about warrant officers.
“Above all else we are Soldiers and leaders committed to the profession of arms and our battle tasks and drills, and we live the Warrior Ethos,” he said. “We are an untapped critical resource and combat multiplier capable of providing key technical and tactical subject matter expertise regarding the employment of our current capabilities and development of emerging capabilities and technologies.”
Klees said he has four goals as the command’s senior warrant officer.
“I am determined to bring immediate value to the command as a great teammate and by personally demonstrating the technical and tactical leadership and dedication to the profession of arms required of our ELITE Warrant Officer Cohort within SMDC,” he said. “I will establish the CCWO position as an enduring primary member of the command group and principle adviser to the SMDC commanding general and staff on issues related to our warrant officers.
“I want to work collaboratively with other senior leaders across SMDC to review those policies and procedures related to the utilization of our warrant officers, ensuring units are properly resourced with the required technical and tactical leadership, in the right places, doing the right things on behalf of the nation, the joint force, our Army and SMDC. Finally, I am determined to improve and formalize the professional development and talent management of our warrant officers across the command to optimize our capability to enable our command to meet our core mission.”
As an Air Defense Artillery Branch member, Klees was selected by the chief warrant officer of the ADA Branch as a nominee to assume the role of CCWO for SMDC.
“The chief of staff of the Army charged the warrant officer cohort to assess the right organizations to establish command chief warrant officers, and the secretary of the Army challenged the warrant officer to ‘Think Strategically and Lead Change,’” Chief Warrant Officer 5 Eric Maule, chief warrant officer of the ADA Branch, said. “I took these directives and determined that the Space and Missile Defense Command was absolutely the right organizational level to establish a command chief warrant officer for an ADA warrant officer to be able to influence strategic change in not only the ADA Branch, but across the Army.”