Warrant Officers from across Defence meet for annual conference

Hosted by Strategic Command, the UK Warrant Officer Conference provided an opportunity for discussions on the most pressing topics within Defence

Major Caitlin Champion and Warrant Officer Sara Catterall

General Jim Hockenhull, Commander Strategic Command opened the event, setting the scene and the context for the remainder of the day with the conference focussing on both the challenges faced now for our people, the next steps, and what we see as our future operating capability, putting people at the heart of all we do. With briefings from Senior Leaders, including Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, General Gwyn Jenkins and Chief of Defence People, Admiral Phil Hally, the aim was to increase understanding and awareness of strategic issues amongst our Senior Enlisted Leader roles and to improve organisational culture and the value of our personnel.

General Jim Hockenhull

We had the privilege to have Command Sergeant Major Abernethy (EUCOM CSEL) as a keynote speaker, providing the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) view of the war in Ukraine and how we identify and learn lessons from it for the continued professional development of our own Force.

Enlisted personnel are the lifeblood of any Defence organisation regardless of Nation. And where strategic judgment and thinking may have been the realm of the Officer in years past, it is no longer the case. From traditional fighting infantry, medical specialists, special forces, cyber experts, intelligence analysts – arguably these and other deep specialisations are required for the future battlefield, be it traditional or hybrid, are fundamentally tied to our NCO cadre with a necessity of empowered and strategic mindset. The role of the NCO in Ukraine, illustrates that we have never and should never, remain static.

CSM Abernethy

Understanding the strategic context and engaging with our Senior Leaders remains a key part of our Warrant Officers role, in order to enable greater communication and understanding across the Force, for the betterment of our Service Personnel.

As Senior Enlisted Leaders, our role is about people. Placing our people first, now, next and in the future, just makes sense. Ultimately the day covered our direct responsibility in continued empowerment and investment into the intelligent, curious, skilled and strategically aware workforce of the future.

Strategic Command