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"Chief Warrant Officer" in the United States Armed Forces refers to any warrant officer W-2 and above. For the US rank, see warrant officer (United States).

Chief Warrant Officer is a military rank used by the Canadian Forces, the Israel Defense Forces, the South African National Defence Force and since 2012, the Singapore Armed Forces.[1]


In the Canadian Forces, a Chief Warrant Officer or CWO is the most senior non-commissioned member (NCM) rank in the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force. Its equivalent rank in the Royal Canadian Navy is Chief Petty Officer 1st Class (CPO1).

A CWO is senior to the rank of Master Warrant Officer[2] (MWO) and its Royal Canadian Navy equivalent of Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class (CPO2).

Cadets Canada uses the ranks of Chief Petty Officer 1st Class, Chief Warrant Officer, and Warrant Officer 1st Class respectively. This organization's uniforms use a similar Coat of Arms insignia as the Canadian Forces.

The French language form is adjudant-chef (adjuc).


File:Wo1 sl.gif

The slip on worn on a Warrant Officer 1st Class in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. This is signified by the word "cadet". In the Canadian Forces, "Canada" would be printed in its place.

The rank insignia of the CWO is similar to the Coat of Arms of Canada, worn on both forearms of the Service Dress tunic; in gold metal and green enamel miniature pins on the collar of the Service Dress shirt and outerwear coats (Army only); on CADPAT slip-ons worn in the middle of the chest, embroidered in tan (Army) or blue (Air Force) thread; and in gold thread on blue slip-ons on both shoulders of other uniforms (Air Force only). For whatever reason, the Canadian Forces did not update the CWO/CPO1 insignia to reflect the 1985 changes to the Coat of Arms of Canada, specifically the addition of an annulus behind the shield bearing the motto of the Order of Canada. (This would make the insignia technically incorrect.)

Forms of address

CWOs are generally initially addressed as "Chief Warrant Officer", and thereafter as "Sir" or "Ma'am" by subordinates; and as Mr. or Ms. by commissioned officers. If they hold the appointment of Regimental Sergeant-Major, they may also be addressed as "RSM" by the Commanding Officer. CWOs are never addressed as "Chief", this being a form of addressed reserved for Chief Petty Officers. Civilians can address them as Chief Warrant Officer or CWO or as Mr. or Ms.


CWOs may hold a number of appointments, some of which are listed below:

Special appointments or Senior Appointments for Chief Warrant Officers and Chief Petty Officers 1st Class entitle the incumbents to wear a modified rank badge or an addition to the rank badge. They are as follows:[3]

  • Base Chief Warrant Officer (BCWO) and Wing Chief Warrant Officer (WCWO) - the Coat of Arms over the central insignia of the badge of the Canadian Armed Forces (crossed swords, an anchor and an eagle in flight). Would be seen with a LCol-Col
  • Formation Chief Warrant Officer/Area Chief Warrant Officer – the Coat of Arms over the central insignia of the badge of the Canadian Armed Forces (crossed swords, an anchor and an eagle in flight). This appointment includes, for example, the Division Chief Warrant Officer (DCWO) of 1 Canadian Air Division and the Area Sergeant-Major (Area SM) of Land Force Western Area (LFWA). Would be seen with a Col-BGen Area Chief with a MGen
  • Command Chief Warrant Officer (CCWO) – the Coat of Arms with a wreath of laurel wrapped around the base. Would be seen with a LGen
  • Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer (CFCWO) – the Coat of Arms with a wreath of twenty-eight maple leaves wrapped around the base and sides. The CFCWO is not classified as a Sergeant-Major, even if the appointee is an Army CWO.

Due to the unified nature of the Canadian Forces, it is not unheard-of for Royal Canadian Air Force CWOs or even Royal Canadian Navy CPO1s – especially those of the so-called "purple trades", such as logistics or military police – to find themselves filling the appointment of RSM in what are otherwise considered Canadian Army units (such as Service Battalions or Communication Regiments). Conversely, it is not impossible for a Canadian Army CWO or Royal Canadian Navy CPO1 to find themselves as the Squadron CWO of a Royal Canadian Air Force squadron.

Messes and quarters

CWOs generally mess and billet with other Warrant Officers and with Sergeants, and their Royal Canadian Navy equivalents, Chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers. Their mess on military bases or installations are generally named the "Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess".


Although NCMs, CWOs generally wear the uniform accoutrements of commissioned officers; for example, officer cap badge, waistcoat instead of cummerbund with mess kit, Sam Browne belt instead of sash for infantry, etc.

Israel Defense Forces

Rav nagad

The רב-נגד Rav nagad, a Chief Warrant Officer is the most senior non-commissioned officers rank in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Because the IDF is an integrated force, they have a unique rank structure. IDF ranks are the same in all services (army, navy, air force, etc.). The ranks are derived from those of the paramilitary Haganah developed in the British Mandate of Palestine period to protect the Yishuv. This origin is reflected in the slightly-compacted IDF rank structure.[4]

Israel Defense Forces ranks : נגדים nagadim - non-commissioned officers (NCO)
Rav samal
רב-סמל ראשון
Rav samal rishon
רב-סמל מתקדם
Rav samal mitkadem
רב-סמל בכיר
Rav samal bakhír
רב-נגד משנה
Rav nagad mishne
Rav nagad
NATO  OR-5 OR-6 OR-7 OR-8 OR-9
Abbreviation רס"ל
Sergeant first class Master sergeant Sergeant major Command sergeant major Warrant officer Chief warrant officer
Insignia IDF Ranks Rasal.svg IDF Ranks Rasar.svg IDF Ranks Rasam.svg IDF Ranks Rasab.svg IDF Ranks Ranam.svg IDF Ranks Ranag.svg
More details at Israel Defense Forces ranks & IDF 2012 - Ranks (, english)

South Africa

In 2008[5] the Warrant Officer ranks of the South African National Defence Force were expanded and the rank of Chief Warrant Officer was created. In the South African Navy a Chief Warrant Officer is the senior NCO in Fleet Command. In the South African Army the equivalent is the senior NCO in an Army Formation, such as Armour, Infantry etc.

File:SANDF CWO Rank.gif

Chief Warrant Officer rank insignia in the SANDF

See also


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