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    Defining 'Be all you can be' for one NETCOM Warrant Officer

    Dragons Flying: The XVIII Airborne Corps

    Courtesy Photo | A younger Chief Warrant Officer 3 Willie Newkirk, cyberspace defense technician,...... read more read more



    Story by Gordon Van Vleet 

    U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command

    FORT MEADE, Md.-- In the early 90’s, during the heyday of the U.S. Army’s ‘Be all you can be’ mantra, an eager young man from North Carolina, fresh out of high school and working his way through college, realized he really did want to be all he could be, so he left college and joined the Army.

    Now, three decades later, he has proven that you can actually, ‘Be all you can be’ in the Army after attaining the highest rank possible in the Army’s Warrant Officer Corps.

    Chief Warrant Officer 5 Willie Newkirk, the Senior Cyberspace Defense Warrant Officer for 7th Signal Command (Theater), was one of many young men and women, who joined the Army in the 90s in a real effort to be the best Soldier he could become and realize his career dreams.

    “After graduating high school in 1992, I found myself working full-time and attending college full-time, pursing a degree in Chemical Engineering,” said Newkirk. “These challenges led me to enlist in the Army.”

    Newkirk’s journey in the United States Army was a road with many destinations. And, like a lot of new recruits, where Newkirk ended up was not where he first set his sights on.

    “My first MOS was a 13F, a Fire Support Specialist,” said Newkirk. However, as he progressed in his career the Army helped him realize he was not using his full potential, and cross-trained into the Signal Career Field.

    “I chose the Signal Corps because it afforded me the opportunity to leverage my information technology skillset, certifications and experience that I had honed outside of the military.”

    Realizing he really could achieve more,’ Newkirk set his eyes on joining the ranks of the Warrant Officer cohort.

    “I became a Warrant Officer in 2005,” said Newkirk. “I choose to become a Warrant Officer for better career opportunities and to leverage a skillset that I already possessed.”

    Although condensed into a few short sentences, the journey to the Warrant Officer field is a long journey filled with some great mentors.
    “Throughout my entire career I have had mentors, who have helped me succeed,” said Newkirk. “There has been a host of NCOs, Warrant Officers and Officers that have supported and advised me.”

    But the one mentor who provided the best advice and helped the most was a family member.

    “The one that most stands out to me is my uncle, Command Sgt. Major (Retired), William Watson,” said Newkirk. “My uncle is retired Special Forces, Vietnam veteran. He is an amazing dynamic leader that still provides pertinent advice to this day.”

    Likewise, to become a seasoned Senior Warrant Officer that can provide the type of advice the Commander needs requires diversification of assignments, experience, and continual honing of technical expertise, and Newkirk was no exception.

    “I feel that each assignment has helped me succeed,” Newkirk said.
    The duties and responsibilities increased exponentially for Newkirk as he continued to rise in the Warrant Officer Ranks, and it was that constant forward momentum that propelled him to his current position.

    Currently, Newkirk serves as Senior Technical Advisor for 7th SC (T) G-3. He is the subject matter expert on actions taken within the Continental United States portion of the Department of Defense Information Network-Army (DODIN-A) for securing, operating, and defending the DODIN-A against threats enabling uninterrupted mission command, full-spectrum cyberspace operations, and cyberspace superiority for the Commander.

    "Chief Warrant Officer 5 Newkirk is a phenomenal member of the 7th Signal Command team and one of our absolute best senior Warrant Officers within the Signal Regiment,” said 7th SC (T) Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Charles ‘Rob’ Parker.

    “Incredibly smart, insightful and forward leaning, I know that I can always count on Willie to provide the technical leadership needed to solve the most challenging and complex problems across my command.”
    Parker emphasized Newkirk’s drive to excel and the benefit to the command.

    “His great personality, combined with boundless energy, helps to build the needed partnerships with various stakeholder organizations that is required to address enterprise level issues and challenges both today and well into the future."

    According to Chief Warrant Officer 5 Kathleen A. Mahoney, Command Chief Warrant Officer 7th SC (T), Warrants add definition to the operations they oversee, much like the precision of a scalpel. As such, they shape and influence the future of the Army and its leaders because of their knowledge and experience of the past.

    “Warrant officers provide precision, applicable knowledge, and technical expertise in their trained field,” Mahoney said.

    “They are subject matter experts and continuous learners of their craft. Constantly pursuing and evaluating emerging technologies to present informed recommendations to Senior leaders by staying on the cutting edge of technology.”

    Mahoney relates how she saw great potential in his ability to translate the importance of cyberspace defense and how it impacts the systems and servers at the various Regional and Local NECs (Network Enterprise Center).

    “CW5 Newkirk is the bridge to understanding cyber defensive and offensive operations,” said Mahoney.

    “As Lt. Gen. [John] Morrison [Army G6] stated ‘It is all about continuous improvement and continuous development. We iterate over time because software never dies. It must always continuously adapt because the threat always adapts.’ CW5 Newkirk brings the mindset and practice of refining our projects to account for that cyber risk,” said Mahoney.

    Newkirk’s advice to others as the Army once again reintroduces the timeless tagline of, ‘Be all you can be’ is to always look at the possibilities rather than focus on the obstacles by investing in yourself first.

    “The military, especially the Army, has almost every career field and path that can set you and your family up for success,” said Newkirk.” The best advice for those Soldiers that are interested in becoming cyber warriors is to invest in yourself by staying up to date with technology, emerging technology, continually reading, and finding a great mentor.”


    Date Taken: 03.17.2023
    Date Posted: 03.17.2023 19:58
    Story ID: 440693

    Web Views: 463
    Downloads: 1