Even Chief Warrant Officers are replaceable, says Senior Chief Warrant Officer Peter Smik
Peter Smik, in a recent interview with the department's monthly A Report, said there is a need for warrant officers to rotate in their posts. Thus, he said, the maximum period of stay in office should be four to five years. Smik also added that he would be happy to cover the back of the new Chief of General Staff (CGS) if needed. He should be known by May next year at the latest, when he will replace the current CGS, General Aleš Opata.
"Ironically, by being young and at the silver top, I am not looking forward to a long career in the Army. All I know one hundred percent is that we will have a new CGS soon. I myself am of the opinion that the new boss should also choose a new Senior Chief Warrant Officer. I imagine I will cover his back for a year or two, but I will have my successors ready. To be effective and productive, I can only be in the position a maximum of four to five years. And that's the message I want to convey and am conveying to my fellow staff warrant officers. We are expendable and it is certainly not the way to have a ten-year commitment signed and stick to the helm tooth and nail," said Senior Chief Warrant Officer Peter Smik in the interview. And he sent a clear message to his colleagues.
If we look around the world, the usual age of chief warrant officers is around 45 years or more. For example, the Slovak Senior Chief Warrant Officer is 46 years old. Like Smik, he has a lot of previous Special Forces experience. So he will notionally end his career at nearly 50, compared to Smik, who will be 35 next year. It is evident that Smik has brought a fresh wind to the Silver Corps in his capacity as the Senior Chief Warrant Officer of the Army and his social media communication has motivated many of the younger batch. It could be said that Smik has opened up our Army to more of the public through his actions.
Acquisitions are going well, Smik says
"Our acquisitions of new material are going well. People have something to wear. We ourselves, before it passes the military tests, try things out with the chief. For example, I wore my helmet for almost two days straight. I was a warrior not long ago, I know what these things are supposed to look like. At the same time, I understand the buying process, and I know it's complicated. But you have to talk to people and explain it to them. That goes for materials. I'm going to focus on the people now. I have to say that we have a very good warrant officer corps - I am talking about the ranks of sergeant major and warrant officer. They're career educated, a lot of them have had one or more operational deployments, courses abroad. I really enjoy discussing with them," Smik told A Report of the current situation in the Silver Corps.
We asked Peter Smik a few questions about his career:
The current CGS, Gen. Aleš Opata, will slowly come to end his term, which means that your position as Senior Chief Warrant Officer of the Czech Armed Forces is also coming to an end. If you had the opportunity to go back in time, would you take the post of Senior Chief Warrant Officer of the Czech Armed Forces again, or would you prefer to continue as a "fighter" and take the opportunity to hold the post of Senior Chief Warrant Officer of the Czech Armed Forces only years later?
I never said that I would end up in the post along with the current CGS. For me, it's twofold - the new boss has the right to take his hunk and I won't stand in anyone's way. The other option is that I may be here with the new CGS for 1 to 1.5 years to maintain continuity while introducing him to the 3 people I have ready for the post. I accepted the position of Senior Chief Warrant Officer of the Army with respect and would do it again. I never regret the decision I made.
During your tenure as Senior Chief Warrant Officer of the Army, what are you most satisfied with and what have you had or have the biggest problems with?
I am satisfied with the driv of some chiefs, especially in the rank of ensign. We have a future. We are good at introducing new things/procedures. We will be presenting at officer career courses. I see the interaction between us and the officers in general as one of the main things in the relationship within the command element.
If there is mutual respect, backed by trust and a certain amount of delegation of responsibility to us, it will be good! We don't want to take powers away from commanders. But they need to understand (and will understand through our hard work) that they can trust us with more and more, they will then have time to do things more strategically themselves.
And I have almost no problems. Everyone likes and respects me.
Do you have any idea where your steps will lead after leaving your current position?
I haven't thought about it at all. I'm finishing my master's degree, and my steps will be away from the Army. I'm not going to stink here for more than 4-5 years in one position. Personally, I can see myself anywhere in the security community where I feel the confidence of the boss and will have the opportunity to fulfill myself.