The U.S. military has said earlier that the USAF is lacking 1,500 pilots
U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Oct. 20 that will allow the U.S. Air Force (USAF) to recall as many as 1,000 retired pilots back to active duty.
As reported by The Hill, the White House announced that Trump would use powers under the National Emergencies Act signed in the aftermath of the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, to subject the secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force to the direction of the secretary of Defense on the matter.
Pentagon spokesman Navy Cmdr. Gary Ross said in a statement to CNBC that Defense Secretary James Mattis now has the power to recall up to 1,000 retired military pilots into service to address the shortage, a responsibility Ross said Mattis will likely delegate to the secretary of the Air Force.
Noteworthy the Pentagon has said that the Air Force is lacking 1,500 pilots for active duty, on top of shortages of aviator officers in the Navy, as mentioned in the White House memo.
“The health of the fighter pilot community is bad,” said Lt. Gen. Chris Nowland, Air Force deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements (AF/A3). “We focus on fighter pilots, but it’s not just [them]. We have a national pilot crisis. Essentially the Air Force, when it comes to pilot production, is going to have to change.”
“Recruiting and getting people on to fly is not a problem,” said Nowland. “If you look across the Air Force, the quality of the individuals coming into the Air Force are some of the highest we ever had. That goes for the enlisted and officer force. Our problem is capacity. It’s how do we get the throughput up to produce the number of pilots we want. It’s a supply and demand problem. Air Education and Training Command is working hard on this problem, but it’s not something that can change overnight. There is a lot of infrastructure associated with it and the problem becomes complicated as you consider how to man to the increased capacity that we want to build.”
Noteworthy Trump’s order comes as the Trump administration is preparing to ramp up the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan as part of the administration’s new stabilization strategy for the country.
The administration’s plan in the war-torn country, where U.S. forces have been for 16 years, will have a heavy emphasis on air support for ground forces and training the Afghan Air Force.
Photo credit: Senior Airman Janiqua P. Robinson, Airman 1st Class Alexis P. Docherty and Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur / U.S. Air National Guard