Tags: air force | pilots | shortage

Air Force Secretary: We're 'Almost 2K Pilots Short'

Image: Air Force Secretary: We're 'Almost 2K Pilots Short'
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Gen. David L. Goldfein, chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force speak during a news briefing at the Pentagon, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP )

By    |   Friday, 10 Nov 2017 12:11 PM

The Air Force needs an additional 2,000 pilots, even after President Donald Trump issued an executive order allowing retired pilots to be called back into active-duty, Military.com reports. 

"Last summer, we were reporting to people that we were about 1,500 pilots short in the Air Force — and we expected it to get worse," Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told reporters on Thursday. "Almost 2,000 pilots short of a force that has 20,000 pilots, so that's one in 10 that we're short."

She added that "increasing the readiness of the force so that we win any fight, anytime are our top priorities."

In October, Trump signed an order expanding the Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty, or VRRAD program.

"As the Air Force pursues a variety of initiatives to counter the shortage, it will take care to balance new accessions with voluntary programs for retired and senior pilots to ensure the service maintains a balance of experienced aviators throughout the coming years," Air Force spokeswoman Erika Yepsen told Military.com in a statement last month. 

"We're doing a number of things to try to move out and increase production — but that's going to be a longer-term investment," Air Force chief of staff Gen. David Goldfein said alongside Wilson.

"You can't train a pilot in just a year. You have to absorb them into a squadron, get them qualified in a weapons system," the secretary added.

The general added that U.S. forces haven't suffered because of a lack of pilots "yet… But if we don't turn this around through all the efforts that we're working on, then we'll end up heading down that path."

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The Air Force needs an additional 2,000 pilots, even after President Donald Trump issued an executive order allowing retired pilots to be called back into active-duty, Military.com reports.
air force, pilots, shortage
271
2017-11-10
Friday, 10 Nov 2017 12:11 PM
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