Quick Hit: Air Force Continues Trying to Solve Pilot Shortage With Small Ideas

In its latest attempt to stem a gushing arterial bleed with a Hello Kitty bandaid, the Air Force is now offering more flight pay to aircrew members and inviting retired geezers to come back on active duty for 12 months to hold down swivel chairs on superfluous staffs. The scant details are mentioned in Stars and Stripes.

The money is too little to move anyone and therefore just enough to qualify as waste. As for the staff jobs … if they can be done by retired guys who have zero continuity, they shouldn’t require pilots in the first place and probably shouldn’t exist.

I can respect these moves as “no stone unturned” measures, and I respect the current senior leadership for at least labeling the crisis accurately. They’ve given it the focus and energy it needs. But these ideas are too small.

Here are few alternative ideas.

Bring the CAOC home. Anything done in Qatar can be done from CONUS. Once we remove the perceptual incentive attached to posting a huge staff in the desert, the size of the CAOC will naturally recede toward the actual requirement … which is a fraction of current size.

Stop requiring manned pilots in the unmanned community. Put pilots back in manned aircraft and source the next several generations of RPA pilots from an eager enlisted corps, rewarding them with Warrant Officer status upon graduation from training. Yes, this will force us to confront fundamental questions about the meaning of officership in the Air Force, but if we are honest and morally courageous, our convictions about airpower will win out.

Kill DV airlift. Screw the generals, screw Congress, screw the cabinet, screw everyone. Let them take Trump Airlines. Better yet, let them fly coach on United (for example) in the humble manner befitting public servants. This will return hundreds of pilots to the operational Air Force.

These are just a few of the ideas out there. Maybe some of these got traction at the recently concluded and long-overdue summit.

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