The USAF has set up an Aircrew Crisis Task Force with eight lines of effort to try to address the problem of personnel retention. ‘There is no one single thing we can do [to address this],’ said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson in November. Last summer the USAF said it was 1,500 pilots short, and it expected the problem to only get worse. That prediction has come true — the latest fiscal year closed with the USAF being some 1,926 pilots short. With an overall tally of 20,000, it equates to a 10 per cent deficit. A lot of these are some of the air force’s most experienced pilots.
USAF Chief of Staff Gen Dave Goldfein said the USAF needs to retain as many pilots as possible and build capacity. Goldfein said the USAF is also growing the pilot training pipeline from 1,200 annually to 1,400, and that he has also been authorized to welcome retirees back into the active-duty air force. He warned that personnel shortfalls could get so bad that squadrons need to be cut — no one wants to see that happen.
Read more on this in the USAF Air Power Yearbook – out in December.