The Air Force is 1,926 pilots short – nearly 10 percent of the number needed to fulfill mission requirements – and shows no sign of abating. Air Force Magazine reported Nov. 9 that the shortage – which had affected primarily the fighter community – now spans across the inventory.
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said, “We’re too small for all the missions. We are burning out our people.”
Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein echoed Wilson’s concerns in his recent State of the Air Force press briefing. Bonuses and other incentives for pilot retention merely staved off separation, he said. The service needs to come up with a way to attract new pilots, to make up for the “$10 billion” in training that “walked out the door” to date, Air Force Magazine reported.
Goldfein also said that the service is gearing up training to develop 200 more pilots annually, and taking steps to encourage those who separated to don the uniform again. He added that the country needs to produce more aviators, for both the military and civilian communities alike.