August 11, 2016
By Lorra B.
By the end of 2016 the United States Air Force will need to fill over 700 fighter pilot positions and the task won’t be easy.
It was in May that the shortage was first reported to Fox news. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Air Force is also short 4,000 mechanics as well.
The implications of this could be far-reaching and disastrous as we continue to battle ISIS.
The U.S. Air Force’s top officer, Gen. David Goldfein, stated, “It is a crisis. Air superiority is not an American birthright. It’s actually something you have to fight for and maintain.”
The Air Force’s current planes are the oldest in history and are being piecemealed together with parts found in the plane ‘boneyard’ in Arizona and from museums because parts are no longer made for our military planes.
Goldfein is absolutely correct, this is a crisis and it is shameful that the safety of our troops and our nation are at risk because we don’t have proper equipment to protect either properly.
In order to encourage pilots to stay in the service, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James intends to give drone pilots an incentive bonus of $35,000 a year.
It is the contention of the Air Force that bonuses are needed for every pilot to cover this disastrous shortage as the Airline industry seduces them with benefits and higher salaries.
James told Fox News, “The airlines are forecast to be hiring a lot more,” and that the Air Force pilot shortage will continue to increase reaching over 1000 in a few years.
In order to compete with airline companies that are pulling pilots from the Air Force at an increasing rate, bonuses, incentives and a better ‘quality of service’ are being offered.
“If we take a balanced approach, we’re hoping that we can get these folks to stay,” he said.
Plane safety, and ongoing deployments overseas are having a big impact on pilot’s decisions whether to stay in the military or not.
The shortage of pilots, according to Goldfein, have not had any effect on the war against ISIS in Iraq, Syria and Libia as of yet.
The continued military pilot shortage and outdated planes and equipment, on the other hand, could very well be a problem in the near future.
By Lorra B.