The Air Force has made a big personnel move to address its ongoing pilot shortage

take off in a C-17 Globemaster III at Fort Bragg, North Carolina,
July 27, 2017.

US Air Force
photo/Staff Sgt. Keith James

At the end of fiscal year 2016 in September that year, the Air
Force was short 1,544 pilots, of whom 1,211 were fighter pilots.

The service is also poised to lose 1,600 more
over the next four years, and the potential for that
outflux has prompted a number of adjustments.

The Air Force has increased pay and bonuses while looking at
broadening recruiting and adjusting assignments. Some officers
have even said the service may implement stop-loss policies in
order to retain pilots.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, who recently returned from a
10-day trip to Iraq, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, and Afghanistan, has
also shuffled Air Force leadership in order to address the
service’s dwindling ranks.

Wilson said Brig. Gen. Mike Koscheski had
been appointed to lead the Air Force’s aircrew crisis task force
to advance “the leadership of this task force to a general
officer, who will be focused … on retaining and growing pilots
in order to address the shortfall,” according to

Koscheski, who was promoted to brigadier general on July 4, will
be the first general
officer to lead the task force.

Michael Slotten, a 61st Fighter Squadron F-35 student pilot,
climbs into an F-35 Lighting II at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona,
July 7, 2017.

(US Air Force
photo/Staff Sgt. Jensen Stidham)

Prior to this position, Koscheski was chief of the
strategic-planning integration division for the Air Force’s
deputy chief of staff of strategic plans, programs, and
requirements at the Pentagon. He was previously director of
operations for US Air Force Central Command’s operations
directorate and is rated a command pilot with more than 2,800
flight hours.

The aircrew crisis task force was established in
March and is pursuing a number of initiatives to ease the Air
Force’s pilot strain. It recently wrapped a two-week meeting with
aviators and subject-matter experts to discuss issues facing

Afghan air force member works with an adviser to practice air
drops near Kabul, March 19, 2017.

Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jordan

The announcement of Koscheski’s appointment came alongside that
of several other moves to
address the shortage
of fliers, including pay and bonus
increases as well as the Voluntary Rated Return to Active
Duty, or VRRAD, an initiative to allow retired pilots to return
to the force to free up active-duty pilots for ongoing

The Air Force secretary did note that the
service had no shortage of operators for remotely piloted
aircraft, having recovered from a deficit of them two years

Ongoing conflicts around the world mean the Air Force’s
unmanned-aircraft operators will remain in high demand but
training and
air forces in places like Iraq and Afghanistan will
continue to tax pilots and aircrews of manned aircraft.

Wilson has said the service is under “tremendous strain
and expressed concern that shortages in the service’s ranks, as
well as poor readiness, could leave the Air Force at a
disadvantage in current and future conflicts.

“So what happens if there is a circumstance that is heavily
contested?” Wilson said on Friday,
referring to an air engagement with another force. “I worry about
that. I think we should all worry about that.”

Article source: http://www.businessinsider.com/general-now-leading-air-force-aircrew-crisis-task-force-2017-8

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