Reducing Air Force Fighter Pilot Shortages
RAND PROJECT AIR FORCE SANTA MONICA CA SANTA MONICA
Pagination or Media Count:
The Air Force faces a persistent and critical shortage of fighter pilots. Within the active component, fighter cockpits are generally filled to capacity, while staff positions calling for officers with fighter experience are often filled at around half to two-thirds of stated requirements. The supply of fighter pilots is limited by the capacity of the Air Force to train new pilots and to absorb new, inexperienced pilots in operational units, with absorption typically being the most binding constraint. This report examines the feasibility and likely impact of paths available to either increase the supply or reduce the demand for fighter pilots. Supply can be addressed by increasing the capacities to train and absorb inexperienced pilots or by increasing retention of experienced pilots. Demand can be addressed primarily by converting staff requirements from active duty fighter pilot to other workforce types. The authors find that supply increasing alternatives will have limited impact, and therefore reductions in demand are needed.