Future Retention of the Marine Corps Top Performing Aviators
US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States
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Aviation operations and pilot enabling technologies are increasingly sophisticated and expensive. The result is fewer but more capable aircraft requiring highly skilled aviators. While these emerging technologies greatly improve aircraft performance and enhance mission capabilities, they require much more technologically oriented aviators to manage the systems and still fly the aircraft. The emerging gap and the weakest link is in selecting and retaining the most skilled pilots. Thus, it is more effective and efficient for the Marine Corps to retain its aviator Weapons and Tactics Instructors WTI by motivating them to remain in the service than it is to groom and train replacements. These WTIs are the pilot trainers that evaluate, educate and train all the other pilots in the emerging technologies and operational applications. This study revealed that, based on the survey results and historic WTI population graphs, there is a clear storm on the horizon in regards to the future retention of aviator WTIs. The regression models created for this study demonstrated that the three most important retention factors are promotion opportunities, quality of lifework-life balance, and Aviator Continuation Pay.