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Unmanned Aerial Systems: Air Force and Army Should Improve Strategic Human Capital Planning for Pilot Workforces

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Technical Report

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U.S. Government Accountability Office Washington United States

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Why GAO Did This Study. The demand for UAS combat operation support has grown dramatically in the last decade. Since 2008, the Air Force has more than quadrupled its requirements for UAS pilots but faced challenges meeting the requirements due to UAS pilot shortages. Meanwhile, a 2015 Army review found that Army UAS units mishap rate was higher than for other aircraft and Army officials stated that training shortfalls had contributed to the mishaps. Senate Report 114-49 included a provision that GAO review Air Force and Army UAS personnel strategies. GAO assesses the extent to which the Air Force and the Army have 1 applied key principles of effective strategic human capital planning for managing UAS pilots and 2 evaluated the workforce mix to meet UAS pilot requirements. GAO compared its previously developed key principles of effective strategic human capital planning with Air Force and Army actions. GAO analyzed data on required and actual Air Force UAS pilots and data on Army UAS training. What GAO Recommends. GAOs 11 recommendations include that the Air Force tailor its strategy to address UAS pilot shortages the Army revise its strategy to address UAS training shortfalls and that both services evaluate their workforce mix for UAS pilot positions and conduct analysis to ensure cost effectiveness of workforce decisions. DOD concurred with 2 recommendations and partially concurred with 9, noting actions that it believed addressed the intent of GAOs recommendations. GAO continues to believe that DOD needs to take actions to fully address the recommendations.

Subject Categories:

  • Pilotless Aircraft
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations

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