Charting a New Path: Modernizing the U.S. Air Force Fighter Pilots Career Development
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLLEGE AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AFB United States
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The purpose of this research is to develop baseline research that proposes a Warrant Officer type program that provides the USAF with greater flexibility in better posturing the fighter pilot force for success in the future. This paper asks the question how can the USAF utilize warrant officers to improve retention and better develop its fighter pilot force It employs a problemsolution methodology to accomplish this by investigating the factors contributing to the current United States Air Force USAF fighter pilot retention problem. Its key findings include documentation that fighter pilots are being drawn from Active Duty in significant numbers because of their increasingly competitive edge in the airline industry. Current USAF monetary retention programs have become ineffective in retaining the required number of fighter pilots within the force. Additionally, fighter pilots have become increasingly frustrated with the demands of the USAF promotion system requirements while attempting to balance their ability to maintain tactical flying skills. Its key recommendation includes the immediate implementation of a permanent USAF Flight Officer FO program to solve the current fighter pilot exodus. This program would provide an alternative career path or choice to fighter pilots at the midpoint of a potential twenty-year career. It would for the first time allow fighter pilots to choose a technical only flying career path lacking the traditional officer progression opportunities, or continue on the current officer career progression model.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Military Forces and Organizations