Hemorrhaging Her...A Capability Gap Analysis on Why the Air Force Can't Retain Female Operators
AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB United States
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The AFs retention of female operators is at the forefront of its personnel issues. So far, the research on the retention of females in operations has focused on a multitude of survey analyses noting challenges in the difficulty of balancing a career and family, gender bias, and geographic instability. Although the AF has attempted to resolve some of these issues, it has not yet found success. This paper argues that the AF can improve the retention of female operators by addressing the problem through a capability gap investigation. Using a Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System JCIDS analysis, this paper will identify new. At the tactical level, increasing the availability of female flight suits and female urinary devices, adopting the Armys additional body armor sizes, and approving two-piece flight suit wear across all MAJCOMS can be implemented immediately. At the operational level, increasing female instructors at operator training bases, getting two in the pool as board members and nominees for selection boards, and maximizing simulator opportunities to maintain currency while pregnant or injured will take time, but must begin to be assessed now. Other recommendations such as eliminating the maximum number of females attending operator training, categorizing operator female and minority O-5s as high potential officers HPOs, and improving bathroom facilities as a high interest item for new and upgrading major weapons systems MWS can be tackled in the near term. Finally, at the strategic level, increasing the number of female General Officers, reviewing anthropometric standards for MWS operator requirements, and updating the incentive pay program to counter pregnancy penalties must be addressed by senior leadership as soon as possible. It is time to go further and more quicklyallowing women to achieve as much as possible, for as long as possible, within the military system.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Military Forces and Organizations