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Unmanned Aerial Systems: Actions Needed to Improve DoD Pilot Training


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The Department of Defenses (DOD)UAS portfolio has grown over the years to rival traditional manned systems, and, as of July 2013, DOD had acquired over 10,000 UAS, according to a 2013 DOD report. Training DODUAS pilots, most of whom are in the Army or the Air Force, is an integral part of DODs strategy to accomplish its mission. Senate Report 113-176included a provision that GAO review DODs efforts to train UAS pilots. This report examines, among other things, the extent to which the Army and the Air Force (1) face challenges ensuring that their UAS pilots complete required training and (2) have taken steps to ensure they have sufficient numbers of UAS instructors. GAO analyzed DOD guidance on training UAS pilots, distributed a questionnaire to Army and Air Force headquarters and units, examined non generalize able training records of seven Air Force UAS units selected because they have the same mission requirements, and interviewed DOD officials. GAO also conducted 18 focus groups with active duty UAS pilots who were selected based on rank and other factors. The results of the questionnaire and focus groups are not generalizable.



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