Air Force not receptive to Trump’s executive order regarding pilot call-ups

[Defense in Brief]: Air Force brass say they won’t use President Trump’s executive order to recall retired pilots. The service faces a shortage of 2,000 pilots — a shortage that is continuing to grow — but involuntarily recalling retired pilots to active duty isn’t the long-term solution the service needs. The Oct. 20 executive order alters current U.S. law allowing up to 1,000 former pilots to return for three-year duty, up from 25. “We appreciate the flexibility, but we want pilots with more than just a three-year commitment,” an Air Force spokesman said. While acknowledging the current shortage, the spokesman said the service typically wants a 10-20-year commitment from pilots. Analyst comment: The Air Force intends to close the pilot shortage through a three-part process that focuses on the retention of pilots, improvement of the training process and a review of the branch’s policies to find the “most efficient ways” to use pilots. Fine, but the service had better get with it because the shortage is only expected to grow, further limiting the service branch’s ability to respond to a national emergency.

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Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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