UNWARRANTED: RECONSIDERING THE AIR FORCE WARRANT OFFICER

The Air Force is faced with a long-standing conundrum — not enough pilots, particularly fighter pilots. The causes of the shortage are longstanding, and have defied easy or quick solutions. The introduction of light attack aircraft (if that ever happens), offers potential to solve part of the problem by increasing the number of available cockpits. Oddly enough, the pilot shortage is exacerbated by too few so-called “absorbable cockpits” because they can absorb new students and turn them into experienced aviators. But even increasing the supply of aircraft is not enough. The Air Force also needs a wider training pipeline to provide students in the first place, and an accessions policy that ensures it can get people who will become aviators into the service in the first place. That is proving particularly challenging using traditional methods.

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