SAN ANTONIO, TX --- The Air Force needs to overhaul its pilot training program so it can get ahead of a potentially crippling pilot shortage and better prepare the pilots it does have for future threats, a key officer overseeing pilot training said Thursday.
The Air Force is short thousands of pilots and has turned to 19th Air Force to increase its throughput, but at the same time the Pentagon’s National Defense Strategy calls for preparing to meet great power competition. This strategy requires the Air Force to train pilots who can face near-peer threats, and have more capability to make decisions on their own, 19th Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Patrick Doherty said.
“The first requirement is: We’ve got to produce better aviators in the future,” Doherty said at the Military Flying Training USA 2018 conference here. “Quality has got to come higher, they’re going to need to be a different warrior in the future. One that works autonomously on their own, solving their own problems, and not going through six levels of ‘mother may I?’ to make a simple, tactical level decision.”
The Air Force needs a “sense of urgency to get its competitive spirit back” and counter the strides countries like China and Russia have made. It needs to change things “radically” to be prepared for a very different threat from the one encountered during the last 18 years of war in permissive environments, he said. (end of excerpt)
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