The Relative Cost-Effectiveness of Retaining Versus Accessing Air Force Pilots
Rand Corporation
ISBN/EAN: 9781977402042 / Doc #: RR-2415-AF
March 29, 2019
An alternative to relying on retaining current pilots to sustain the size of the U.S. Air Force's (USAF's) pilot force is to access and train new pilots.

But expanding the pilot training pipeline is costly, so, ultimately, the USAF faces a trade-off between increasing pilot accessions and incurring greater training cost or increasing pilot retention and incurring higher special and incentive (S&I) pay costs, as well as the higher personnel cost of a more senior force.

For a given-size pilot force, the determination of the efficient level of S&I pays and whether it is more cost-effective to train new pilots or retain those already in the force depends on the cost of training; personnel costs, including the cost of S&I pays; and, importantly, how responsive pilot retention behavior is to increases in Aviation Bonus (AvB) and Aviation Incentive Pay (AvIP).

To ensure that AvB and AvIP use USAF resources efficiently to sustain the pilot force, the USAF asked RAND Project Air Force to develop an analytic capability for determining the efficient amount of S&I pays for a rated officer career field given the cost of producing an additional trained and adequately experienced rated officer, as well as the retention behavior of rated officers.

This report summarizes the analysis in response to this request.

The authors recommend that the USAF explore where training cost savings might be found (e.g., perhaps through alternative training technologies) without jeopardizing USAF capability and readiness.

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