Friday, August 23, 2013
How do you persuade people to do a vital but boring job? That is the issue the Air Force is facing as it tries to staff its ranks of drone pilots. The job is hours and hours of guiding remotely piloted aircraft across the skies of Iraq and Afghanistan. There are so few Air Force pilots willing to do it that those who have taken the job pull long shifts. That, of course, makes the task less desirable. The Air Force is faced with changing the position to get more volunteers. That is step one in good PR. There needs to be incentives for junior officers to spend mind-numbing hours flying in circles. Perhaps if drone pilots were able to make higher rank faster, more would be willing to take on the job. The challenge facing the Air Force is that drone work is not going away. It is too valuable as a source of intelligence and firepower. If anything, the Air Force will become the Drone Force in decades to come. That means it needs to solve personnel issues now.