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afmedtec

Fighter Pilot Shortage in the USAF-Please take the survey

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Greetings, my name is Andrea , and I am completing my Master's Degree in Human Resources Management with Thomas Edison State University.

For my Capstone, I would like to tackle the issue of the Fighter Pilot shortage in the Air Force. My problem statement is as follows:

-In this study, I will investigate the causes and proposed solutions to the fighter pilot shortage described by upper leadership versus the actual pilots themselves.

What I mean when I say upper leadership, I am referring to the causes and proposed solutions that have already been publicized, mainly in the Air Force Times.

This survey is completely anonymous and your input would be greatly appreciated. Please click the link below to start the survey.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WFJJ3K6

Edited by afmedtec

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Hi Andrea, the premise of your study is incorrect.... Please change the word “leadership” to “management.” The Air Force does not have any “upper leadership.”

Edited by Merle Dixon
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Good luck with your degree but know that even if you briefed this to the CSAF or Congress nothing would change, bureaucracy is to entrenched.

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36 minutes ago, YoungnDumb said:

Good luck with your degree but know that even if you briefed this to the CSAF or Congress nothing would change, bureaucracy is to entrenched.

The Frozen Middle will destroy all good ideas

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We gave out 1 fighter every other class in 2007, and not many more in 2008 because AFPC said we had too many fighter pilots. Fast forward 10 years and we have a shortage. No idea how this could have happened.

Edited by MCO
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On 1/4/2019 at 7:53 AM, MCO said:

We gave out 1 fighter every other class in 2007, and not many more in 2008 because AFPC said we had too many fighter pilots. Fast forward 10 years and we have a shortage. No idea how this could have happened.

Image result for sarcasm meter pegged animated gif

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1) Take a look at Freakonomics, perhaps the economics of drug dealers/crack cocaine... (and no, there is not a 1-1 comparison between drug dealers and fighter pilots).  When you ask a kid what they want to be when they grow up, a few typical answers include - fire fighter, cop, fighter pilot... the first 2 typically or traditionally don't pay well.  Why? Read Freakonomics. 

2) Now thankfully you'll never be able to demonstrate this, but if you could - go down to the local fire house and find the first non-fire fighter (NFF) there and tell them (and the rest of the fire fighters) that the NFFs are just as important as the Fire Fighters... that their high school diploma and 2 weeks of OJT is as important as the years of training, studying, testing, learning, working out, and fighting to be luck enough to get an interview and to do well on the exam and to make it through probation, etc... that the fire fighter went through... then give the NFF a patch, even call them a "fighter", give them awards/medals/promote them for doing stuff that seems important in the station while the real work/sacrifice is being done on location, put them in charge of the fire house because you have to be "Fair" to everyone.  Tell them that they can take 2 hours for lunch, 8 hours every other Tuesday to get better at their job because they don't have time to get better at it while they're doing it, tell them 9-3 is pretty decent work hours... then tell the fire fighters that, sorry we don't have enough of you so it will be 36 on/12 off, sorry if we put you away wet and put you back in before you can go home and see the family (you know they love their job, that they live for it, so why make life better for them?).  Make up tremendous amounts of accolades for crap that means nothing and give it to the NFFs with great pomp and circumstance because we're all equal.  Oh and their jobs? those jobs that NFFs do that are meant to support the fire fighters? Yeah, let them write instructions/rules that pretty much puts the responsibility on the fire fighters.  

When the fire fighters come back after a 36 hour blaze, delirious from the excitement and exhaustion, wanting to celebrate with their fellow fire fighters - force them to let the NFFs be a part of it. When they push it up too much - criticize them and kick them out for frivolous reason.  Don't allow them back into the station until their uniform meets regulations,.  When they save 3 kids but step on a cat - make sure you publicly flog them for it... when the NFF fails to show up on time for weeks on end and never gets the job done, be sure to do nothing about it.

Obviously a bit black and white/extreme example... there are plenty of non-fighter pilots (myself included) in the AF that do amazing and incredible things for the fight and deserve the accolades and spoils (not myself) and this is not a bashing of support roles... this is an attempt to show you were the rot started.  You/they/we can try to fix the symptoms (is it $, is it additional duties, etc.) but until you address the rot - the dis-mantling of (for lack of a better term) the glory, prestige, and respect that goes with a professional doing a professional job, that takes probably a decade to get good at (including a degree or 2, USAFA, ROTC, UPT, IFF, etc...)  WE WILL NEVER FIX IT.  Do they want medals and be on the front page news? No - they want the respect/honor for doing what they do, something the AF stopped doing a long time ago.

There are important roles everywhere, I have no doubt that we need 99% of the people in the AF to do the job... but I can not think of another organization in the world that would try so hard to put everyone in the same lime light, all the time.  What if Taylor Swift had all the roadies, ushers, back up singers come up and be on stage for every performance and give them a microphone? Do we diminish their jobs if we don't? 

To some extent everyone is replaceable, but I'm guessing there are not too many fire fighters serving excessively long commitments to be fire fighters.  I have a few in my family, some of the most humble/honest/best people I know... I have never once heard them complain about being a fire fighter... why is that?

3) Fighter pilots are just the first and most prolific demographic... the rest of the pilots, the rest of the pointy-end-of-the-spear isn't far behind, add to them the maintainers, engineers, doctors, nurses, and any other professional that would be treated as a professional outside of the AF... appreciated for their knowledge, years of education, years of sacrifice to get where they are, etc... they'll be gone too, unless/until there is another recession.

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1 hour ago, Guardian said:

No one should make life decisions or any decisions based off Freakonomics

Its an entry level understanding to some top level human motivations. 

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13 hours ago, Tonka said:

1) Take a look at Freakonomics, perhaps the economics of drug dealers/crack cocaine... (and no, there is not a 1-1 comparison between drug dealers and fighter pilots).  When you ask a kid what they want to be when they grow up, a few typical answers include - fire fighter, cop, fighter pilot... the first 2 typically or traditionally don't pay well.  Why? Read Freakonomics. 

2) Now thankfully you'll never be able to demonstrate this, but if you could - go down to the local fire house and find the first non-fire fighter (NFF) there and tell them (and the rest of the fire fighters) that the NFFs are just as important as the Fire Fighters... that their high school diploma and 2 weeks of OJT is as important as the years of training, studying, testing, learning, working out, and fighting to be luck enough to get an interview and to do well on the exam and to make it through probation, etc... that the fire fighter went through... then give the NFF a patch, even call them a "fighter", give them awards/medals/promote them for doing stuff that seems important in the station while the real work/sacrifice is being done on location, put them in charge of the fire house because you have to be "Fair" to everyone.  Tell them that they can take 2 hours for lunch, 8 hours every other Tuesday to get better at their job because they don't have time to get better at it while they're doing it, tell them 9-3 is pretty decent work hours... then tell the fire fighters that, sorry we don't have enough of you so it will be 36 on/12 off, sorry if we put you away wet and put you back in before you can go home and see the family (you know they love their job, that they live for it, so why make life better for them?).  Make up tremendous amounts of accolades for crap that means nothing and give it to the NFFs with great pomp and circumstance because we're all equal.  Oh and their jobs? those jobs that NFFs do that are meant to support the fire fighters? Yeah, let them write instructions/rules that pretty much puts the responsibility on the fire fighters.  

When the fire fighters come back after a 36 hour blaze, delirious from the excitement and exhaustion, wanting to celebrate with their fellow fire fighters - force them to let the NFFs be a part of it. When they push it up too much - criticize them and kick them out for frivolous reason.  Don't allow them back into the station until their uniform meets regulations,.  When they save 3 kids but step on a cat - make sure you publicly flog them for it... when the NFF fails to show up on time for weeks on end and never gets the job done, be sure to do nothing about it.

Obviously a bit black and white/extreme example... there are plenty of non-fighter pilots (myself included) in the AF that do amazing and incredible things for the fight and deserve the accolades and spoils (not myself) and this is not a bashing of support roles... this is an attempt to show you were the rot started.  You/they/we can try to fix the symptoms (is it $, is it additional duties, etc.) but until you address the rot - the dis-mantling of (for lack of a better term) the glory, prestige, and respect that goes with a professional doing a professional job, that takes probably a decade to get good at (including a degree or 2, USAFA, ROTC, UPT, IFF, etc...)  WE WILL NEVER FIX IT.  Do they want medals and be on the front page news? No - they want the respect/honor for doing what they do, something the AF stopped doing a long time ago.

There are important roles everywhere, I have no doubt that we need 99% of the people in the AF to do the job... but I can not think of another organization in the world that would try so hard to put everyone in the same lime light, all the time.  What if Taylor Swift had all the roadies, ushers, back up singers come up and be on stage for every performance and give them a microphone? Do we diminish their jobs if we don't? 

To some extent everyone is replaceable, but I'm guessing there are not too many fire fighters serving excessively long commitments to be fire fighters.  I have a few in my family, some of the most humble/honest/best people I know... I have never once heard them complain about being a fire fighter... why is that?

3) Fighter pilots are just the first and most prolific demographic... the rest of the pilots, the rest of the pointy-end-of-the-spear isn't far behind, add to them the maintainers, engineers, doctors, nurses, and any other professional that would be treated as a professional outside of the AF... appreciated for their knowledge, years of education, years of sacrifice to get where they are, etc... they'll be gone too, unless/until there is another recession.

Wow, hats off to you bro. Perfect summation!

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14 hours ago, Tonka said:

To some extent everyone is replaceable, but I'm guessing there are not too many fire fighters serving excessively long commitments to be fire fighters.  I have a few in my family, some of the most humble/honest/best people I know... I have never once heard them complain about being a fire fighter... why is that?

It’s antiqated to think people are going to surrender 10 plus years of where their families live and continuly have no say in there career to just accept the “the needs of the Air Force,” an organization that isn’t even aware of their own needs. 

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22 minutes ago, Genghis John said:

It’s antiqated to think people are going to surrender 10 plus years of where their families live and continuly have no say in there career to just accept the “the needs of the Air Force,” an organization that isn’t even aware of their own needs. 

^so true. 

There is so much about the the AF that is so out of date it’s just sad. The way we promote, pay, incentivize, move, etc.  Like several of us told a two star traveling around a year or so ago trying to find a way to solve pilots jumping ship - it just comes down to the way you treat people. Admittedly that’s a broad statement and encompasses many things. But when people are made to feel like simple undervalued cogs in the machine...well that just isn’t how you should handle some of the most highly trained and educated folks out there. I’m afraid there’s a great many things the entire military does that have fallen behind society and the way talented people expect to be treated and valued. Saying “people are our most valuable assets” in one moment and then treating them like cogs the next, all in the name of “needs of the AF”, well it simply doesn’t justify that kind of treatment to many people and I believe that pool of folks is only going to grow as time goes on with younger generations. People (especially talented) simply don’t want to be treated that way, in addition to having so little control of their lives in the mil, as Genghis John points out. 

 

Edited by MooseClub
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7 minutes ago, Hacker said:

Well, it is called "the service".  It isn't about you, me, or any of us.

I used to think that. Seems like it is working well for Air Force pilot retention. If you want people to stay, treat them like (valued) people and make it about them when practical. Practical as of late should mean all the damn time. 

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5 hours ago, Hacker said:

Well, it is called "the service".  It isn't about you, me, or any of us.

But I think it should be, sometimes. Most of us volunteer to serve and expect that our efforts and sacrifices for the common good of the people and ideas we value will be somewhat apparent. We've probably all had experiences where our service, our rush to the aid of others, was so deeply satisfying that we wish we could have sacrificed more and wished for nothing in return. When it's not so apparent, say when training or doing administrative/bureaucratic jobs, you may be able to convince them that the fruits of their service exist, but you need to compensate them and accommodate a reasonable amount of their desires. However, when a person too often sees that their efforts and sacrifices are either squandered or even detrimental to what they believe they are serving, they stop believing that what they're doing is actual "Service", and no amount of finger wagging while repeating "Service before Self" is going to make them stick around.

 

Edited by torqued
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6 hours ago, Hacker said:

Well, it is called "the service".  It isn't about you, me, or any of us.

We all thought that at one point. Then many of us realized that all we are serving is the military industrial complex and their perpetual war machine.

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7 hours ago, Hacker said:

Well, it is called "the service".  It isn't about you, me, or any of us.

One can only volunteer for so long before real life happens.

Serving was actually pretty easy when single. With family came the realization that life isn't all about me and what I want to do, or where I want to serve, but that I also need to provide my wife and kids with the best life that I have the opportunity to provide them.

I am not saying that life is necessarily better outside of the AF for everyone, because it depends on each person's specific circumstances, but for everyone, at some point the AF necessarily stops becoming service and starts becoming a job when you are suddenly given the responsibility to put other people in your life who depend on you first. You can't responsibly raise your hand to volunteer for whatever it is you feel is important when your family, your wife and your kids, are asking you to volunteer to be the best husband and father that they'll ever have. Again, each person's circumstances vary, but family should still change one's priorities and will affect one's ability to "serve" without other considerations.

Now, I think most people would place an existential threat to our nation over many of their family's needs, at least in the short term, but what we are finding is that few are willing to place current operations, pay, QOL, etc. over their family's short-term, much less long-term well-being, or dare I say it, prosperity.

I think wiser use of the military, improvements to the system, comparable QOL, and competitive pay would change many people's minds and would allow them to continue to serve while also giving them a greater opportunity to feel like they did right by their family as they lie on their deathbed and take their final breath.

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Love it.

Maybe when I get as much experience in the Air Force as you fellas, I'll think differently.

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Love it.
Maybe when I get as much experience in the Air Force as you fellas, I'll think differently.

Honest question, did you retire or separate prior to 20?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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33 minutes ago, MooseAg03 said:


Honest question, did you retire or separate prior to 20?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Same question.... 

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