Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Air Force Reserve Adds New Commitment for Pilots and Maintainers

U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo

The Air Force Reserve just added an additional six month commitment for pilots and maintainers who wish to separate or retire.

While being careful to not call this new requirement a "stop-loss", the AF Reserve is adding on six months of involuntary service in addition to whatever service requirements were previously imposed. The military typically adds mandatory service requirements for things like aircraft qualification courses, professional development courses, and permanent change of station moves.

I find it interesting that the AF Reserve has to implement controls like this as membership as a traditional reservist typically requires as little as a few days per month up to about a week and a half per month for combat ready flight crews. In addition, reservists are protected from discrimination or firing by their civilian employers by a law known as USERRA.

What this telegraphs is that as the commitments, deployments, and tasking of the reserve forces increases, reservists, who already have a civilian career as a pilot or maintainer, are calling it quits.

What military planners seem to fail to realize is that pushing on the combined active/reserve water balloon in one place will result in a bulge in another place. That is to say that there is no free lunch. Higher tasking and deployments for the guard and reserves, most of whose members came from the active forces, will force an exodus from those organizations as well.

The military should either accept higher personnel loss rates in a good economy and spend the money and resources on training replacements, or, here is a novel idea: just start to say no to increased tasking, though that would require a higher degree of testicular fortitude than is normally displayed in the flag ranks.

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Capt Rob