Donald Trump appears to enjoy playing soldier with the 300,000 active duty military personnel because he has called for more. Chief of Staff John Kelly’s son died on his fifth tour of duty, while some soldiers have gone through eleven tours. What the president has just signed into law makes things worse.
There is a shortage of combat pilots in the Air Force after the 16-Year War in Afghanistan. Baked within the president’s new strategy to stop the Taliban and other terrorists, will be additional U.S. troops and the additional air support that goes along with them. That was the reason that the commander-in-chief signed an executive order Friday giving him creeping powers.
Trump amended President George W. Bush’s emergency powers he signed after the September 11 attack in 2001. The sitting president extended them, Pentagon spokesman Navy Commander Gary Ross said in a statement. CNBC reported:
‘We anticipate that the Secretary of Defense will delegate the authority to the Secretary of the Air Force to recall up to 1,000 retired pilots for up to three years.’
Apparently, the Air Force needs 1,500 more pilots to carry out the 45’s new strategy. Air Force’s Aircrew Crisis Task Force Director Brigadier General Mike Koscheski told CNBC:
‘This is a national pilot crisis, not just a military crisis or an Air Force crisis. The Air Force is partnering with industry to look for ways to just increase pilot production overall…because that’s going to be in the interest of the country — not just the military’
Unfortunately, the Air Force is not the only branch of the government that uses pilots. There are also Navy and Army pilots.
With Trump’s new executive order, Ross said that Defense Secretary James Mattis will have:
‘Additional authorities to recall retired aviation officers regardless of certain limitations on status, period of service, and numbers to mitigate the Air Force’s acute shortage of pilots.’
Prior to this order, the Air Force had the ability to rehire 25 retired officers under the Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty program for critical aviation-related staff positions. Trump’s executive action extends that number substantially and has a temporary status, as of now.
There is an overall pilot shortage throughout the nation and the world with commercial airlines going after pilots more aggressively and offering higher salaries. The shortage does not appear to have an end in sight, yet. Commercial aviation around the globe will need 637,000 new pilots between 2017 and 2036, according to a Boeing strategy forecast, CNBC reported.
Two reasons for the shortages are the mandatory 65-year-old retirement age and an extended period of low pay for commercial pilots. The salaries were so low that many pilots had to leave the field.
To combat the current shortage, the Air Force will offer multiple incentive packages, which include “a 100 percent promotion opportunity.” The Air Force also has “an aviator retention pay bonus worth up to $350,000 over a 10-year term,” according to CNBC News. This incentive will kick in later in 2017.
Koscheski said that money is not the only consideration for those in aviation. There are also family and longer deployment considerations. He said that these will also be part of the retention incentives, according to CNBC:
‘We’re looking to provide more time for the air crew member to have with their family and some work time at home. There’s limits to that based on mission requirements.’
The president’s executive order in below in its entirety:
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and in furtherance of the objectives of Proclamation 7463 of September 14, 2001 (Declaration of National Emergency by Reason of Certain Terrorist Attacks), which declared a national emergency by reason of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, in New York and Pennsylvania and against the Pentagon, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States, and in order to provide the Secretary of Defense additional authority to manage personnel requirements in a manner consistent with the authorization provided in Executive Order 13223 of September 14, 2001 (Ordering the Ready Reserve of the Armed Forces to Active Duty and Delegating Certain Authorities to the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Transportation), it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Amendment to Executive Order 13223. Section 1 of Executive Order 13223 is amended by adding at the end: “The authorities available for use during a national emergency under sections 688 and 690 of title 10, United States Code, are also invoked and made available, according to their terms, to the Secretary concerned, subject in the case of the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, to the direction of the Secretary of Defense.”
Sec. 2. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
DONALD J. TRUMP
THE WHITE HOUSE,
October 20, 2017.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Ian Hitchcock.