With enthusiastic recruits, from all corners, and with a lot of cash.
In the New York Times
this past Tuesday, Michael Schmidt wrote of how the the US Air Force, “Running Low on Drone Pilots,” is turning to contractors
to reconnoitre battlefields. Many of these are “former drone or fighter pilots who are making double or triple their military salaries.” Speaking to the Times
, Fred Roggero
, a retired Air Force general who’s now a drone consultant, thinks that the military will continue to train, and pilots will continue to exit. Thus, the “critical manning shortfalls
” about which the Government Accountability Office (GAO) complained in its recent report may not get better fast. Indeed, the problem could get worse: plans for more, cheaper drones
will require yet more pilots, unless the drones can be taught to operate more autonomously—and that bears along its own problems. So what should work cheaper than not? And what would work better