Trump signs order allowing recall of more retired pilots

Smaller airlines face more competition for crews as Air Force plans to recall 1000 pilots

Trump Authorizes Recall of Retired USAF Pilots

The US Air Force could call back as many as 1,000 retired airmen to active duty amid an "acute shortage" of military combat pilots, local reports said on Saturday.

Under current law, the Air Force is limited to recalling 25 pilots.

Trump is pictured speaking at an event celebrating the 70th birthday if the Air Force in September.

The Air Force was 1,555 pilots short at the end of fiscal 2016, which includes 1,211 total force fighter pilots-with the deficit expected to grow, the force had announced in August.

Trump's order comes as the Trump administration is preparing to ramp up the US military presence in Afghanistan as part of the administration's new stabilization strategy for the country.

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In August Trump unveiled the new strategy in the 16-year-old war, which includes sending additional USA troops to Afghanistan and increasing US air support for the Afghan military.

The Air Force has complained for years that it is struggling to retain pilots, who are often lured away by better-paying commercial airlines and leave the force due to the strains of extended deployments.

The military has also increasingly offered retention initiatives that focus on work-life balance and quality of life.

The world's commercial aviation industry will need 637,000 new pilots between 2017 and 2036, according to a Boeing forecast released in July. It has boosted pay and incentives to its pilots and has been working with airlines to come up with solutions to the shortage. The order signed by Trump temporarily removes that cap for all branches of the military.

Gary Ross says he expects the Secretary of Defense will use the power to recall up to 1,000 retired pilots for three years each.

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