The United States Air Force is boosting pay for drone pilots, and using additional manpower from the Air Force Reserves, in an effort to fill a drone pilot gap. Drone pilots are in high demand by the US military, with current pilots working up to 14 hours per day, six days per week, according to the US Air Force.
Current drone needs to help battle ISIS in Iraq and Syria have placed additional strain on the Air Force, despite initial plans that demand would drop after most troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan. Now, the Air Force is trying to find ways to entice pilots to stay in the military and continue leading operations.
"We thought we were drawing down and had a plan in place to man this enterprise that would, if we had actually drawn down, we'd be fine right now," said General Mark Welsh, US Air Force chief of staff, in a statement to the media. "We've met the operational demand signal, but we're doing it by putting people in a position where they're not having a debate whether they want to continue doing this."