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US could call back retired military pilots to join duty

Washington, Oct 22 (IANS) 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.

US President Donald Trump on Friday signed an executive order which would allow him to use powers under the National Emergencies Act signed in the wake of the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, to subject the secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force to the direction of the secretary of defence on the matter, Xinhua reported.

“We anticipate that the Secretary of Defence will delegate the authority to the Secretary of the Air Force to recall up to 1,000 retired pilots for up to three years,” the local media quoted a statement by Pentagon spokesman Navy Commander Gary issued on Friday.

The US Air Force was short of 1,555 pilots at the end of the 2016 fiscal year, including 1,211 fighter pilots, according to an ABC News report.

To help make the pilot job more attractive, the Air Force expanded its aviation bonus program in August and increased incentive pay earlier this month for officers and enlisted crew members for the first time since 1999, said the report.

The pilot supply shortage is seen as a national level challenge that could have adverse effects on both the government and commercial aviation sectors in the United States.

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