"...do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."

"For the good of the Air Force, for the good of the armed services and for the good of our country, I urge you to reject convention and careerism..."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Maxwell AFB, April 21, 2008

"You will need to challenge conventional wisdom and call things like you see them to subordinates and superiors alike."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, United States Air Force Academy, March 4, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Drone Operators are Exhausted!

I was delighted to see that the Air Force conducted a study on the exhaustion level of its Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) operators, and that the USA Today reported on it. Of course if leadership was concerned enough to create such a study, why have they not been concerned enough to provide more manning to unmanned operations? This isn't even close to a new problem, and it's no state secret that there are not enough people doing those jobs.

Personally, I think there are many who were and are angered by Secretary Gates' grabbing the Air Force by the scruff of the neck and forcing them to give up their fun toys in exchange for supporting commanders on the ground. I think the Air Force never really took RPA seriously and these exhausted airman is just one symptom of that. Like pulling teeth, Secretary Gates said, and I don't think the tooth is yet dislodged.

At any rate, our remote operating men and women are tired and they give a great deal more than most in the air service. I hope leadership is listening to this study.

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