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GAO: Air Force, Army Should Modify Human Capital Planning Strategies to Address UAS Pilot Shortage

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The Government Accountability Office has recommended that the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army modify the service branches’ respective human capital planning strategies to address unmanned aerial system pilot shortages and training shortfalls.

GAO said in a report published Tuesday both service branches should also evaluate workforce mixes for UAS pilot positions as well as analyze the cost effectiveness of workforce decisions.

The watchdog agency also found that the Air Force and Army did not fully apply four out of five principles for effective strategic human capital planning on the management of the service branches’ UAS pilots.

Thirsty-seven percent of the personnel filling UAS pilot positions as of March 2016 were temporarily assigned manned-aircraft pilots, GAO added.

According to the agency, the Air Force complied with the first principle for strategic human capital planning, which was to involve top senior leaders, employees and stakeholders, in a push to address UAS pilot shortage.

The Army was able to comply with the third principle, which was to monitor progress toward meeting human capital goals, but 61 out of 73 units flew less than half of the 340-flight-hour per unit annual minimum training goal, GAO said.

Both service branches only partially applied the other three principles that cover the development of strategies tailored to address gaps in critical skills and competencies, determination of critical skills and competencies needed as well as the development of capability to support human capital strategies by using flexibilities.

GAO urged the two branches to modify current strategies to address risks of continued training at a level lower than current goals and the potential loss of experience from temporarily assigned manned-aircraft pilots.

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