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Professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction, this provocative book analyzes the United States Air Force's retention of the "best" rated officers from the combat air forces. Specifically, it addresses the retention of pilots from the fighter, bomber, and remotely piloted aircraft communities and highlights the need for more focused retention methods. This research shows that each rated community within the Air Force has different contextual definitions of those variables deemed most influential for retention. Further, the author argues that a failure to negotiate these identified disparities at key points throughout an officer's career will lead to decreased retention of the best, regardless of monetary payout made available at the completion of an active duty service commitment. As such, the author proposes several methods the Air Force can use to address retention contextually, starting at the Air Force level and progressing to individual major weapons system communities.
In this study, Lt Col Brian Stahl questions this approach by asking why many of the best aviators in the Air Force separate before they become eligible for retirement. He challenges the "common sense wisdom" of the Air Force by questioning the idea that one need only throw money at the problem to fix it. In doing so, he forced me to recall the adage oft attributed to Ben Franklin that "nothing is so uncommon as common sense." His challenge proves to be a worthy one.
Using a combination of rated-officer retention reports, survey data, and interviews, he addressed three key issues in his research. First, he asked if there really was a retention problem in the combat air forces (CAF). Next, he wanted to know what risks were associated with poor retention in the CAF. Finally, he sought solutions the Air Force could employ if indeed retention was a problem. His study examined three pilot groups in the CAF: fighters, bombers, and remotely piloted aircraft (RPA). His surveys and interviews expanded the retention discussion beyond compensation issues and included Air Force identity, promotion and recognition, family/family stability, operations tempo, and "others."
Chapter 1 - Introduction: Dear Boss * Overview * Problem and Hypothesis Statements * Objectives * Methodology * Chapter 2 - Rightsizing and Requirements Explained * Budgeting and Planning Processes * Requirements and Challenges * What Do the "Best" Look Like? * Methods of Retention * Retention since 2000 * Environmental Influences * Summary * Chapter 3 - The Fighter Community * Is There a Retention Problem in the Fighter Community? * What Are the Risks for the Fighter Community? * Findings and Summary for the Fighter Pilot Community * Chapter 4 - The Bomber Community * Is There a Retention Problem in the Bomber Community? * What Are the Risks for the Bomber Community? * Findings and Summary for the Bomber Pilot Community * Chapter 5 - The Remotely Piloted Aircraft Community * Is There a Retention Problem in the RPA Community? * What Are the Risks for the RPA Community? * Findings and Summary for the RPA Pilot Community * Chapter 6 - Synthesis and Statistical Results * Chapter 7 - Conclusions and Recommendations * Summary * Air Force * Combat Air Forces * Fighter Community * Bomber Community * RPA Community