Two years ago, no ROTC cadets listed nuclear and missile operations among their top three career choices. Last year, however, 65 cadets did. And 174 cadets listed the 13N career field among their top six.
Maj. Gen. Garrett Harencak, assistant chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, attributes the growing interest to new bonuses that make missile officers the highest-paid lieutenants in the service.
Air Force Global Strike Command's Force Improvement Program, in which airmen of all ranks detailed to an independent group of experts issues they face in their careers, has led to dozens of changes. Maj. Gen. Garrett Harencak, the assistant chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, said today that the changes have led to an increase in interest in the career field.
"We have seen in the last year a huge increase in the number of volunteers to go into [the career field," Harcenak said.
The career field didn't have anywhere to go but up, in terms of Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet interest. In 2013, not a single ROTC cadet listed the 13N nuclear and missile operations career field in their top three choices. In 2014, 65 cadets listed it as a top three option, and a total of 174 cadets listed it in their top six, according to Global Strike Command.
After six years, pilots are eligible for aviation pay, which then makes them the highest paid.
"This isn't something to go, 'OK, we fixed that, let's move on,' " Harencak said. "It's going to be a continuous process."
The deep-seeded issues in the missileer ranks come from the service not focusing enough on the "people aspect" of the nuclear mission.