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Air Force streamlines training to ease overburdened pilots

With pilots stretched thin, fighting wars in Iraq and Syria and in Afghanistan, the Air Force is working to cut out unnecessary training and lighten their load.

During a roundtable with reporters at the Air Space Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, the head of U.S. Air Forces Central Command, said the so-called unit training document ― which spells out what pilots must train on before deploying ― “had gotten rather thick over the years” as more activities were added every few months.

But now, Harrigian said, the Air Force has stripped out all but the requirements that, “no kidding,” needed to be accomplished in today‘s deployment environment.

Harrigian, like other Air Force leaders, is worried about the pace of deployments on pilots and the risks of burnout. Streamlined training is essential, they say.

“The demand signal the Middle East has had on our Air Force has been a concern on all of us,” Harrigian said. “The real concern I have is making sure they‘re ready when they come over. In the Syrian environment, in particular, there’s no time for a preseason game. It’s game on as soon as you show up.”

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