Air Force tapping Guard, Reserve to fill drone pilot shortfall; Will increase incentive pay

The Air Force says it will bring more National Guard and Reserve pilots onto active duty to fill a significant shortfall in drone pilots. The service will also more than double the monthly incentive pay for drone operators in order to convince them to stay in the Air Force rather than leave.

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James says the monthly incentive pay would increase from $600 to $1,500. She says the drone pilot force is under significant strain and the Air Force is asking for volunteers to fill the jobs.

The Air Force has long complained about the shortage of drone pilots, dating back to 2008 when the service was forcing fighter pilots to transfer to the unmanned aircraft to meet escalating demands for wartime surveillance and strike operations.