In an unexpected development, President Donald Trump has signed an executive order allowing the Air Force to recall up to 1,000 retired pilots to address what the Pentagon has decribed as "an acute shortage of pilots," Fox News reported.
The order, which Trump signed Friday, amends an emergency declaration signed by George W. Bush in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. The Air Force is only allowed to recall up to 25 pilots under current law. The order signed by Trump temporarily removes that cap for all branches of the military.
A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Gary Ross, said in a statement that the Air Force is currently "short approximately 1,500 pilots of its requirements." That number includes approximately 1,200 fighter pilots.
"We anticipate that the Secretary of Defense will delegate the authority to the Secretary of the Air Force to recall up to 1,000 retired pilots for up to 3 years," Ross said.
"The pilot supply shortage is a national level challenge that could have adverse effects on all aspects of both the government and commercial aviation sectors for years to come."
“The Air Force does not currently intend to recall retired pilots to address the pilot shortage. We appreciate the authorities and flexibility delegated to us,” Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokeswoman, told Fox News.
Now, the question is, will the order inspire some retired pilots to come out of retirement voluntarily, like this guy.
Read the full text of the order below:
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and in furtherance of the objectives of Proclamation 7463 of September 14, 2001 (Declaration of National Emergency by Reason of Certain Terrorist Attacks), which declared a national emergency by reason of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, in New York and Pennsylvania and against the Pentagon, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States, and in order to provide the Secretary of Defense additional authority to manage personnel requirements in a manner consistent with the authorization provided in Executive Order 13223 of September 14, 2001 (Ordering the Ready Reserve of the Armed Forces to Active Duty and Delegating Certain Authorities to the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Transportation), it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Amendment to Executive Order 13223. Section 1 of Executive Order 13223 is amended by adding at the end: "The authorities available for use during a national emergency under sections 688 and 690 of title 10, United States Code, are also invoked and made available, according to their terms, to the Secretary concerned, subject in the case of the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, to the direction of the Secretary of Defense."
Sec. 2. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.