U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Ryan Callaghan

Editor’s Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.

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Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Siobhana R. McEwen

Since sequestration began in 2013, the reduced number of hours flown by pilots, crews trained, and aircraft maintained has created a major problem: a lack of flight readiness across all the services. While the effect of budget constraints was not at first apparent, a rise in-flight mishaps, decreases in pilot retention, and increases in the number of aircraft that simply can’t fly have made it clear to policymakers that U.S. air superiority is suffering.

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U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jorge Intriago

Today there is no shortage of reports concerning the 500 pilot shortage the U.S. Air Force is facing. An issue for several years, it's expected to get even worse. March 2015 Senate Armed Services committee testimony by senior Air Force leadership explained that "the shortfall evolved from force structure reductions that cut active duty fighter squadrons and fighter training squadrons to a number that cannot sustain billet requirements. As a result, the Air Force is currently unable to produce and experience the required number of fighter pilots across the total force." Most recently, this has led the service to desperately draw for damaging solutions to correct the crisis.

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