U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s recent Force of the Future initiative includes a provision that would expand the use of lateral entry to address shortfalls in niche fields that are difficult to train and maintain.

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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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