A Kind of Stop-Loss

Gen. William Fraser III, head of Air Combat Command, said there’s trouble brewing among unmanned aerial systems operators. In a panel discussion with other four-star generals at AFA’s Air & Space Conference Wednesday, he said UAS people are in such demand—“because of this appetite and the need to ramp up the number of combat air patrols”—that they are not being allowed to “develop” by taking time to attend military schools or take command assignments—those opportunities that traditionally prepare airmen for leadership roles. “Some of these young men and women will see this as a kind of stop-loss,” he said. Fraser added that more than one wing commander has said that long-term career prospects are heavy on the minds of UAS personnel. The Air Force must step smartly to address the issue and create career tracks for the UAS cadre, he said. “If we don’t normalize it before too long, we may have some real problems,” Fraser warned, adding that he’s concerned “we may be mortgaging part of our future.”