Revamping the RPA Structure

The Air Force on Thursday outlined steps it will take to improve the health and morale of its remotely piloted aircraft force, including new operating bases and doubling the total number of RPA flying squadrons. The steps, outlined in a news release quietly posted Thursday morning, follow a months-long review of the RPA force, called the Culture and Process Improvement Program. In addition to growing the bases and squadrons, Air Combat Command plans to create a new wing to normalize the organizational structure of RPA squadrons; increase RPA manning by up to 3,000 airmen; define career tracks for officer and enlisted operators and maintainers; study the promotion and education tracks for RPA officers; study the feasibility of a single specialty code for RPA personnel; and streamline processes to enable more Guard and Reserve forces to support the mission. “Our RPA enterprise was born in combat and recently surpassed 20 years of service, many of which were executed at surge levels,” ACC Commander Gen. Hawk Carlisle said in the statement. “We owe it to our airmen to remove the daily stressors that are responsible for the challenging environment they are operating in.” (See also Major RPA Restructure Coming and The RPA Fix.)