Drone operators at Holloman Air Force Base in the southwestern state of New Mexico: Modern warfare is as invisible as a thought, deprived of its meaning by distance. Gilles Mingasson/ DER SPIEGEL
New York Times: Air Force, Running Low on Drone Pilots, Turns to Contractors in Terror Fight
WASHINGTON — The American military’s extensive use of drones against the Islamic State and other terrorist groups has resulted in a shortage of Air Force pilots and other personnel to operate the aircraft, leading the Pentagon to rely more on private contractors for reconnaissance missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Pentagon has used contractors to perform many duties traditionally carried out by uniformed personnel, like protecting military bases and feeding service members. The contractors who are now serving as drone pilots are based in the regions where the drones are flown, and they are legally prohibited from being “trigger pullers” and firing weapons, Air Force officials said. But there is no limit on the type of reconnaissance they can perform, and they are providing live video feeds of battles and special operations.
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WNU Editor: Here is an easy prediction .... the business of providing and contracting out drone pilots is only beginning .... this is going to be a booming business not only for the U.S. Air Force, but also for private industry (i.e. Amazon) who are interested in operating drone fleets.