President Trump signed an executive order Friday allowing the Air Force to recall retired airmen back into active duty as Trump’s administration prepares to increase the US military presence in Afghanistan amid a nationwide shortage of military combat pilots.
The White House announced that the president would use powers under the National Emergencies Act signed in the aftermath of the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, to subject the secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force to the direction of the secretary of Defense on the matter, reports The Hill.
Defense Secretary James Mattis now has the power to recall up to 1,000 retired military pilots into service to address the shortage, according to Pentagon spokesman Navy Cmdr. Gary Ross.
The Pentagon has said that the Air Force is lacking 1,500 pilots for active duty as the Trump administration is preparing to ramp up the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, where U.S. forces have been for 16 years.