The Air Force hopes to have 800 staff, technical and master sergeants retrain into 61 crucial, undermanned jobs, according to a list released Thursday by the Air Force Personnel Center.
Service officials also want 655 airmen to retrain out of 38 career fields on the Non-Commissioned Officer Retraining Program, or NCORP, list.
AFPC cautioned that the numbers of retraining slots can change on an hourly basis as airmen’s applications are accepted. But they provide a glimpse of where the Air Force’s manning shortfalls are, and how they are changing.
The number of retraining opportunities in the latest NCORP list include both slots for fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2018. All told, the Air Force has 685 retraining-in slots for 2018, and 115 for the remainder of 2017. The last time the Air Force announced retraining opportunities in November 2016, there were 631 retraining-in slots for NCOs for 2017.
Airmen interested in retraining must be on at least their second enlistment, be a staff sergeant or staff sergeant-select through master sergeant, and have a skill level of at least five in their control Air Force specialty code (or a three-level if a five does not exist for their job). Staff sergeants must have fewer than 12 years of active service, and technical and master sergeants must have no more than 16 years as of Sept. 30.
The bulk of the retraining opportunities — 648 of them across both years — will be for staff sergeants. The career field with the most retraining opportunities for staff sergeants is the 3S211 education and training career field, which has 20 retraining opportunities in 2017 and 119 in 2018. Airmen in that career field are responsible for developing maintenance, operations and support training programs.
There are also 57 retraining slots in 2018 for staff sergeants to become 4N051F aerospace medical service flight and operational medical technicians and 56 slots to become 4N051C aerospace medical service independent duty medical technicians.
There are 37 slots for staff and tech sergeants to become 5J011 paralegals in 2018, and another 17 staff sergeant retraining slots for the rest of 2017, plus 32 slots for E-5s to become 3D111 client systems in 2018.
The 1B411 cyber warfare operations career field has 44 retraining opportunities for staff sergeants in 2018, and 45 for technical sergeants. That’s an increase from the 30 E-5 and 35 E-6 retraining opportunities the Air Force announced for that field last November, indicating the need to have more airmen retrain into that field is growing.
The 2T311 vehicle and vehicular maintenance career field has the most retraining-out slots, indicating it is the most overmanned, with 101 tech and master sergeant billets slated for retraining in both years. And the 1N111A geospatial intelligence imagery analyst career field is also overmanned, with 72 retraining-out slots in all.
The Air Force also wants 50 airmen — 30 staff sergeants, 15 tech sergeants and 5 master sergeants — to retrain out of the 3E211 pavements and construction equipment field.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.