The Air Force this month has opened up retraining opportunities for as many as 2,773 active-duty airmen across its career fields in fiscal 2020.
There are 1,708 slots available for first-term airmen to retrain into new jobs, according to retraining statistics provided by the Air Force Personnel Center. There are also 797 retraining slots for staff sergeants, 258 slots for technical sergeants, and 10 slots available for master sergeants. In all, there are 111 career fields that need airmen.
That’s more than the 2,597 retraining opportunities the Air Force unveiled for fiscal 2019, which included 1,634 first-term airmen, 730 staff sergeants, 202 technical sergeants, and 31 master sergeants, and remains far higher than the retraining opportunities in the prior two years.
There are also 1,435 airmen in 63 career fields that are overmanned who need to retrain into other jobs. Only second-term airmen are eligible to retrain out.
Phase 1 of the non-commissioned officer retraining program, or NCORP, is open through Dec. 1, the AFPC said in an Aug. 12 tweet announcing the opening of 2020 retraining.
If the Air Force does not get enough volunteers to retrain, it could move into a “mandatory retraining” phase.
AFPC said that these statistics, provided Aug. 19, are a snapshot in time that can fluctuate as needs change throughout the year.
The career field with the most retraining-in opportunities is 3P011 security forces, which has 312 vacancies among first-term airmen and staff sergeants. Education and training airmen in the 3F211 career field are short 140 first-term and staff sergeant airmen, and 4N011 aerospace medical service airmen have 231 vacancies in those categories.
There are also 120 first-term and staff sergeant vacancies among 1C111 air traffic controllers, as well as 112 1B411 cyber warfare operations vacancies and 100 1C311 command and control operations vacancies.
The Air Force has added to the retraining-in list career fields such as 1A311 airborne mission systems specialists, air traffic controllers, 1C611 space systems operations airmen, 1C711 airfield management airmen, and 1N311 cryptologic language analysts.
But some career fields have also been removed from the retraining list since last year, including 1C211 combat controllers, suggesting their manning levels have become healthier.
First-term airmen can only apply for retraining during a specific window. For four-year enlistees stationed stateside, that falls during the 35th and 43rd month of their current enlistment, according to a video posted by AFPC, and six-year stateside enlistees can apply between their 59th and 67th month. Overseas airmen who are eligible for retraining should apply nine to 15 months before they are projected to return to the United States, as long as the window falls in the current fiscal year.
Airmen will be automatically disqualified from retraining if they are under investigation by the Office of Special Investigations, have a referral enlisted performance report, do not possess a Local Network Access, or do not have a current passing physical fitness score.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter at Defense News. He previously reported for Military.com, covering the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare. Before that, he covered U.S. Air Force leadership, personnel and operations for Air Force Times.