Cody: More Crew Chiefs Needed to Keep Aircraft Flying

The 4,000 airmen the Air Force hopes to add if its budget request is approved would go toward areas where the service has been falling short of what it needs, largely in the maintenance career field, said CMSAF James Cody at ASC15. The service does not have enough technical sergeant- and staff sergeant-level airmen to fill the crew chief role for legacy aircraft or next-generation platforms, especially the F-35, Cody told reporters. Service officials have said that budget restrictions forced the service to cut too much from its ranks, and now officials want to build up to fill positions in need. In addition to the 4,000 new positions the service wants to open, the Air Force is assessing airmen as fast as they can to fill the levels required in the maintenance field, and is relaxing the high-year tenure limitations for airmen that commanders feel are the right fit to stay in, he said. All of these moves are dependent on budget levels, however. If Congress decides to go with a year-long continuing resolution, such steps would be reversed having a negative impact on the service, Cody said.