Growing to Meet Demand

The Air Force is launching a set of personnel and manpower initiatives to grow the size of the force and stabilize stressed career fields in order to meet increased mission requirements, announced service officials on Monday. These moves are meant to enable the Air Force to reach a minimum Active Duty end strength of 317,000 airmen, as outlined in the Pentagon’s Fiscal 2016 budget request, and address manpower gaps in the nuclear, cyber, special operations, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance career fields, states the service’s release. Among the steps, the Air Force will increase the accessions of enlisted airmen entering basic military training and raise the numbers of officers commissioned. The Air Force is also offering targeted voluntary high-year-of-tenure extensions to senior airmen, staff sergeants, technical sergeants, and master sergeants in targeted specialties. It is also giving members of the reserve components the opportunity to serve an Active Duty tour, and it is offering some prior-service enlisted personnel a return to Active Duty. “While we are working to increase our overall number of airmen, we are particularly focused on adding mid-level experienced airmen in some of our currently undermanned specialties to help meet mission requirements immediately,” said Brig. Gen. Brian Kelly, director of military force management policy.