The Air Force needs nearly 1,000 noncommissioned officers to switch from jobs with too many airmen to those with shortages.
The service has started the first phase of its fiscal 2014 NCO Retraining Program, or NCORP, according to a June 6 release. The service is starting the retraining process earlier than it did in 2012 and is casting a wider net, with master sergeants now among those eligible to retrain.
The service is looking for about 430 fewer people to retrain than the 1,400 it sought last year to retrain into 73 Air Force Specialty Codes. Air Force officials were unable to explain the drop at presstime.
In fiscal 2014, which begins Oct. 1, airmen in one of 33 overmanned fields can retrain into the 58 undermanned field of their choice if they apply by July 8, said Master Sgt. Lytronda Clay, Air Force Personnel Center retraining policy superintendent, in a release. Undermanned career fields include flight engineer, cyberspace defense operations, military working dog handler and at least nine medical fields.
To be eligible to retrain, staff sergeants must have fewer than 12 years of active service, while technical and master sergeants can have no more than 16 years of active service by Sept. 30. All qualified airmen can voluntarily retrain into a career field, even if they’re not in an overmanned career field.
Retraining applicants must have at least 24 months of left in their enlistment contract upon completion of their new career field technical school, Clay said.
“Airmen selected during Phase II for retraining who do not have 24 months of retainability may decline retainability, but will then be ineligible for assignment, promotion and re-enlistment,” she said.
As in previous years, the program will have a voluntary and an involuntary phase. The involuntary phase of the retraining program is slated for July 8 through Sept. 8, according to the release.
Airmen who meet retraining eligibility criteria and who are vulnerable for nonvoluntary re- training will be notified by their personnel section in July. AFPC spokesman Mike Dickerson said a master vulnerability list won’t be released until after the voluntary phase of the program is over. Dickerson said the Air Force is on target to reach the 1,400 mark that the service set for fiscal 2013 NCORP retraining, but AFPC won’t know it has hit that mark until Sept. 30.
To apply for voluntary NCORP retraining, airmen must be on at least their second enlistment, be an E5-select through E7, and have a minimum 5 skill level in their control Air Force Specialty Code.