Maintainer Shortage Might be Over, But Still Work to Do to Close “Experience Gap”

Air Mobiliy Command boss Gen. Maryanne Miller, center, speaks on the panel, Today's Air Force-Senior Leader Perspectives, at the Air Force Association's Air, Space & Cyber Conference on Wednesday, at the Gaylord National Convention Center, National Harbor, Md. Staff photo by Mike Tsukamoto.

The Air Force’s shortage of maintainers may be largely over as its gap closes by the end of the year, but there is still an “experience gap” that the service needs to address as new airmen learn their jobs, the head of Air Mobility Command, Gen. Maryanne Miller, said Tuesday.

The Air Force in December 2016 was short 4,000 maintainers across the force, and because of increased budgets, that gap will be completely closed by this December, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said Monday at ASC18. While these airmen are now in uniform and learning their jobs, they still do not have the expertise of older, more seasoned airmen, Miller said. Though they are becoming more “experienced every day.”

To help these airmen improve, Miller said one of her first duties in her new position will be to go across AMC to meet with maintainers and to understand their experience upon entering service and gather new ideas on how to improve the maintenance force.

Miller will release a video in the near future directly speaking to maintainers, encouraging them to reach out with new ideas for innovation. This move is similar to a step taken by Miller’s predecessor, retired Gen. Carlton Everhart, who reached out to AMC aircrews to solicit ideas on how to improve their jobs.

This led to new steps, such as a “flying only”career track where pilots can choose to stay in the cockpit throughout their time in service and avoid staff jobs.