New in 2023: Air Force tries for a better year of recruiting

Kara Carrier

Air Force recruiters again aim to bring in more than 26,000 new enlisted airmen in fiscal 2023 during what could be another tough year for military accessions.

The active duty Air Force service hopes to sign up 26,877 enlisted airmen — about 700 more than in 2022 — by Sept. 30, Tech. Sgt. Deana Heitzman said. Its officer hiring goal sits at 362 airmen, about 50 more than last year.

About three months into the new fiscal year, the Air Force is about 200 people behind its ideal pace of enlistments, she added. Its pool of applicants in the delayed entry program, which lets people postpone their departure for boot camp, has grown slightly.

“We have had some successes in the recruiting market since we ended [fiscal 2022], including increased access for recruiters into schools to interact with potential recruits,” Heitzman said.

In total, the active duty Air Force hopes to have 323,400 jobs, split between 257,856 enlisted airmen and 61,544 officers in fiscal 2023. That’s about 8,000 fewer than in the previous year, due to plans to retire several airframes and returning some jobs to the Defense Health Agency.