The Government Accountability Office found the U.S. Air Force is struggling to retain experienced aircraft maintainers despite the growing need for personnel to ensure the readiness of the service’s fleet. In a report issued Tuesday, GAO said the Air Force is losing maintainers due to workload and stress across the service.
The agency said the aircraft maintainer staffing gap was a common challenge for the service branch in seven of the last eight fiscal years, and officials expect the issue to continue through fiscal year 2023. GAO cited that the Air Force lacks a retention plan for maintainers as well as a strategy to improve retention programs.
“Without goals to measure progress and a retention strategy to guide efforts, the Air Force could face further challenges in managing its maintenance workforce, including ensuring there are enough experienced maintainers to meet mission needs,” the government watchdog said.
The Air Force agreed with GAO’s recommendations to create annual retention goals and a retention strategy for aircraft maintainers.