Each Spring, (around March or April), the Air Force examines all of their enlisted and commissioned officer jobs and assigns a "Stress Rating."
Stress, as defined here, is largely driven by three main factors: manpower, manning, and deployments. The driver(s) of stress is different for each career field, however, in short, when a career field is "stressed," it means there are not enough people in the career field to adequately carry out the assigned mission.
The "stress-levels" provide Air Force leadership with an objective, single measure to determine relative “pain” (i.e. stress) between AFSCs (jobs). The results serve as an indicator of problems, not an absolute statement of problems. The formula provides a starting point to pick out abnormalities. It also allows Air Force leadership to measure progress.
- - A stress level of 1.0 means that there is no (deployment or home station) shortfall
- - A stress level greater than 1.0 means that there is a shortfall. The shortfall is expressed as a percentage of assigned personnel (for example, a stress-level rating of 1.2 means that each person at home station is doing the work of 1.2 people)
- - A stress level less than 1.0 means that there is a surplus. The surplus is expressed as a percentage of assigned personnel (for example, a stress-level rating of 0.8 means that each person at home station, on average, is doing the work of .8 people)
The Air Force has a goal of trying to achieve a "stress level" of 1.2 or less for each AFSC (job).
Below are the lists, as of March 2005: