Earlier this year, top Air Force officials sounded the alarm about their thinning ranks — saying they were 700 pilots and 4,000 mechanics short.

Now they warn the problem is far worse.

Under the latest estimates, the Air Force says it needs 30,000 airmen in the next five or six years. Today, the Air Force has 317,000 airmen. 

“[T]he shortage of people has fundamentally changed the way we do business in terms of the operational risk day to day,” Air Force Chief of Staff David Goldfein said in a statement.

The former head of Air Force intelligence says it’s not just the airmen needing a boost.