air force command and control operations center
Air Force

Air Force Command and Control Operations (1C3X1): Career Profile

There are a wide variety of command and control operations and communications stations that the Air Force and other military branches have in place.

Working these command and control centers and managing their message traffic falls under the responsibilities of a well-trained Command and Control Operations Specialist.

Command and Control Operations personnel are key facilitators when it comes to ensuring optimal Command and Control (C2) operations.

These command and control centers can handle anything from military transport activities to command stations that are part of America’s space defense systems and nuclear umbrella.

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Duties and responsibilities that Air Force Command and Control Operations Specialists have to take on include:

  • Operate command and control communications equipment and support directing the message traffic that comes across them
  • Ensure that relevant commanders are advised of the status of aircraft and current missions taking place
  • Prepare and submit operational reports, readiness reports, and SORTS (Status of Resources and Training).
  • Be able to perform nuclear command and control actions in the execution phase of Emergency War Orders
  • Operate and monitor voice, data and other alert systems

This is an important and rewarding Air Force career that demands attention to detail and the ability to respond quickly under pressure.

It also is an Air Force career choice that is challenging, exciting, and one in which an Airman will rub elbows with  high ranking officers at their assigned command center.

Command and Control Operations Requirements and Qualifications

Here are conditions as to which an Airman or other Air Force cross trainee have to meet in order to enter into training for this career field.

Educational Requirements

  • High School Diploma
  • GED
  • GED with 15 college credits

ASVAB Requirements

  • Minimum ASVAB Score of 67 in the general category and 55 in the administrative category

Additional Qualifications

  • Be between the ages of 17 and 39
  • Have normal color vision and depth perception
  • Be able to lift 40 lbs.
  • Have no record of emotional instability
  • Be able to speak English clearly and distinctly as demonstrated by passing the Reading Aloud Test.
  • Certification by a Command Post Superintendent that the applicant is recommended and approved for entry and training into 1C3XX by the AFCFM
  • Successful completion of 8.5 weeks of Air Force Basic Military Training held at Joint Base Lackland in San Antonio, TX (Not required of those with prior military experience or training)
  • Completion of a current Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI) that leads to the ability of the Airman to be granted access to Top Secret material

Once all of these requirements and preconditions have been met, an Airman will then proceed to their next duty assignment to start technical training school.

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Training and Career Path to Become a Command and Control Operations Specialist

These are the necessary training steps in order for an Airman to be able to perform the duties of a Command and Control Operations Specialist on their own.

Air Force Technical Training Information

The tech school for this particular Air Force specialty is not that long.

It consists of only 5 to 6 weeks of technical training at Keesler AFB in Mississippi.

During this time an Airman will be introduced to such job-related tasks as receiving, processing, and disseminating emergency action messages via voice and copy recording systems.

The Airman will also learn to encode, decode, transmit and relay command decisions.

They will also be taught how to coordinate and execute search and rescue activities.

On the Job Training

As with any Air Force job, there will be an extensive hands-on training period that follows after finishing technical school.

This training will take place at the enlisted member’s permanent duty station.

This training will be conducted by an Airman’s peers that are highly experienced at Command and Control Operations.

Once this on the job training period is complete, an Airman will then be able to handle all of the duties that come with being a Command and Control Operations Specialist on their own.

Here is a video that talks more about the training required for this Air Force specialty:  

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How Much Are Command and Control Operations Specialists Paid?

As with all military jobs, enlisted personnel base pay is calculated on a set scale that is on both rank and time in service.

Those without prior military experience or other relevant career-related experience will most likely be initially classified as an Airman Basic (E-1).

Those with career-related experience or schooling have a chance to start out as an Airman (E-2) or Airman First Class (E-3).

Here is the current Air Force enlisted pay scale that shows what an enlisted member’s base pay will be based on their current rank and time in service.

InsigniaPay GradeRankAbbreviation2019 Pay (Monthly)
E-1Airman BasicAB$1,681
E-2AirmanAmn$1,884
airman first class smallE-3Airman First ClassA1C$1,981
E-4Senior AirmanSrA$2,195
E-5Staff SergeantSSgt$2,394
air force e 6 insigniaE-6Technical SergeantTSgt$2,613
E-7Master SergeantMSgt$3,021
E-8Senior Master SergeantSMSgt$4,345
E-9Chief Master SergeantCMSgt$5,308
command chief master sergeant insig smallE-9Command Chief Master SergeantCCM$5,429
chief master sergeant of the air force insigE-9Chief Master Sergeant Of The Air ForceCMSAF$5,580

Other forms of pay and incentives may include such things as:

  • Housing allowance for those that live off base (BAH)
  • Subsistence allowance (Food – BAS)
  • Temporary duty pay
  • Hazardous duty pay
  • Cost of living incentives
  • Tuition reimbursement

Of course, all health care requirements for any military member are always 100% covered.

Every Air Force member is also allowed weekly days off and 30-days paid leave each year during peacetime.

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What’s Life Like as a Command and Control Operations Specialist?

The hours can be long when performing this job and the conditions it’s done under can be stressful at times.

With that being said, much of the time it also offers a fairly stable working environment.

That means that other than occasional temporary duty and short training stints it can be a job that provides a fairly stable environment for one’s family.

There will be some shift work and on-call hours that sometimes come with the duties assigned to Command and Control Operations Specialists.

Job Reviews

Those who have served in this capacity in the Air force generally have an overall favorable impression of this Air Force job.

Here are a couple of reviews taken from glassdoor.com that were written by those who have served in Air Force Command and Control Operations:

Command and Control Operations Civilian Career Opportunities

There are more civilian jobs that can use the skills that a trained Command and Control Operations Specialist has learned during their time in the Air Force.

Many of these jobs offer decent starting pay and if government-related they will count time in service towards pay, vacation, and retirement benefits.

Examples of these include:

  • Federal, state, and local police dispatch centers
  • Government contracting jobs at military installations
  • Defense Intelligence Agency – Washington, D.C.
  • National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) – Springfield, VA
  • Department of Homeland Security – Washington, DC
  • Envision Innovative Solutions – Orlando, FL
  • Systematic – Centreville, VA
  • System Dynamics Intl – Orlando, FL

Having a valid Top Security clearance can also lead to very good employment opportunities with companies that do contract work for the government.

References:

Official Air Force Recruiting Page

Air Force Reserve Official Page

Craig S.
Craig S.
Craig spent many years on active duty service in the Air Force stationed in such places as Okinawa, Japan and SAC Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. While in the military, he spent time analyzing imagery from a variety of aircraft such as the SR-71. He was also one of the first enlisted members in the Air Force to experience working with near real time satellite imagery. Craig currently resides in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and runs his own business.

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