Air Force Security Forces (3P0X1) are in charge of keeping people, assets, and resources safe.
They are the ones that you see guarding equipment or patrolling the base.
These individuals can be in charge of protecting assets in bases in the United States or overseas.
Air Force Security Forces is a position that is both physically and mentally demanding, with no two days the same.
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What does an Air Force Security Forces Specialist do?
Pay And Benefits
Civilian Job Opportunities
Education, Requirements, and Training
Air Force Security Forces specialist positions have similar education and training requirements to other Air Force positions, but it has more requirements listed than other positions.
Individuals wishing to enter into the Air Force as Security Forces specialist must have at minimum a High School Diploma or GED.
They also must meet the minimum Air Force ASVAB requirements.
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The standard qualification for Air Force recruits is to have normal color vision and be between the ages of 17 and 39.
Similar to other positions, you must complete a National Agency Check, Local Agency Check, and Credit Check.
You must also have possession of a valid driver’s license that allows you to operate a government motor vehicle.
Some of the less common qualifications that this role requires include not having:
- A history of excessive alcohol or drug use
- Prior drug or alcohol-related incidents
- Any history of sleep disorders
- A history of ADD, ADHD, or perceptional learning disorders
- Fear of working around nuclear weapons
- A record of gang affiliations
- Fear of heights or confined areas
- A speech disorder or noticeable communication deficiency
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Air Force Security Forces are required to complete 7.5 weeks of Basic Military Training.
After completing training, recruits will attend 65 days at Joint Base San Antonio, in Texas.
Security Forces training will be broken down into different blocks.
The first block consists of learning Security Forces history, culture, and basic combative skills.
Personnel will go to CATM where they will learn how to hand the M-4 and M-9 firearms.
This block consists of learning field training where they will carry weapons or participate in simulation rounds.
Students will learn the security side of the position. This includes learning skills to diffuse situations and how to properly enter and clear a room.
When training is complete, you will be given your assignment and will be trained on the specific tasks for that specific assignment.
The Air Force video below shares more information on what training for a Security Forces position is like.
What does an Air Force Security Forces Specialist do?
An Air Force Security Forces specialist may have different tasks depending on the role the person is in, but the overall goal is to protect the people, equipment, and assets of the Air Force.
Some roles are similar to those of a civilian police officer.
Individuals could be required to patrol the base, write tickets, and make traffic stops.
Some airmen may investigate incidents and crime scenes.
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Security Forces apprehend and detain subjects.
They will be asked to secure a crime scene and could be asked to testify in court based on any events or investigations they take part in.
They could also be required to apply first aid and life-saving procedures as the first responder at an accident or disaster.
Air Force Specialists are given the task of guarding a missile site and guarding a convoy.
Specialists will be asked to participate in team patrol movements, drills, battle procedures, and non-war military operations.
They may also work as dog handlers and train military dogs.
These dogs are specially trained and bred to sniff drugs, paraphernalia, and explosives as well as track down and bite offenders.
Airmen who are lucky enough to have this position consider military dogs as partners.
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In this position, you could be guarding a gate one day and then guarding a flight the next.
No two days are the same, and you have to constantly be alert and ready for anything to happen.
While the position is similar to a civilian police officer, the role includes many more duties and risks.
Some positions that you could hold as Air Force Security Forces include:
CATM: Combat Arms Training and Maintenance-Personnel who use, train, specialize, and maintain small arms.
K9 Handler: Training and working with Military K9 Dogs.
Raven: Aircraft security
DAGRE: Deployed Aircraft Ground Response Element, a team of highly trained individuals who complete enhanced security for Special Operations Command
TRF: Tactical Response Force, Tactics team that protects nuclear weapons bases
EST: Emergency Services Team, which functions as an Air Force SWAT team.
There are many other positions available that all require specific training and have different risks associated with them.
The video below explains different positions and shares more information about what it is like as an Air Force Security Forces specialist.
What does an Air Force Security Forces Specialist Make?
You can gain a great visual of what a Security Forces specialist would make by checking out the table below.
|Insignia||Pay Grade||Rank||Abbreviation||2023 Minimum Monthly Pay|
|E-1 +4 months||Airman Basic||AB||$1,917.60|
|E-3||Airman First Class||A1C||$2,259.90|
|E-8||Senior Master Sergeant||SMSgt||$4,957.20|
|E-9||Chief Master Sergeant||CMSgt||$6,055.50|
|E-9||Command Chief Master Sergeant||CCM||$6,055.50|
|E-9||Chief Master Sergeant Of The Air Force||CMSAF||$6,055.50|
The table represents the base pay for all airmen, based on rank and time of service.
Not only does the Air Force offer a base pay, they also offer benefits that are better than most positions in the civilian world.
As an airman, you can expect to receive free/low-cost medical and dental.
The Air Force offers paid sick time and 30 days of paid vacation per year.
As an airman, you are eligible to retire after 20 years of service.
You can begin receiving benefits the day you retire.
This is a plan that does not require you to take money out of each check.
As soon as you begin Basic Training, you will be earning college credits.
The credits that you earn in the Security Forces position go directly toward a Criminal Justice degree.
The Air Force offers a few different tuition assistance programs if you wish to pursue that degree or another one.
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The Air Force offers to assist with up to 100% tuition coverage with the Air Force Tuition Assistance Program, the Post 9/11 GI Bill, and the Montgomery GI Bill.
You will receive a housing and food allowance.
The housing allowance will cover all housing expenses including utilities and maintenance for those who choose to live on-base.
If you choose to live off the base, you will be given a housing allowance that is based on your rank, family status, and location.
In addition to the food allowance, there are tax-free department and grocery stores to help you save extra money.
Individuals can also take advantage of the many recreational options on-base.
The recreational options do not just benefit the airman, but also members of their entire family.
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Being in the Security Forces position requires you to make the most out of each situation.
You will not always like each situation that you are placed in.
The position is very stressful and requires a lot of both physical and mental strength.
Most reviews of the position are positive.
What people like about the position is the ability to grow, the benefits that the Air Force offers, and the skills that you learn that could directly relate to careers outside of the Military.
What individuals do not like about the position are the long hours, rotating shifts, and temporary assignments.
Those negative aspects are ones that are similar to any position in law enforcement, in and out of the military.
The reviews below are a good summary of what the majority of individuals on Glassdoor said about the position.
Civilian Job Opportunities
Having the experience and skills gained as an Air Force Security Forces specialist will open the door to many law enforcement opportunities.
The skills directly relate to a police officer or sheriff position.
Job opportunities include working as an investigator or in security.
Individuals could use their skills to work as SWAT members.
There are jobs that are available in private facilities as well as government positions.
An instructor position for Criminal Justice or Firearms training is also a possibility.
Generally, military preference is given in law enforcement positions.
Law enforcement positions are in high demand and have varying pay depending on the position and the type of work.
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Being an Air Force Security Forces specialist means you are in charge of protecting the people, assets, and resources of the Air Force.
To join Air Force Security Forces, you have to meet the minimum education, qualifications, and training requirements.
Once you complete all the requirements, you have an opportunity to go into a wide variety of different positions.
Each position has different additional training requirements.
Your duty as Air Force Security Forces could be to patrol the base one day and protect a missile launch site the next.
Individuals can work as a K9 unit or become one of the select few skilled individuals who make up the DAGRE team.
Training is difficult and so is each day.
This position is rewarding and allows you to grow as a person.
Most people are satisfied with making the choice of Security Forces.
The skills that you learn as Security Forces directly relate to several civilian Law Enforcement options that have varying degrees of pay.
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