Air Force Security Forces

Air Force Security Forces

Air Force Security Forces

AFSC Enlisted: 3P0X1, Officer: 31PX) (formerly named Air Police, then Security Police; colloquially called "cops" by USAF personnel), are the military police of the United States Air Force. Airmen in this field go through 13 weeks of initial technical training at Lackland Air Force Base with the 343rd Training Squadron, also known as the Security Forces Academy.


Air Force Security Forces members write and implement policing and security activities, as well as resource protection, for the DOD and the US Air Force. Information security, personnel security, and alarm facility response are just a few of the functions these individuals perform. They are also the first and only ground based line of defense for the USAF, comparable to the RAF Regiment or the German Air Force "Objektschutzbataillon". They are trained in ground combat skills, which include but are not limited to, small arms experts, sniper, heavy and crew served weapon systems, vehicular and aero insertion techniques(Air Assault), hostage negotiation, counter narcotics, special weapons and tactics(EST), counter terrorism, hand-to-hand defense techniques, and advanced Infantry tactics(Army Rangers). Security Forces also provide the law enforcement function on all Air Force bases to include response to emergencies, response to building alarms, traffic direction, traffic regulations enforcement, criminal and traffic accident investigations, and crime scene investigation/securing for major crimes. Security Forces personnel have also been deploying to augment Air Force Vehicle Operators (AFSC 2T1X1) providing convoy security and line haul support directly to U.S. Army/Marines units within Iraq and Afghanistan. Security Forces have been deploying to augment the US Army in Detainee Operations and as Police Transitions Teams working with the Iraqi Police. Members of the Air Force Security Forces can be identified as wearing their dark blue berets. The Security Forces field is one of only six Air Force careers that receive a beret upon successful completion of technical training. Security Forces members are expected to adhere to a higher standards of discipline compared to the rest of the Air Force and are usually punished more severely for infractions. Security Forces are considered ambassadors of the Air Force being the first and last members seen on any Air Force base.

Advancement and specialties

Members in this career field can later move on to other specialties like the Phoenix Raven program, consisting of airmen who secure air strips in dangerous or combat zones that do not already have adequate security. Security Forces also deploy Close Precision Engagement (CPE) teams, also known as counter-snipers, who go through an extensive Close Precision Engagement Course (CPEC) by U.S. Army training personnel at Camp Robinson. Security Forces members may also go through technical schools to help them as their careers develop. Some of these schools consist of, but are not limited to: S.W.A.T./Emergency Services Team (E.S.T.), Security Forces Dispatch Communications, Tactical Automated Sensor Systems Operator (TASS), Combat Arms Training and Maintenance (CATM), or Military Working Dog Handler (MWD).

TASS Operators consist of mostly Airman of a lower rank who complete a course on operation and maintenance of thermal imagers, sensors, and their components. Operators set up and provide surveillance to built-up installations as well as mobile base camps. Operators use microwave, thermal, seismic, and 'trip-wire' sensors. Operators can also use a variety of camera systems such as CCTV systems, or the high tech military version, called the Wide-Area Infrared Surveillance Thermal Imager - or WISTI. WISTI's can detect enemy movement by tracking body heat, or other heat resonances; or can be automatically routed to another sensor that goes off, in which the WISTI will automatically focus in and track the programmed sensor.

Air Force Specialty Code 3P0X1B (CATM) are personnel who train base personnel in the use of small arms weaponry, oversee and maintain and repair all small arms in the Air Force inventory. A second career direction Security Forces have is the Military Working Dog (MWD) program Air Force Specialty Code 3P0X1A. Military Working Dog teams deploy explosive detection and narcotics detection dogs throughout the base. Most Dog Handlers perform law enforcement duties at their duty station, and have opportunities to deploy, go Temporary Duty (TDY) for various reasons, including protection of the President of the United States.

Phoenix Raven is a United States military counter-terrorism organization program instituted in 1997 by Gen. Mills.

The Phoenix Raven program, implemented by Air Mobility Command Commander Gen. Walter Kross in early 1997, consists of groups of specially trained security forces personnel dedicated to providing force protection for aircrews and resources that operate in areas with a high threat level from criminals and terrorists. The Ravens are a select group of security forces volunteers "who have reached and maintained high standards during their military careers and aim to provide top-notch security for AMC personnel and en route aircraft around the world." Ravens advise the aircraft crew on force protection measures, perform close-in aircraft security and airfield assessments highlighting security measures and weaknesses, and assist with aircrew duties. Security forces members who opt to become a Raven undergo a two-week course at the Air Mobility Warfare Center, Fort Dix. They study topics such as international law, and they learn hand-to-hand defense techniques. Ravens have deployed worldwide and remain a vital component in the overall Force Protection of U.S. resources and national security. Air Mobility Command's Phoenix Raven program, implemented in 1997, consists of teams of specially trained security forces personnel dedicated to providing security for AMC aircraft that transit high terrorist and criminal threat areas.

Also, a number of Security Forces are accepted into other training programs like the Army's Air Assault School, Airborne jump school (there are two Security Forces Contingency Response Groups (CRG) that have CRG personnel (Including others such as communications, intel, and medical personnel) on jump status, the members of the 786 CRG took part in the combat jump with the 173rd into northern Iraq in March 2003 and the 820 CRG Moody AFB, Georgia have personnel on status. Pre-Ranger and Ranger School training. Security Forces members can also go through advanced training in investigations or advanced driving school training by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI). Security Forces maintains a qualification with the M-4 Rifle and M-9 pistol at the least. Different weapons skills can be obtained, such as the M-203 Grenade Launcher, the M-249 automatic rifle, the M-60/M-240B machine gun, the M-2 50 caliber machine gun, and the MK-19 grenade launcher.

Many bases maintain Emergency Services Teams (EST) which are the Air Force equivalent of police SWAT teams. Although these teams have been taken 'off-line' on an official basis due to budgetary constraints, many bases (e.g, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia) still maintain an Emergency Services Team with funds allocated locally. Some EST members undergo vigorous SWAT tactics training (Special Reaction Team Course, Phase 1 and 2) at the Advanced Law Enforcement Training Division (ALETD) located at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. SRT Phase I is a SWAT entry-team course and Phase II covers sniper emplacement, marksmanship, and tactics. ALETD is run by the U.S. Army and provides the majority of specialty training for U.S. Army and Marine Corp Military Policemen as well as Air Force Security Forces and some civilian police departments. SRT instructors at ALETD come from varied backgrounds to include former SWAT Team operators and commanders from civilian police departments as well as SRT and EST military police operators from the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force. Though not every Air Force base has an EST team, all Air Force bases housing nuclear weapons maintain a Tactical Response Force which perform the same function as EST along with protection, transport, and tactical recovery of nuclear weapons.

Workload Rigor

Security Forces is one of the most rigorous career fields in the Air Force. Protection is an aspect of the DOD which is required 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Security Forces, being the only career field in the Air Force task with this duty, must maintain this "Air Tight" security everyday. This demands include 12 to 16 hour shifts coupled with a very high deployment tempo. Security Forces members deploy a minimum of 180 days a year due to the increased demands of the Army and Marines. In fact, the deployment rotations are so intense the vast majority of the career field are experiencing 2 to 4 month dwell times in between deployments. [ [ Air Force Average Deployment Days - 3PO - Security Forces ] ] . This problem is further complicated by the low occurrence of re-enlistees among its members. [ [ Air Expeditionary Force ] ] [ [,,ASVAB_MOS_USAF.html ASVAB and Air Force Jobs - FREE ASVAB Practice Tests and ASVAB Study Guide ] ] With the low re-enlistment rate of the career field the Air Force is forced to continue the destructive work/deployment environment. Curiously, the Air Force has canceled the enlistment/re-enlistment bonuses that were previously offered. Another problem is many Security Forces missions require uninterrupted attention for hours on end, void of any entertainment whatsoever. There is no rotation of personnel, and virtually all posts are manned the duration of the shift, that is, 12 to 16 hours.Fact|date=July 2008

Security Forces career fields

The Air Force combined career fields in 1997. Previously, elements were separated by two fields: Security and Law Enforcement. However, this is largely only a "paper move", since even though the career field is combined, there are still units where their primary task is either Security or Law Enforcement. This is a common theme with Security Forces. Upper Air Force leadership makes a decision based on what information they have and the actual field SF units continue on with what best serves the Air Force. The Security Forces Mission is constantly evolving, often with little or no real direction from the Air Force, leaving much of the decision making to unit commanders. [ [ Security Forces Mission Constantly Evolving ] ]

In addition to law enforcement and security duties, Security Forces are trained in infantry skills and are tasked with defending the air base upon attack. In fact, part of the training Security Forces received was previously administered by an Army Infantry unit at Ft. Dix, New Jersey entitled Air Base Ground Defense. The training was integrated into the regular Security Forces training at Lackland in 1995.

The Air Force seems to be confused with what to do with Security Forces, and has decided to shake up the career field yet again — this time due to increased operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. For years, the Air Force has used the term 'Defensor Fortis' to describe Security Forces, which literally means 'Defenders of the Force'. [ [ Air Force Reservist brings artistic flair to security forces ] ] [] The Air Force announced a new policy in early 2006 with the intent of training all Air Force members, regardless of their Air Force Specialty Code, on security of all installations, using the terms Warrior and "Base Defenders". This new policy is largely ignored by the rest of the Air Force, since most units only provide a few augmentees, and officials have yet to enforce this policy. At the same time, the Air Force made the attempt to cut the normal 179-day deployment back to the usual 120-day deployment schedule the rest of the Air Force was using, but since the announcement, deployment of Security Forces members has only increased. In November of 2007, it was announced that the Air Force was going to triple the number of Security Forces personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan to backfill Army and Marines Corps mission taskings. Many units are so over tasked with deployments that breaks between deployments can last only four to five months before deploying once again. [ [ Stars and Stripes: Air Force to triple number of airmen helping Army, Marines in Iraq ] ]

Currently, many Security Forces Airmen are now performing "In Lieu Of" operations with the Army and Marines in Iraq and other locations. Most of these "In Lieu Of" assignments are one-year deployments, with several months of training before the actual deployment. These roles include combat patrols, assisting with the transportation of supply across Iraq's most dangerous routes, prison guard duty and EOD, among many other functions the Air Force is being asked to assist with, due to manning shortages within other services.

ee also

* RFF 619
* United States Army Military Police Corps
* Royal Air Force Regiment
* Airfield Defence Guards
* Objektschutzregiment der Luftwaffe
*Fusiliers Commandos de l'Air

External links

* [ Official Air Force Security Forces website]
* [ Official Air Force Security Forces factsheet]
* [ The Air Force Security Police Association]
* [ Unofficial Air Force Security Police website]
* [ Brief History of the USAF Security Forces]
* [ Air Force Security Forces Myspace Community]
* [ the UnOfficial 81st SPS RAF Bentwaters/Woodbridge Site]
* [ Unofficial security history of Westover AFB (SAC) 1955 - 1974]
* [ Tinker AFB Murder Details Emerge]
* [ USAF Security Police/Forces Vietnam Veteran....]


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