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Defenders of the Force: Security Forces

Security Forces Airmen, commonly called defenders, ensure the safety of people, equipment, and property on U.S. Air Force bases around the world.

Defenders conduct all security and police activities needed to protect air bases. They defend the perimeter, guard missiles, train military working dogs, perform law enforcement duties, and train Airmen in small arms weaponry. Wherever the Air Force has assets, defenders protect them.  

Security Forces is one of the largest enlisted career fields in the USAF. The Air Force relies on skilled enlisted defenders to know how to prevent and eliminate any threat that might emerge. Working long shifts, and in all weather conditions, defenders put themselves in harm’s way to keep America and Airmen safe.

A Symbol of Strength

The signature blue beret worn by USAF Security Forces shows a falcon above crossed runways. The runways represent Air Force bases and the swooping falcon symbolizes force protection.

Inspired by the Strategic Air Command Elite Guard and Operation Safeside Security Police, the beret represents heritage and strength.

On the Mark

Within Security Forces there are some roles which require high levels of proficiency in specific skills. For instance, Close Precision Engagement (CPE) teams are composed of talented spotters and snipers who support base defense. In addition to shooting with great accuracy, CPE teams must identify and recall details with precision for gathering intelligence.

Security with Teeth

Security Forces dog handlers train and partner with military working dogs to perform law enforcement duties. Previously called dog sentry teams, they provided valuable early warnings against lurking enemies during the Cold War. Today, military working dog teams perform patrols, detect drugs and explosives, and safeguard weapons.

Click here to return to the Cold War Gallery