AFSPECWAR Overview – AF Special Warfare



Air Force Special Warfare (AFSPECWAR) is the Air Force’s solution to deliver tactical, sensitive and special operations across the Air, Land, Maritime and Space and Cyber environments.  Equipped to deliver personnel recovery, global access and precision strike mission sets, Special Warfare is undoubtedly the Air Force’s tip of the spear.  
Encompassing Special Tactics, Guardian Angel, and the TACP Weapon Systems, AFSPECWAR is the Air Force’s current and future generation solution to meet today and tomorrow’s advanced human-based weapon system demands.


Special Warfare Emb l


  • Pararescue (PJ)– The DoD’s premier personnel recovery asset.  Paramedics, Technical Recovery specialists,  Rock Climbers,  Divers, Swiftwater Specialists.  If you need saved, they will find you. The Air Force Jack of All Trades.  “That Others May Live”
  • Combat Control (CCT) – Delivering air power anytime, anywhere.  Specialists capable of creating and maintaining airfields across the globe as FAA certified Air Traffic Controllers.  Radio masters linking ground and air power in austere locations.  First in to the fight and often last out.  The Air Force’s key to bringing the fight as far forward as possible.  “First There”
  • Tactical Air Control Party (TACP)- Precision Air Strike specialists, conducting close air support air strikes in the most demanding environments.  Certified as Joint Terminal Air Controllers (JTACs), they are often the vital link to ground forces and their vital support from the air, to include ISR, bomber and fighter aircraft.  Most often stationed and embedded with US Army units.
  • Special Reconnaissance (SR)- Formerly Special Operations Weather.  Qualified in advanced recon techniques, to include weather forecasting and cyber collecting for air & ground assets.  Advanced infiltrators and data collectors, providing advanced Information, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) from the ground. 
  • Other Enablers- Some Air Force Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD), Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (SERE) and Security Forces play vital roles in accomplishing the Special Warfare mission set.  While the majority of Airmen in these specialties are outside of the AFSPECWAR umbrella, elite airmen from these jobs have the opportunity to assess, train and deploy as AFSPECWAR.


  • Combat Rescue Officer (CRO)- Personnel recovery (PR) command and control specialists.  Experts not only in executing the mission but also in providing preparation/planning and debriefing for isolated personnel across the globe.  Conducts tactical, operational and strategic personnel planning- from executing the individual mission to constructing large scale theater PR plans.  Pararescue’s officer counterpart.
  • Special Tactics Officer (STO)- Deploy as mission commanders for special warfare operations.  Provides command and control for global access missions and contingency planning.  Organizes, trains and equips special warfare teams.  Combat Control’s officer counterpart.
  • TACP Officer (TACPO)- Lead AFSPECWAR airmen on conventional and special operations.  A precision strike command and control specialist.  Directs firepower anytime, anywhere and advises commanders of JTAC capabilities.  The Air Force’s advisor to the Army for integrating ground and air power.  JTAC qualified.  Tactical Air Control Party’s officer counterpart.

AFSPECWAR Compensation

One-time Initial Enlistment Bonus (Enlisted)

-Combat Control: $50,000
-TACP: $50,000
-Pararescue: $50,000
-Special Reconnaissance: $50,000

-SERE: $40,000
-EOD: $50,000

*Values Current As of 1 February 2022
*Payments are for 6-year enlistments only
* Initial Enlisted Bonus payment is authorized when the member completes technical training and is awarded a 3-skill level in the AFSC specified in the enlistment contract. Member must request IEB upon arrival at first duty station. Bonus entitlement is based on the date of enlistment and the guaranteed AFSC on enlistment contract

Special Monthly Pays

Note: Special Monthly Pays are a combination of Battlefield Airman Incentive Pay (BASIP) and enlisted-only Special Duty Assignment Pay (SDAP). Pay range is dependent on skill level and qualifications

-Pararescue: $765-$1065/mo
-Combat Rescue Officer: $540-$615/mo

-Combat Control: $750-$1050/mo
-Special Tactics Officer: $525-$600/mo

-Tactical Air Control Party: $225-$975/mo
-Tactical Air Control Party Officer: $150-$525/mo

-Special Reconnaissance: $525-$975/mo

*Operators assigned to the 724 Special Tactics Group (Pope AFB, NC) will receive special duty assignment pay between $225 and $450 per month, in addition to the above special pays

Re-enlistment / Retention Bonuses

-Enlisted operators can expect to receive up to $90,000 during their re-enlistment window- usually every 4 years. Bonuses are generally paid half up front, and the other half paid out in yearly installments throughout the enlistment.

-Officer operators between 8 and 21 years of service can receive between $15,000-$25,000 per year when accepting an Officer Retention Bonus between 3-5 years. Payout spread is based on years served and retention length.


A Special Tactics documentary detailing the history of the Air Force’s ground special operations teams.

3 thoughts on “AFSPECWAR Overview”

  1. Is the pipeline for TACP assigned to the conventional forces the same as for TACP assigned to the Special Tactics Squadron?

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