AFSPECWAR Assessment & Selection – AF Special Warfare

AFSPECWAR Assessment & Selection

For CRO, STO, PJ, CCT and Special Reconnaissance

Air Force Special Warfare selects, trains and equips only the elite; the best and brightest men and women possible.  To weed out the weak, untrainable and unworthy, the AFSPECWAR Assessment and Selection (A&S) course was created to select (enlisted) Pararescue, Combat Control and Special Reconnaissance and (officer) Special Tactics Officer and Combat Rescue Officer. 

A&S will be the most difficult experience of your life.  Many will quit and many will fail.  Only those that truly show that they want to join the elite will flourish.  Those few that remain focused and show the mental and physical fortitude to succeed and demonstrate the attributes valued by AFSPECWAR will be rewarded with an invigorating training pipeline and career that will change their lives.


A&S Prep Course

The A&S Preparatory Course precedes A&S and is designed to prepare applicants for the rigors of assessment and selection. For detailed information on Prep, check out our Prep Course page.

Candidates should be expected to complete multiple PT standards before starting A&S, to include:

  • 3x 25m underwaters in full uniform at a 3:00 interval
  • 20 meter mask and snorkel recovery
  • Bobbing sequence
  • Treading 4 minutes with hands in water.
  • Operator Fitness Test

A&S Details

AFSPECWAR A&S Schoolhouse. Medina Annex

The Air Force Special Warfare (AFSPECWAR) A&S is located on the Medina Annex of Lackland Air Force Base, TX.  A&S trains Pararescue, Combat Control, Special Reconnaissance, Special Tactics Officer and Combat Rescue Officers together in one course.  Prior to beginning the course, non-prior service candidates (eg. those coming from basic training) will prepare for A&S by attending the 8-week AFSPECWAR prep course located on main side Lackland AFB.  There, candidates will learn water confidence techniques, rehabilitation, physical conditioning and nutrition, among other vital skills.

AFSPECWAR A&S Schoolhouse
Inside the A&S schoolhouse

A&S is 4 weeks long.  With prior conditioning and training completed at AFSPECWAR Prep, instructors will expect trainees to be able to train at a high level entering Day 1.

A&S is divided into 2 segments: Field Phase and Selection Phase. 
Field Phase- 2.5 weeks:  Candidates can expect to be in a field like setting, sleeping in make-shift lodging in cots with sleeping bags.  Training is continuous with no days off.  Training consists of surface swimming, water confidence, grass & gorilla drills, running, rucking, calisthenics and extended training days.  
Selection Phase- 1.5 weeks: Following the field phase, candidates will begin cleanup and will be administered tests, surveys, critiques and interviews.  Instructors will compile all relevant information and select only those candidates that meet the desired career field attributes.  Enlisted candidates will then be given their specific job titles- Pararescue, Combat Control, or Special Recon, based on their performance and desired preference.  (See our SWOE-V article for more information.)
NOTE: TACP & TACP Officer candidates do not attend A&S primarily due to not having a water confidence requirement.

Water Confidence Training

AFSPECWAR Assessment and Selection does not have a graduation PT test standard.  Rather than basing a trainees merits overwhelmingly on physical prowess, instructors assess and select based on a variety of factors that fall in line with career field standards and expectations.  Values such as teamwork, selflessness, attitude, integrity, physical fitness and morals are likely to be graded highly by the cadre staff.

Post Assessment & Selection

Once selected, trainees will conduct their career field’s respective pipeline, to include dive, jump (airborne & freefall) and survival schools.  The AFSPECWAR pipeline is designed to combine like-skills from the different career fields to streamline and standardize training.

For more information on A&S, checkout the AFSPECWAR Forums to connect with thousands of current, future and past AFSPECWAR operators.

12 thoughts on “AFSPECWAR Assessment & Selection”

  1. what is special recon? new career field? Ive only ever been aware of PJ/CCT/SOWT/TACP. thanks! love this website also!

  2. Which group of candidates have a higher chance of passing these courses and being selected, ones coming straight out of BMT or the ones with prior military experience?

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