What is Assessment & Selection?

  • Published
  • By Miriam A. Thurber
  • Special Warfare Training Wing

Air Force Special Warfare Guardian Angel and Special Tactics (GA/ST) operators, comprised of pararescuemen, combat controllers, special reconnaissance Airmen, special tactics officers and combat rescue officers, don’t just sign the dotted line and show up for work on the first day. To earn their beret, candidates must be selected into their career fields before continuing on to career-specific courses and training.

Selection into a Guardian Angel or Special Tactics career field is highly exclusive, and candidates must undergo an intense four-week Assessment & Selection. During A&S, candidates must push themselves individually and as a team while instructors, psychologists, doctors and other human performance staff assess candidates on these eight attributes: 

  • Drive
  • Integrity
  • Problem solving
  • Physical fitness
  • Stress tolerance
  • Teamwork
  • Trainability
  • Communication

Assessment & Selection events are anchored in real-world scenarios, providing candidates with a realistic job preview of both the tasks and the workload expected of an operator in the field. Events include early morning obstacle courses, timed swims in full uniform, buddy breathing exercises, water confidence events that promote problem-solving under stress and more.

To prepare for Assessment & Selection, enlisted candidates complete the seven-week Special Warfare Candidate’s Course, which prepares them mentally and physically for the rigors ahead. Officer candidates must first successfully attend and be selected during Phase II Screenings held by Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operations Command for CROs and STOs, respectively, before attending A&S.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as an AFSPECWAR operator, contact a recruiter for more information.