Atlanta, Georgia is on the forefront of national security, with several federal departments holding offices within the city.
Atlanta is also a center for international air travel. The Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was ranked the world’s busiest airport in 2013, serving some 80 million passengers that year alone. The sheer magnitude of international traffic that moves through Atlanta makes Georgia a top priority in the eyes of the Department of Homeland Security.
The threat of terrorism is all too real. The Centennial Olympics Park Bombing during the 1996 Summer Olympics, which killed 2 and injured 111, is a powerful reminder of the dangers that threaten such a well-traveled hub of international tourism and commerce.
Federal Air Marshals in Atlanta are on the front lines – tasked with providing a safe and secure environment at the world’s busiest airport.
Requirements for Employment with the Federal Air Marshal Service
The Federal Air Marshal Service has several minimum job requirements that interested candidates must meet, including the following:
- Candidates must be between the ages of 21 and 36; OR
- Have prior federal civilian law enforcement experience.
- A bachelor’s degree in any field from an accredited university; OR
- 3 years of general experience that includes progressive experience in problem solving, planning and organizing, and effective communication; OR
- A combination of education and experience in these areas
Individuals who meet these qualifications are then selected for pre-employment screening. This screening will include:
- Extensive drug and alcohol screening
- Physical examination by medical staff
- Psychological assessment
- Top security clearance and background check
If candidates make it through this round of screening, they will also undergo assessments related to the specific requirements of Federal Air Marshal jobs, including:
- A panel interview
- A battery test—including portions on writing, logic-based reasoning, and situational judgment
If selected for training, candidates can expect to participate in an two-phase training program that includes a 35-day basic training component and a 44-day FAMS intensive training program.
Atlanta Federal Air Marshals—Terrorism Investigators
While Federal Air Marshals are tasked with protecting our skies and airports from the threat of terrorism, they often lend their expert knowledge to special task forces that aid federal investigations on the ground.
When the Atlanta Police Department began investigating threats made against the President through social media channels in 2012, the Georgia Joint Terrorism Task Force was immediately called in to help aid in the investigation.
This task force includes FBI and secret service agents, as well as several air marshals from the Atlanta Field Office. The Georgia Joint Terrorism Task Force has many goals that Federal Air Marshals directly contribute to, including:
- Holding regular meetings and information exchange
- Conducting investigative efforts
- Efficient and effective Intelligence sharing
- Encouraging a collaborative environment between departments
In this case, Federal Air Marshals were able to lend their own expert law enforcement and national security knowledge to aid in the investigation.