The Federal Air Marshal Service is our nation’s first line of defense against acts of terrorism perpetrated in American skies and airports. In Nebraska, federal air marshals may serve at one of Nebraska’s three primary airports:
- Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Nebraska
- Lincoln Airport in Lincoln, Nebraska
- Central Nebraska Regional Airport in Grand Island
Air marshals bear the responsibility of preventing and countering hostile and violent actions against U.S. aircraft and their passengers and crew members while in flight, as well as on or in U.S. airports. Air marshals protect the millions of passengers and airline crewmembers who pass through Nebraska’s airports on a daily basis. Nebraska’s busy airports facilitate airline travel throughout the Midwest and beyond.
- Eppley Airfield in Omaha, classified as a medium commercial hub, handles 90 flights a day and serves over two million passengers per year.
- Lincoln Airport, a joint public/military use airport located in Nebraska’s state capital, served close to 150,000 passengers in 2010.
- Central Nebraska Regional Airport in Grand Island, Nebraska is a growing transportation center, serving 7,961 passengers in 2008, 20, 136 passengers in 2009, and 37,101 passengers in 2010.
Federal air marshals serve as the law enforcement arm of the TSA (Transportation Security Administration). As such, they may be assigned not only to airports but to TSA field offices, such as the one located in Omaha, Nebraska.
How to Become a Federal Air Marshal in Nebraska
Basic Qualifications – In order to apply successfully for an air marshal job in Nebraska, applicants must meet certain age requirements.
- No younger than 21 years old when submitting an application
- Cannot be any older than 37 at the time of appointment
However, if applicants can provide proof that they have previously served in a federal law enforcement capacity such that they would be able to complete twenty years of federal law enforcement service by age 57, they may be exempt from the upper age limit of 37.
Work and Education Requirements – Candidates may meet the minimum requirements to apply for a position as an air marshal in Nebraska by meeting certain standards in either work history or education or through a combination of work experience and educational credentials. The TSA requires applicants for federal air marshal positions to meet one of the following:
- Three years of prior general work experience in the federal government, at least one of which is equal to the F Band (or GS-4 grade level), or in an entry-level non-federal governmental position. (Through this prior work experience, applicants must have developed the following critical skills: the ability to analyze problems, assemble relevant data, and develop solutions for the problems; the ability to plan and organize your work; written and oral communication skills.)
- A bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university. (Although the degree may be in any field, candidates may want to pursue a major specifically geared toward law enforcement.)
- A combination of work experience and education.
Additional Requirements – To become an air marshal in Nebraska, candidates must also meet the following requirements:
- Must be able to get and keep a Top Secret Security clearance. Getting such a clearance will require a criminal background check and investigation into financial and medical histories and other aspects of past behavior.
- Must undergo medical examination and test of physical abilities to ensure they meet the physical medical standards for this very demanding position.
- Applicants must be able to achieve and maintain a very high standard for handgun accuracy.
Training for Air Marshal Duties – If a candidate is chosen to serve as a federal air marshal in Nebraska, they must attend two seven-week courses at federal law enforcement training center before assuming thier duties.
The first course covers areas such as marksmanship, close quarters self-defense, criminal investigation, criminal terrorist behavior recognition, and aircraft specific offensive and defensive tactics.
The second course focuses on honing marksmanship skills. Federal air marshals are among the law enforcement professionals who must meet the most stringent qualification standards for firearm proficiency.
TSA PreCheck at Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Nebraska
Federal air marshals also help TSA screeners and coordinate with other law enforcement officials to ensure that airline passengers travel through the airport safely and with as little difficulty as possible while maintaining security standards. Travelers who pass through Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Nebraska may now apply for PreCheck, a TSA program that allows expedited screening for known passengers.
Passengers who register for PreCheck may keep their shoes, belts, and jackets on during screening and will not be required to present laptops for inspection or remove liquids from their bags. This expedited process will allow air marshals and other law enforcement officials in Omaha to focus on identifying actual security threats.