Every day millions of Americans travel by air. It is the responsibility of the Federal Air Marshal Service to protect those travelers as they move through our nation’s airports and fly to their destinations.
Federal air marshals stationed in New Hampshire may be assigned to any of the state’s three commercial airports:
- Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in Manchester. Manchester Airport is the fourth largest airport in New England in terms of number of passengers, handling up to four million passengers annually.
- Portsmouth International Airport at Pease located in Portsmouth serves approximately 50,000 passengers per year and provides travelers easy access to Boston and other New England destination cities.
- Lebanon Municipal Airport in Lebanon is located in northern part of the state. Serving between 8000 and 10000 passengers a year, the airport provides connections to Boston and White Plains.
Aircraft and airports have been vulnerable to terrorist acts in the past. Air marshals strive to detect threats and prevent terrorist activities, as well as defend airline passengers and crew whenever necessary. The Federal Air Marshal Service is the law enforcement branch of the TSA (Transportation Security Administration). Air marshals who protect and defend New Hampshire airports and the millions of people who use them are staff of New Hampshire’s TSA field office in Manchester.
Qualifications for Air Marshal Jobs in New Hampshire
In order to apply successfully for an air marshal job in New Hampshire, a candidate must be between the ages of 21 and 37. A federal air marshal must be 37 or younger at the time of his appointment. Exceptions may be made for individuals who can demonstrate previous federal law enforcement service.
Candidates for air marshal positions in New Hampshire must also meet certain standards with respect to educational achievement and work experience. In order to obtain an air marshal position, the candidate must show one of the following:
- Three years working in the federal government, with, at a minimum, one of those years being spent in a position equal to the F Band (grade level GS-4 grade level), or in an entry-level governmental position with a non-federal entity such as a state or municipality
- A bachelor’s degree in any field from a college or university that is fully accredited college or university
- A combination of work experience and education
Above all, candidates for air marshal jobs must show that their education and/or work experience instilled in them problem solving skills, analytical reasoning, critical thinking, the ability to respond quickly and effectively under pressure, and excellent organizational and communication skills.
Other Requirements for Air Marshal Positions in New Hampshire
New Hampshire air marshals must also meet certain standards with respect to skill, ability, and character:
- Candidates must qualify for a Top Secret Security clearance. Getting this clearance entails a thorough investigation of the candidate’s background, including his financial, medical, and criminal records.
- Because serving as a federal air marshal may be physically demanding, candidates must meet certain standards with respect to strength and other physical skills as well as undergo medical examination.
- Candidates must demonstrate very high marksmanship skills in order to meet the Federal Air Marshal Service’s standards for handgun accuracy.
Candidates who meet these qualifications must still complete two rigorous training courses in order to become an air marshal. The first course focuses on specific skills that air marshals use in their daily duties, including criminal investigation and behavior observation and recognition. They also learn offensive and defensive tactics to be used in the event of a direct physical encounter with a suspect or perpetrator. The second training course focuses on developing a high level of firearm proficiency. Each course lasts approximately seven weeks.
New Hampshire’s Federal Air Marshals Working in Cooperation with Local
In protecting airports and airline passengers and crew from terrorist and other threats, federal air marshals in New Hampshire cooperate with local law enforcement entities. At the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, air marshals work with the Londonderry Police Department, based in Londonderry, New Hampshire, which is tasked with maintaining security at the facility. They also work with the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, part of New Hampshire’s Department of Safety.
Air marshals also cooperate with employees who work for other branches of the TSA, including airport screeners and transportation security officers. This cooperation has led to a winning partnership at New Hampshire’s Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, where six TSA employees were awarded certificates of achievement for excelling in their studies in Homeland Security. The TSA has joined forces with a local community college, NHTI Concord Community College in Concord, New Hampshire, to offer an associate degree program, with the goal of producing employees who are better equipped to protect and defend the flying public.