New York is located in the Federal Air Marshals’ northeast region, which also includes the cities of Boston, Newark, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Pittsburgh. They also work out of the New York offices of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is comprised of no less than 500 investigators, analysts and other experts from 44 governmental agencies.
In addition to being a part of covert missions on commercial aircraft, the Transportation Security Administration, which serves as the lead agency for the Federal Air Marshal Service, recently began employing air marshals on the TSA’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response Squads (VIPR teams). VIPR teams are assigned to perform random security sweeps at transportation hubs throughout New York City.
The TSA, along with local enforcement officials, have found that VIPR teams are a critical component of the nation’s counterterrorism efforts, as the TSA’s mandate is to provide security and counterterrorism operations for all transportation targets considered to be high-risk. The VIPR teams were created following the Madrid train bombing in 2004 that killed 191 people. There are now 37 VIPR teams operating in the U.S. with an annual budget of $100 million.
VIPR teams, like the ones that operate throughout New York, are comprised of federal air marshals, explosive experts, and baggage inspectors.
Federal air marshals in New York man flights from commercial airports throughout the state, including:
- Syracuse Hancock International Airport
- Steward International Airport
- Plattsburgh International Airport
- Long Island MacArthur Airport
- La Guardia Airport
- John F. Kennedy Airport
- Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport
- Greater Rochester International Airport
- Greater Binghamton Airport
- Elmira/Corning Regional Airport
- Buffalo Niagara Airport
- Albany International Airport
How to Become an Air Marshal in New York
Individuals who want to become air marshals in New York must meet the minimum requirements for employment with this federal law enforcement agency. They must be United States citizens between the ages of 21 and 36.
Further, to qualify at the SV-G band (the minimum level at which federal air marshals are hired), individuals must possess either a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university or at least 3 years of general experience that shows a progression of responsibility. Individuals may also qualify through a combination of education and experience.
Although no particular major is specified, candidates for these positions generally possess degrees related to federal law enforcement, including:
- Criminal justice
- Homeland security
- Emergency management
- Public safety
Because federal air marshals in New York serve as federal law enforcement personnel who carry firearms, a complete and thorough background investigation must be completed on all candidates. Further, candidates for these jobs must also be able to pass a FAMS assessment battery test (a writing and logic-based exam), a psychological assessment, and a structured panel interview.
Training Requirements for Air Marshal Jobs in New York
The training requirements for federal air marshals are extensive. New hires must first complete a 16-week training program, which includes 7 ½ weeks of basic law enforcement training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia, followed by 8 ½ weeks of agency-specific training at the Federal Air Marshal training facility at the William J. Hughes Technical center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. This stage of training includes instruction in a number of in-depth areas, including:
- Aircraft safety
- Recognition of criminal terrorist behavior
- Aviation medicine
- International law
- Close-quarters self-defense skills