SOF TACP

Salamie3

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Greetings,

I was reviewing this (https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/Portals/80/SOF TACP App FY18.pdf?ver=2018-02-20-111944-283) pdf about the SOF TACP selection process, and I had a few questions I was hoping someone could help me answer.

The document lists some required or preffered skills and qualifications before attending SOF TACP selection. Two of these requirements are being between the rank of E4 and E7 and having 2 years TIS.

How realistic is this 2 year TIS number to attending the SOF TACP selection, taking into count all the other skills/qualifications it lists (Ranger tab, JTAC expert, etc.)? Would this be a reasonable estimate/possibility considering the pipeline is nearly a year long? If not, what do you think would be a reasonable time period?

Is this time period the same for Guard TACPs attending the SOF selection? What does that number look like (as far as TIS)?

Appreciated.
 

Raksasa Kotor

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Unless you're prior service...not happening.

Even if you were to be force fed all of the schools back-to-back, you still have to have three years TIS and twenty months TIG to be promoted to E4. Then - if you're stationed CONUS - you are required to have at least two years TOS at your current duty station.
 

DasBoot

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If @CDG wants to pop his head in, he could probably pass on some good info. I don’t know how much @amlove21 interacts with the 17th STS types but he may also provide some good insight.

One thing I can respond to, as far as training goes- Ranger school is a major plus but not a requirement. I think only 2-4 of the guys across the street actually have their tabs.
 
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Salamie3

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I am not prior service. However, I am eligible to enter the AF as an E3. Two things:

What does the 20 month Time on Station requirement mean for me(does that differ from TIS)? Is that 20 months TOS as an E4?

When it says expert JTAC, expert Marksman, proficient in land navigation, and proficient in combative, are those qualifications I have to get? Hence your reference to schools @Raksasa Kotor. Or does that just mean I need to excel in those areas?

Thank you
 

Raksasa Kotor

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Don't confuse TOS and TIG - two vastly different things.

The 24 months Time on Station (TOS) requirement means that you need to be stationed wherever the Air Force sends you for at least two years before you can even think about getting orders somewhere else. Again, this assumes you get stationed somewhere in the US - if you get stationed overseas, those TOS rules are going to differ based upon where in the world you find yourself and the minimum tour length for that location.

The 20 months Time in Grade (TIG) requirement means that you can't put on E4 unless you've been an E3 for at least 20 months.

The recommended qualifications for candidates are exactly that: recommendations. Some are schools, some are not. For the ones that are not schools, you will gain that knowledge through hands-on experience at your unit.


Let's break it down like this:

- You come in as an E3 on day one of your Air Force career and go through the 35 weeks of training it takes to make you a 3-level TACP (spoiler alert: those courses don't run back to back; you are going to burn at least a week - probably quite a bit more - between each course, so we'll call it 40 weeks). Now you're at 10 months Time in Service (TIS).

- You get to your first duty station - we'll call it Ft. Hood for this scenario. You've been in the Air Force for 10 months at this point, and are straight out of training. At this point, you will know just enough to be dangerous to everyone around you. As long as you don't fuck up, you put on E4 roughly 10 months later, putting you at 20 months TIS - and maybe, maybe, you know enough at this point to be primarily dangerous to the enemy.

- Even after all of that, you still will not be eligible to apply to become a SOF TACP for an additional 14 months due to the 24 months Time on Station (TOS) requirement, putting you at 34 months TIS.


Now, let's go back and talk about those recommended qualifications for a minute. Without going into too much detail about my background, lets assume that I have a good bit of insight into the inner workings of SOF selection programs. Hypothetically speaking, if I were to see an application from a candidate that had 34 months TIS, I would not give that individual high odds of being selected - especially if they had a resume listing all of the cool-guy schools available to them, even if they're on the "recommended" list. At 34 months TIS, you are still learning how to employ what you have learned up to that point out in the real world and at a fairly basic level. If you've spent a good chunk of that time knocking out things like Ranger school, Air Assault, Pathfinder, etc - that's time you weren't honing the specific skillset that you're being assessed for: the ability to precisely and effectively employ air power under less than ideal conditions.

Realistically, most candidates are probably going to be around the four year mark before they have a skill level that makes them competitive. That's not to say that younger dudes don't show up, crush it and get selected - but maturity and real world experience typically win out over youth and schools.

As far as the ANG goes, I'm not touching that - whole different type of voodoo going on there.
 

amlove21

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OP, @Raksasa Kotor just gave you the difinitive answer.

If you want to check out some more information on SOF TACP and the type of people they're selecting, what the process looks like, and other pieces of information you might be interested in, check this out. It's a project I am involved in- there is a lot of information not just on TACP and SOF TACP, but prep information for Assessment and Selection. And we cover a lot of those"older guy/crosstrainee" questions on different episodes.


This episode is the SOF TACP episode with JC Roomba, a SOF TACP.

All about TACP — Ones Ready
 

Salamie3

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Aug 18, 2020
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Thank you all for the replies, very informative and helpful.

@amlove21 I am a subscribed to and a diligent listener of the Ones Ready podcast. Thank you guys for all the effort and time you put into it, keep up the good work!
 
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