USA Flag

Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Eligibility Criteria - ASO Program

Armed Security Officer (ASO) Program

Eligibility Criteria

Collage of the TSA Logo, three airplanes circling over Washington, DC, and the US flagAll ASO candidates must have a law enforcement background as defined by TSA. The candidates can be a former or current law enforcement officer. Former law enforcement officers must have at least four years of experience. Active law enforcement officers must have the approval of their department to participate in the program. To become an ASO, a candidate must be nominated by a Fixed Based Operator (FBO) or an Aircraft Operator. Although the ASO Program is administered by the FAMS, or federal government, an ASO is not employed by the federal government and, subsequently, will not receive compensation from the federal government for their services. The FBO or Aircraft Operator that sponsors the ASO will pay the ASO to compensate them for their services.

In order to become an ASO, an applicant must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age;
  • Be a U.S. citizen;
  • Be an active Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) in good standing; a qualified retired LEO; or a qualified former LEO in good standing with a minimum of four years law enforcement experience as defined by TSA;
  • Have successfully completed a certificated program of basic law enforcement training conducted by Federal, state, or local governmental entity authorized to train persons to perform as a law enforcement officer;
  • Be free from any physical condition which might adversely affect the exercise of the requirements of the position;
  • Be free from any emotional or mental condition, including any personality disorder or job-relevant psychopathology which might adversely affect the exercise of the requirements of the position;
  • Be eligible to obtain an FAA Class II Medical Certificate;
  • Not have been convicted of any domestic violence offence; and,
  • Not have had an authorization, deputation, or commission revoked by TSA.
  • Click here to read Title 49: Transportation, § 1562.29 Armed security officer requirements. (gpoaccess.gov)

Approved ASO candidates are trained in FAMS field offices located throughout the country. During the two day training class, candidates learn policies and procedures, Use of Force guidelines, defensive tactics, and become proficient with a firearm.

Candidates must pass a written test and pass a qualification course with their firearm.

Those candidates who pass the exam and firearm qualification course are issued credentials at which time they will be authorized by the TSA to serve on scheduled general aviation flights into DCA as required by the DASSP. Also, ASOs are required to re-qualify with their DHS approved firearms twice annually.

Need additional information on the ASO program? Check out our frequently asked questions page.

Interested candidates can also call the dedicated program line at 703-487-0044.

Latest revision: 16 July 2014