AFSC 3D1X4, Spectrum Operations

Air Force Enlisted Job Description & Qualification Factors

A combat rescue officer communicates with the HH-60 Pavehawk helicopter crew
In this handout provided by the U.S. Air Force, a combat rescue officer communicates with the HH-60 Pavehawk helicopter crew to organize the extraction of casualties during a joint U.S. and Dutch mass casualty exercise. U.S. Air Force / Getty Images

3D1X4, Spectrum Operations AFSC is officially established on November 1, 2009. It was created by converting AFSC 3C1X2. Spectrum Operations specialists engineer, nominate, and assign frequencies to support operational requirements. They coordinate frequency needs with federal, military, and civil spectrum management offices and secure operating authority, while promoting interference-free radio frequency operations.

They review spectrum interference reports, and establish/analyze baseline signatures across the cyberspace domain. They identify interference and coordinate countermeasures to neutralize effects, as well as, analyze spectrum requirements to determine compatibility, system specifications, antenna data, emission characteristics, and propagation modes. They will deploy in small teams to provide electronic attack, jamming, deception, and theater level spectrum management.

Specific Duties

Specific duties of this AFSC include:

Engineers, nominates, and assigns frequencies to support communications and operational requirements. Coordinates frequency needs with federal, military, and civil spectrum management offices. Secures operating authority, and ensures minimum interference is caused or received by Air Force radio frequency (RF) operations. Reviews spectrum interference reports and helps resolve electromagnetic interference problems.

Analyzes RF spectrum requirements and determines compatibility with other users considering transmitter and receiver specifications, antenna data, emission characteristics, and modes of radio wavepropagation. Examines radio link deficiencies and recommends corrective action to improve system performance.

Reviews involved, unusual, and difficult spectrum engineering requirements. Recommends solutions to electromagnetic compatibility problems.

Maintains frequency records and associated databases. Provides guidance on the spectrum certification process for electromagnetic radiating and receiving equipment planned for introduction into the Air Force inventory, and for modifications to existing equipment. Reviews plans and programming documents spectrum management actions. Prepares frequency annexes for contingency and operations plans. Examines spectrum allocation data and frequency assignment records to ascertain suitability of specific equipment planned for deployment.

Performs as joint task force spectrum manager. Provides spectrum management guidance to units deploying RF radiating equipment to support contingency, exercise, or wartime requirements. Analyzes and de-conflicts frequency assignments and databases to develop joint communications and electronics operating instructions.

Evaluates and assists electromagnetic spectrum management activities. Determines if spectrum support is adequate and recommends changes. Educates customers on optimal and proper use of the RF spectrum. Plans for current and future RF spectrum needs.

Job Training

Initial Skills Training (Tech School): AF Technical School graduation results in the award of a 3-skill level (apprentice). Following Air Force Basic Training, airmen in this AFSC attend the following course(s):

  • Course # E3ALR3C132 001, Apprentice Spectrum Operations course at Keesler AFB, MS - approximately 70 class days.

Certification Training: After tech school individuals report to their permanent duty assignment, where they are entered into 5-level (technician) upgrade training. This training is a combination of on-the-job task certification, and enrollment in a correspondance course called a Career Development Course (CDC). Once the airman's trainer(s) have certified that they are qualified to perform all tasks related to that assignment, and once they complete the CDC, including the final closed-book written test, they are upgraded to the 5-skill level, and are considered to be "certified" to perform their job with minimal supervision.

Advanced Training: Upon achieving the rank of Staff Sergeant, airmen are entered into 7-level (craftsman) training. A craftsman can expect to fill various supervisory and management positions such as shift leader, element NCOIC (Noncommissioned Officer in Charge), flight superintendent, and various staff positions. Upon promotion to the rank of Senior Master Sergeant, personnel convert to AFSC 3D190, Cyber Operations Superintendent. 3D190 personnel provide direct supervision and management to personnel in AFSCs 3D1X1, 3D1X2, 3D1X3, 3D1X4, 3D1X5, 3D1X6 and 3D0X7. A 9-level can expect to fill positions such as flight chief, superintendent, and various staff NCOIC jobs.

Assignment Locations: Virtually any Air Force Base.

Average Promotion Times (Time in Service)

Airman (E-2): 6 months
Airman First Class (E-3): 16 months
Senior Airman (E-4): 3 years
Staff Sergeant (E-5): 4.85 years
Technical Sergeant (E-6): 10.88 years
Master Sergeant (E-7): 16.56 years
Senior Master Sergeant (E-8): 20.47 years
Chief Master Sergeant (E-9): 23.57 years

Required ASVAB Composite Score: G-44

Security Clearance Requirement: Secret

Strength Requirement: G

Other Requirements

  • Must be a US Citizen