As a member of our Security Forces staff you will help protect our personnel and equipment, from delivering readiness training to service personnel to providing force protection measures against a range of threats.

  • Service
    Air Force
  • Specialisation
    Operational Support
  • Location
  • Starting Trade Training
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About the role

As a member of our Security Forces team, your specialised trade group contributes directly to preparing RNZAF personnel for operational duties, and protecting Air Force aviation assets, whilst both on the Military Air Base at home and deployed overseas.

Protective Security activities and tasks will see you responsible for include identifying and mitigating threats to air operations, providing airbase protection (ground defence) and physical security at Air Force sites. The other part of your role is to prepare RNZAF personnel to ensure that they achieve and maintain their individual combat readiness to effectively support Defence Force operations.

Your role is challenging and varied in that your tasks range from being an instructor to performing protective security patrols across all weather and environmental conditions. Some Force Protection personnel may also specialise as Military Working Dog Handlers, using this capability both at home and abroad.

Job on base

On the Military Air Base you’ll be responsible for a variety of force protection and protective security tasks.


You will provide real time security of the RNZAFs aviation assets, conduct protective security patrols, and provide airbase protection (ground defence) and the physical security for aircraft, sites and personnel. You’ll also be part of a team that is trained and equipped to respond immediately to security incidents. Selected personnel can go on to train as Military Working Dog handlers in the Military Working Dog units, providing a unique and important protective security function at Air Force sites.


A large part of your role is instructing RNZAF personnel in individual combat readiness or core military skills. This includes weapons training and live firing, survival skills, Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence and conducting pre-deployment and other military training required for success on operations. In addition, at some stage you will be involved with the general military training of recruits and Officers at RNZAF Base Woodbourne (near Blenheim) as they start their own careers in the RNZAF.


Security Forces personnel maintain the centre of excellence for all drill and ceremonial requirements in the RNZAF. They provide advice and instruction to the wider Air Force on parades and ceremonial activities.

Job on deployment

During operational deployments your responsibilities will be to provide airbase protection (ground defence) and physical security for Air Force installations, aviation assets, aircraft and personnel, including incident response.


All Security Forces personnel are able to deploy in this Airbase Protection (Ground Defence) role. Security Forces personnel will often work in a small team to achieve these tasks. Teamwork is essential for success. During some overseas deployments and exercises you will also work alongside militaries from other nations.


RNZAF aircraft travel domestically and internationally on a regular basis. This often requires Security Forces personnel to travel on board to protect the aircraft, passengers, crew and cargo in various environments. You can expect travel to many different countries around the world.

We have a term in our trade; trust your dog.

There’s always something to do. You might be doing a display for someone, or you might be doing night patrol, you might see me round the fence line helping secure the base.

Thomas Olsen

Leading Aircraftman

Career Progression and training

Basic Training

Job Training

Specialist Training

Upon successful enlistment into the Air Force you’ll be posted to RNZAF Base Woodbourne (near Blenheim).

Here you’ll do 12 weeks of basic military training to find out if you’ve got what it takes to be in the Air force, and learn various subjects including:

  • Organisation and Administration
  • RNZAF Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Field Skills and Weapon Training
  • First Aid, and Search and Rescue Techniques
  • Physical Fitness

Security Forces Operator Course

(15 Weeks) Location: RNZAF Base Woodbourne (near Blenheim)

Upon successful completion of basic military training, you'll attend primary trade training. This course covers protective security for RNZAF aircraft, equipment and personnel, aircraft security operations and Military Air Base protective security. You'll learn about security governance, security risk management, how to construct static defences, camouflage and concealment techniques, survival techniques, bush craft, navigation and first aid. These skills will all be consolidated during your field exercise whilst on course. You will be trained in the correct use of all the RNZAF in-service weapons, critical incident management techniques, pyrotechnic handling and basic incident response procedures.

Once you graduate from the Security Forces Operator Course you will be posted to an RNZAF Base to consolidate your skills and gain on-the-job experience. This will be for a minimum of 18 months during which time you will complete 4WD driver training and for some class two licence training. It is likely you will also get the opportunity to deploy on an exercise or an aircraft security operation either nationally or internationally.

After your on-the-job experience you'll then complete an advanced course, including weapons and drill instruction, shooting coaching, more advanced Aircraft Security operations training and Security Forces team leader training, which will qualify you as a Security Forces Specialist. This then allows you to progress your skills in a number of areas, such as attending higher level Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence training, Specialist security courses, and Purpose built Range Conducting Officer course. You will undertake regular continuation training to enhance and improve personal development and trade knowledge.

Throughout your career, further professional trade development and training is offered based on your interests.

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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Air Force are well-rewarded, as well as being diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, you will see your salary rise accordingly.


Under Initial Training


Starting Trade Training


Future Potential Earnings

Figures updated on July 1st 2023

Benefits and allowances

Earn a competitive salary while training or learning your trade, along with additional allowances for time spent in the field, at sea, overseas, or deployed on operations.

In addition to salary and allowances, other benefits of joining the New Zealand Defence Force include:

Access to your Service marae or tūrangawaewae

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Free access to gyms and swimming pools on camp and bases

Opportunities to travel

Free and subsidised medical and dental care

Subsidised food and accommodation on camps and bases

Free and subsidised insurance cover

Help to buy a home and save for retirement

Entry requirements



Fitness and Medical


Period of Service

  • You must be 17 years or older.
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain SV security clearance for this trade.
  • Hold a Restricted Class 1 Drivers License.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

3 years secondary school. Note, qualifications may be used to assess trade suitability.

  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required SV security clearance for this trade.

Find out if you’re eligible here.

Upon completion of the Security Forces Advanced Course, there is a 12 month return of service obligation.

Please contact our 0800 number or talk to your Candidate Experience Facilitator for more information.


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