April 8, 2010 - The Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) made the news because of the recent incident on Flight 663. FAMs are highly trained to be aware of their surroundings and react in a moment’s notice, as we saw yesterday.
After completing a very rigorous training program to become a federal air marshal, every FAM goes through recurring training throughout their career to sharpen their skills and incorporate tactics based on evolving intelligence information. FAMS training requirements are some of the most rigorous in Federal law enforcement. Each quarter, FAMs train in full size aircraft simulators complete with role players and a wide variety of threat scenarios. And of course, this training is on top of maintaining the highest qualifications in firearms, defensive measures, and physical fitness among Federal law enforcement officers.
FAMS also provides training to airline pilots that volunteer to be part of the Federal Flight Deck Officer program using state of the art airplane simulators, and provides self-defense training to flight crew members. So if something happens on a plane, there is a good chance someone trained by TSA/FAMS will be there to take action. And as we saw on December 25th and in other cases, engaged passengers also serve as a line of defense on the plane when the need arises. This is another good lesson of letting the flight crew know if you see something that doesn’t seem right.
Because they’re undercover, you may not notice them on your flight. But on planes and in airports in the U.S. and around the world, FAMs stand ready to protect airline passengers.