The U.S. Air Force’s new Special Reconnaissance (SR) field, which emerged in 2019, focuses on providing air-minded reconnaissance and intelligence to prepare for conflicts with near-peer adversaries. SR Airmen, now 50 strong, train in a diverse set of skills from traditional field reconnaissance to advanced cyber and electronic warfare techniques, aiming to expand the force to over 100.
- Special Reconnaissance is the Air Force’s newest special warfare field, emphasizing stealth and the gathering of intelligence to facilitate airpower, even in challenging terrains and potentially without satellite or aerial reconnaissance support.
- SR evolved from the special operations weather teams, shifting focus towards more comprehensive reconnaissance skills, including cyber and electronic warfare, to adapt to the potential threats posed by nations like China, Russia, or Iran.
- SR Airmen are highly versatile, trained in various recon techniques from physical surveillance to technological intelligence gathering, ensuring the Air Force can obtain ground truth in any situation.
- The career field is attractive to new recruits and cross-trainees from other services due to its novelty and the opportunity to specialize in areas like drones or cyber warfare.
- SR’s small size and novelty mean that Airmen often need to prove their worth and capabilities when deployed, a challenge they are prepared to meet through rigorous and diverse training.