Air Interdiction Agent (Pilot)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection - Air Interdiction Agent (Pilot: Dual Rated, or Airplane, or Rotorcraft)

We are accepting applications

Discover a challenging and rewarding career with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the sole organization responsible for securing the Nation's borders from terrorism, human and drug smuggling, illegal migration, and agricultural pests while simultaneously facilitating the flow of legitimate travel and trade.


This is an exciting opportunity for you to strengthen the Department's and our partners' ability to perform their homeland security functions through the following:

  • Conducting air patrols, surveillance & pursuit activities related to the interdiction of smuggled contraband via land vehicles, aircraft, or vessels.
  • Monitoring behavior patterns and activities of suspect persons, vehicles, or vessels believed to be engaged in illegal activities.
  • Collecting, refining, and analyzing strategic and tactical intelligence.
  • Searching persons, vessels, baggage, and cargo for contraband or weapons incidental to detention or arrest.

Being an Air Interdiction Agent (AIA) makes you a valuable member of the Federal Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) profession. Typical assignments include:

Operating Aircraft Systems while performing law enforcement missions

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the world's largest civilian law enforcement organization.
  • Performing interdiction duties that include intelligence gathering, detecting, intercepting, tracking, apprehending, testifying and acting as liaison with other Federal, State, local, tribal and foreign law enforcement agencies
  • Developing strategies to track aircraft, vessels and people to accomplish an effective and successful interdiction
  • Gathering and sharing intelligence information on illegal activities or potential acts of terrorism with internal customers, the general aviation and marine communities and other law enforcement agencies
  • Air and Marine Operations has 74 locations which include: Branches and Units, National Air Security Operations Centers, and the Air and Marine Operations Center
  • On a typical day, AMO conducts 212 Enforcement hours at and beyond the border, and within our nation's interior.
  • Our hiring locations are:

Locations are offered based on operational requirements, mission requirements, and critical agency hiring needs for entry level Air Interdiction Agents as determined by Air and Marine Operations. A duty location will be offered after successfully completing a three-part assessment. The duty location listed in the final offer letter may include any geographic location within the Southwest Border Region, Southeast Border Region, Caribbean Air and Marine Branch (CAMB), and National Air Security Operation Centers (NASOC) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Location. You must be willing to work at any duty location that falls within that region.

Southeast Region: (to include but not limited to the following locations) Homestead, FL and the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch (CAMB): Aguadilla, PR

Southwest Region:(to include but not limited to the following locations) Tucson and Yuma, AZ; San Diego, CA; El Paso, Laredo, and McAllen, TX

National Air Security Operation Center (NASOC) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Locations:(to include but not limited to the following locations) Sierra Vista, AZ; San Angelo, TX

Hiring Minimums

Pilot Enter on Duty minimums are 1500 flight hours; (up to 500 hours may be waived, reducing the pilot enter on duty minimums to 1000 hours)

  • A current FAA Commercial or ATP Pilot Certification with the following ratings:
    • Dual Rated: Airplane (Single-engine land or multi-engine land) with instrument rating AND Rotorcraft Helicopter with instrument rating; or
    • Airplane Rated: Airplane (Single-engine land or multi-engine land) with instrument; or
    • Helicopter Rated: Rotorcraft Helicopter with instrument rating; or
    • Equivalent military rating of the above at the time of application (eligibility based on military flight experience must provide official orders, forms or logbooks showing their status as a rated military pilot)
    • 250 Pilot-in-Command hours and
    • 75 Instrument hours
    • 75 Night hours
    • An FAA Class 1, FAA Class 2, or Military medical flight clearance qualifies to start the pre-employment process for the AIA position. An FAA Class 2 Medical is required at the time of the flight assessment. All medicals must be dated within the last 12 months.

Apply at 750 hours total time

Applicants applying at 750 flight hours are required to obtain at least 1,000 flight hours (depending on the number of hours approved for a waiver) at own expense before being able to attend the 3-part flight assessment.

Age Requirement

You must be referred for consideration before reaching your 40th birthday in accordance with Public Law 100-238. The age restriction doesn't apply if you are a veteran preference eligible. Documentation: a DD-214 member 4 or service 2 if prior military, or VA disability letter will be required. Active-duty applicants: please submit Statement of Service. Retired O4 and above must have a Veterans Affair disability rating of at least 0% service connected.


This is a career ladder position with a grade level progression of GS-11, GS-12, and GS-13. You may be eligible for a promotion to the next higher grade level automatically (without re-applying) once you complete 52-weeks at each grade level (with supervisor approval).

Air Interdiction Agents (AIA) special salary rates are posted on OPM's site. To see the special salary rates please visit this link.

The compensation acronyms used below are:

  • SSR: Special Salary Rate as posted by OPM
  • LEAP: Law Enforcement Availability Pay (25% Everyone)
  • RI: Retention Incentive (10% for UAS Sites)
  • RI: Recruitment Incentive (25% for Caribbean Air and Marine Branch (CAMB), Aguadilla, Puerto Rico Site only)

Example annual compensation for the first three years at our new-hire locations which are currently authorized to receive LEAP (amounts below include the SSR + LEAP).

  • GS-11, 1st year annual pay - $104,805
  • GS-12, 2nd year annual pay - $125,619
  • GS-13, 3rd year annual pay - $149,378

Example annual compensation for the first three years at our new-hire locations which are currently authorized to receive a 10% retention incentive (amounts below include the SSR + LEAP + 10% Retention Incentive ((RI) UAS Sites: Sierra Vista, AZ; Grand Forks, ND; San Angelo, TX)

  • GS-11, 1st year annual pay - $113,189
  • GS-12, 2nd year annual pay - $135,669
  • GS-13, 3rd year annual pay - $161,328

Example annual compensation for the first three years at our new-hire locations which are currently authorized to receive LEAP (amounts below include the SSR + LEAP + 25% Recruitment Incentive ((RI) CAMB location only).

  • GS-11, 1st year annual pay - $125,766
  • GS-12, 2nd year annual pay - $150,743
  • GS-13, 3rd year annual pay - $179,254

Additional Information

Polygraph Examination: The AIA position is a polygraph-required position. You must undergo a polygraph exam with favorable results in order to continue in the pre-employment process. Please see Polygraph Examination.

Polygraph Reciprocity: CBP may accept the results of a prior federal polygraph exam in lieu of a CBP polygraph exam. You will receive information to request reciprocity in your BI Package.

Polygraph Waiver: Certain veterans (current TS/SCI) may be eligible to obtain a polygraph waiver. You will receive information to request a waiver in your BI Package.

Fitness/Medical Standards: You must be able to meet job-related medical and fitness standards. Medical Exam | CBP Hiring Process Deep Dive - YouTube

Security Clearance: You may be required to obtain a Secret or higher-level clearance for this position.

Mandatory Completion of Basic Training: You will be detailed to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, GA, for 15 weeks of Air and Marine Basic Training Academy (AMBTA). The training is comprised of formalized courses of basic technical instruction necessary to perform the duties of the position, including a swim/water survival course. Additionally, you will complete the following training programs: (1) Spanish Language training program; (2) Initial Survival Training course; (3) Aircraft-specific Flight Training course; and (4) Standardized Tactical Aviation Training (STAT) course. Learn more here .

Uniforms: This position requires you to wear an officially approved uniform while in a duty status.

Firearm Proficiency: Firearm proficiency is required for Air Interdiction Agents and is part of the training provided.

Driver's License: You must possess a valid driver's license.

Probationary Period: You must serve a one-year probationary period during the first year of your initial permanent federal appointment to determine fitness for continued employment.

Current Federal Employees: You may be required to serve a probationary period in accordance with 5 CFR 315 and may be required to accept a change to lower grade, which may reduce their current salary based on Federal pay regulation.

Outside Employment: As an employee of CBP, you will be joining a workforce that is dedicated to accomplishing our mission while maintaining the trust of our Nation by strictly adhering to all government ethics standards. Your conduct will be subject to the ethics rules applicable to all Executive Branch employees, and to CBP employees specifically, as well as the criminal conflict of interest statutes. Once you enter on duty, these rules include obtaining approval for outside employment or business activity, to ensure such employment or business activity is not prohibited and does not interfere or conflict with performance of your official duties. Please review further details via the following link.