RNZAF Security Forces

  (Redirected from RNZAF Force Protection)

RNZAF Security Forces is the Royal New Zealand Air Force unit responsible for base security, ground defence, weapons training, and Air Transport Security on RNZAF aircraft. RNZAF Security Forces operates under the RNZAF Operations Squadron.

RNZAF Security Forces
  • Air Security Police (2000–2009)
  • Force Protection (2010–2015)
  • Security Forces (2016–Present)
Country New Zealand
BranchEnsign of the Royal New Zealand Air Force.svg Royal New Zealand Air Force
TypeAir Force Infantry
RoleSecurity & Ground Defence
Part ofNew Zealand Defence Force
Garrison/HQRNZAF Base Auckland
Colours Blue and Green
EngagementsEast Timor, Solomon Islands, Operation Enduring Freedom, Iraq
PatchRuru (native owl) with a Maori Powhenua on a green and blue background

RNZAF Security Forces are more commonly known in the RNZAF simply as SECFOR. They have a similar role to other Air Force units such as USAF Security Forces, RAAF Security Force Squadrons, and the RAF Regiment however it is smaller in size compared to their UK, American and Australian counterparts. The primary role of RNZAF Security Forces is to provide the Air Force with security of aircraft and personnel, as well as protection of airfields.

Military Working Dog unitEdit

The Military Working Dog (MWD) unit provides a further security function, and works closely with their Security Forces team members. The MWD unit was first established in 1972 as part of the RNZAF Police when the RNZAF purchased six P-3 Orions; due to the high tech nature of systems and equipment on these aircraft, the RNZAF Police military working dogs were seen as the most effective form of security.

The MWD unit holds extra responsibility for RNZAF aircraft and plays an important role in protecting them from sabotage and acting as a deterrent around RNZAF bases or when deployed overseas.

The Military Working Dogs for the unit are usually sourced from the New Zealand Police, all the dogs are Belgian malinois or German Shepherds. In the future there are plans to expand the MWD unit due to the recent purchases of the on the P-8 Poseidon and the C-130J Super Hercules.

The Military Working Dog unit is a specialisation and personnel are selected for this role once they have completed at least two to three years as a Security Forces Operator. Currently the Military Working Dog unit is located at RNZAF Base Auckland with plans in the future to expand the dog unit to RNZAF Base Ohakea.


RNZAF Security Forces traces its lineage back to the amalgamation of RNZAF Police and General Service Instructors in 1999. Over the years the unit has seen various name and role changes. Today RNZAF Security Forces primary job is air base protection, security, and weapons training for RNZAF personnel.

A RNZAF Force Protection corporal in 2011

Air Security PoliceEdit

In 1999–2001 many areas of the Air Force underwent significant change, cost saving and disbandment. The RNZAF Police was no exception and in a controversial move this saw the amalgamation of general service instructors (GSIs) with the RNZAF Police; subsequently many RNZAF Police and GSIs left the service shortly after the almagamation.

The RNZAF moved away from a sole focused policing role, and specialised more in ground defence and base security with policing as a secondary service. A name change to Air Security Police was adopted and the new unit was deployed to East Timor in 1999/2000. However, this proved to be an inauspicious start for the new trade that ended with the Air Security deployment being the subject of a court of inquiry. This inquiry found severe organisational and management problems stemming from a lack of leadership and resentment towards the amalgamation of the two trades.[1] Underlying issues of direction, focus and responsibilities continued to dog the new trade for several years.

Force ProtectionEdit

In 2010 following the civilianisation of many trades in the RNZAF the Air Security trade were also to be changed to force protection. This signified the end of many policing roles. Instead an investigation service was provided and a new focus primarily on providing security services to the RNZAF.

On 1 December 2014 all Military Police duties were removed from Force Protection and taken over by the newly established New Zealand Defence Force Military Police.

Security ForcesEdit

In March 2016 RNZAF command decided that the Force Protection name was a very broad concept and to better align itself with other western Air Forces, predominately the RAAF and USAF, a name change to RNZAF Security Forces was more appropriate. The new name also truly reflected the role of the unit.

On 1 July 2020 all military police personnel from the Security Forces officially transferred over to the RNZAF Police.

Selection and trainingEdit

Applicants attend a selection course in order to be considered for training on the sixteen-week Security Forces course. After initially completing the RNZAF Recruit Course, successful applicants then move on to Security Forces training which is conducted at RNZAF Base Woodbourne, where personnel learn advanced ground defence, physical fitness, patrolling, camouflage and concealment, bushcraft, survival techniques, base security, weapons, CBRN, and instructional techniques. On successful completion of the course trainees are then posted to an operational unit either at RNZAF Base Ohakea or RNZAF Base Auckland.

After two years posted to a unit and completion of the Security Forces Specialists course, Operators then obtain an increase in classification (moving up to LAC), and are redesignated as Security Forces Specialists where team members may move into Military Working Dogs if selected.

There is also the option to be posted to the RNZAF Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) training Centre, and specialize in this area. In order to become an instructor at the SERE training center, Security Forces specialists need to complete courses in Australia, USA, Antarctica and numerous cold weather courses in the mountains of New Zealand.

Security Forces personnel complete military self defence courses annually. Personnel also complete heavy and light 4WD courses to ensure they are competent in all aspects of on/off-road driving.

SECFOR are also responsible for all drill and weapons training for RNZAF Personnel. Command and Recruit Training Squadron (CRTS) at RNZAF Base Woodbourne have a number of Security Forces Specialists to instruct and train officer cadets and recruits in their initial phases of training.


Following trade amalgamation in 1999/2000 Air Security Police moved to a blue brassard with white lettering displaying the name of 'Air Security Police'.

When the Air Security Trade transitioned to Force Protection, the trade adopted a square patch with a black field, blue border and the lettering FP in the center embroidered in white. The tradesmen and women were then referred to colloquially as FP’s.

The final iteration of the trade was the transition to Security Forces (SECFOR). The new trade insignia was based on the traditional Maori story of the ’battle of the birds’. In this story, as the piwakawaka approached the battle (representing the flying squadrons of the RNZAF), the Ruru escorted the Piwakawaka and protected the flanks. This was seen as representative of the RNZAF SECFOR role in contemporary operations.

The patch is circular in design with a bi-colored field. One diagonal half blue represents the “Air” component and the other colour green, representing the ground defence role of the trade. In the center is the Ruru in flight, grasping a Powhenua (traditionally a defensive weapon) in the ready position. The motto of the trade is ”Kaitiaki Kaha”, which literally translates to ”Strong Guardian”.


  • Aircraft protection
  • Airfield security
  • Airfield terminal security
  • Weapons training
  • Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training
  • Drill and ceremonial duties
  • Ground defence


Security Forces is tasked with air transport security (ATSY), protecting airfields and RNZAF personnel, security duties, weapons instruction, drill instruction and CBRN training.

Air transport security missions and VIP flights aboard Air Force aircraft are a regular occurrence and exercises overseas have seen many team members of Security Forces travel extensively, both in New Zealand and throughout the world.


A Security Forces unit is usually commanded by a junior officer such as a flight lieutenant and a Senior NCO such as flight sergeant acting as a 2IC. Sergeants then manage the Security Forces teams. Usually a corporal will command a four-man operational Security Forces team with a leading aircraftman (LAC) acting as the 2IC.



Non-lethal weaponsEdit

  • ASP expandable baton
  • ASP handcuffs
ASP 21" tactical baton in expanded and collapsed states.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "New Zealand Defence Force: Deployment to East Timor – Performance of the Helicopter Detachment" (PDF). December 2002. Retrieved 19 March 2019.