USAF AFSC 17D Information


5-Year Member
Nov 14, 2015

Its been a while (a couple years lol) since I posted something here. Hopefully, for those who are interested or know people who are interested in Cyberspace Operations for the USAF you'll find this information helpful.

1. What is a 17D?

Someone who is designated the AFSC "17D" is someone who operates cyberspace weapons systems, employs cyberspace capabilities, and commands crews to accomplish cyberspace, training, and other missions. They also translates operational requirements into architectural and technical solutions. Works with commanders to deliver complete capabilities that include technical and procedural components. Researches or oversees research of technologies and advises commanders on associated risks and mitigation factors in conjunction with meeting requirements.

Some example jobs you might see as a 17D could be:
- Communications Squadron (i.e. Base Communications Squadron)
- Combat Communications (i.e. 1st Combat Communications Group)
- Air Operations Centers (i.e. 601st Air Operations Center)
- Air Control Squadrons (ACS)
- Air Force Lifecycle Management Centers (AFLCMC)

I tried to make the list above broad, but these are real jobs right now being advertised for fulfillment in the force. I will be more than willing to explain in more detail the mission set of those entities. Keep in mind that not all communications squadrons or AOCs are alike. They all fall under different geographic commands (U.S. Northern Command/U.S. INDOPACOM) and different major commands (Air Combat Command/Air Force Special Operations Command). To make this easier to understand let's take the 633 Communications Squadron at Langley AFB. They fall under U.S. Northern Command and Air Combat Command. While the 36th Communications Squadron at Guam falls under USINDOPACOM and Pacific Air Forces MAJCOM. While both jobs might have their similarities each unit is tailored to their Area of Responsibilities.

2. What about a 17S?

Everything about a 17D above applies for a 17S. Once in the AF, they will tell you there is no such thing as 17S in theory. Meaning, it's not a core AFSC. Think of a hierarchy, 17D is at the top of the pyramid and 17S fall under that. What makes a 17S different from a 17D is the mission set. Typically you would see a 17S positions in Cyber Operations Squadrons conducting defensive/offense cyber operations. They can also be embedded in Intelligence Squadrons since Cyber Intel is gaining traction in the AF. Those in a 17S are usually more technical, however, that's not to say that 17Ds aren't. Its just a matter of what unit you're in.

3. Do I have a choice in which track I go? 17D or 17S?

A lot of seasoned folks here will always tell the new and upcoming LT's that it's always the "Air Force Needs", which is true to a point. The AF will vector people as they see fit. After Undergraduate Cyber Training (UCT), they tend to take the "high performers" and put them in those highly demanded cyber jobs/positions. I'am a true believer of if you communicate with your instructors on what you want to do, they will do their best to make it happen, but understand that everyone can't get what they want. To better put this in perspective I'll present the following example:
- Let's say a class of 20 is graduating soon and all 20 wants the cool "cyber hacking" jobs they see on TV and nothing else. Lt Col Snuffy is the commander of a Contingency Response Group out in Washington and has been waiting for a fill for her 2d LT 17D position. It has been vacant for 3 years and vocalized her opinion to the Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC) on why the vacancy is a hinder to operations for the unit. AFPC will then prioritize her position as a "must-fill" and now all 2d LTs are on the hook for fulling that position. Now keep in mind, AFPC cares about your "dream sheet" BUT to keep this machine rolling certain positions HAVE to be filled no matter what.

One piece of advice I give to new LT's is don't be upset about getting that dream job you want right off the bat. I was mad about my first job and disappointed, but three years later it was the ABSOLUTE BEST JOB EVER. Bloom where you are plated and it shall pay dividends. If your dream job doesn't come around the first time, better yourself academically and take some courses on your own to show the AF you're gearing up for that type of responsibility.

Later I will post information on Advanced Academic Degree/Special Experience Exchange Duty for the those who want to pursue a Masters Degree or participate in a special school.
Any questions about 17D or the AF in general? ASK!

Very Respectfully,
- Captain in the USAF
Thank you for taking the time to post and offer advice to those coming after you. Welcome back!

Thank you! How long is tech school for 17D and is it considered a PCS? Could my family come with me?
Does 17S transition better to civilian jobs? I am interested in this shred more however the 17D base locations are luring me in.
Is this same series/opportunity also available in the Space Force? If so, what would the differences in doing the job in the 2 services be (if any)?