Combat Support Officer ... (Military - Officer)  What They Do

Just the Facts


Combat support officers command or perform duties that encompass a broad understanding of combat doctrine, policy, procedures, and initiatives, and may possess skills and experience in Special Forces, Civil Affairs, or Psychological Operations. They supervise operations, to include mission planning, mission payload operation, launching, remote piloting, and recovery. They provide battle management from specialized aircraft, ground locations, and ships.

This career is part of the Government and Public Administration cluster National Security pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Estimates repair priorities based on mission, type of work to be performed, and availability of parts and personnel
  • Commands mission crews to accomplish combat, combat support, training, and other missions
  • Manages equipment for the installation, repair, maintenance, and modification of air defense command and control systems, including data processing equipment, radar equipment, communications equipment, and power system equipment
  • Performs hands-on troubleshooting when subordinate personnel are unable to isolate problems
  • Advises, assists and trains personnel on specialized test procedures, tools, and technical manuals in order to identify, isolate, and repair equipment failures and communication outages
  • Coordinates activities pertaining to administration, operations, intelligence, material, comptroller, planning, and programing to ensure accomplishment of unit mission
  • Conducts infiltration, surface movement, and exfiltration with ground maneuver forces
  • Directs, observes, and evaluates effectiveness of training programs, availability, combat readiness of assigned crews, and operation and adequacy of support activities
  • Reviews mission tasking, intelligence, and weather information
  • Creates full spectrum guidance and instructions in support of joint and coalition forces engaged in conventional and special operations air, ground, and/or maritime operations

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Moving the arms, legs and torso together when the whole body is in motion
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Exerting oneself physically over long periods of time without getting out of breath

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Overnight travel
  • Overtime work
  • Weekend work