Air Force

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The mission of the United States Air Force is to fly, fight and win in the air, space, and cyberspace.

World War II had been over for two years and the Korean War lay three years ahead when the Air Force ended a 40-year association with the U.S. Army to become a separate service. The U.S. Air Force thus entered a new era in which airpower became firmly established as a major element of the nation’s defense and one of its chief hopes for deterring war. The Department of the Air Force was created when President Harry S Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947.

The Air Force has three core competencies: Developing Airmen, Technology-to-Warfighting and Integrating Operations. These core competencies make six distinctive capabilities possible: 

Air and Space Superiority:  With it, joint forces can dominate enemy operations in all dimensions -- land, sea, air and space. 

Global Attack:  Because of technological advances, the Air Force can attack anywhere, anytime -- and do so quickly and with greater precision than ever before. 

Rapid Global Mobility:  Being able to respond quickly and decisively anywhere needed is key to maintaining rapid global mobility. 

Precision Engagement:  The essence lies in the ability to apply selective force against specific targets because the nature and variety of future contingencies demand both precise and reliable use of military power with minimal risk and collateral damage. 

Information Superiority:  The ability of joint force commanders to keep pace with information and incorporate it into a campaign plan is crucial. 

Agile Combat Support:  Deployment and sustainment are keys to successful operations and cannot be separated. Agile combat support applies to all forces, from those permanently based to contingency buildups to expeditionary forces.

The Department of the Air Force is headquartered in the Pentagon, Washington D.C. The service is organized in nine major commands throughout the world which provide combat aircraft, airlift, refueling, reconnaissance and other support to the Unified Combatant Commands. 

The Air Force also has more than three dozen field operating agencies and direct reporting units which directly support the mission by providing unique services.

There are approximately 332,000 airmen currently serving across the globe.

Air Force Leaders Admit Nuclear Problems, But Will Fixes Work?

On a tour of nuclear facilities with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, media received a tour of the nuclear launch control simulator that F.E. Warren Air Force Base uses to train missile officers. (Stars and Stripes photo)

WASHINGTON -- Faced with one of its biggest challenges in years — repairing a troubled nuclear missile corps — the Air Force has taken an important first step by admitting, after years of denial, that its problems run deep and wide. Less certain is whether it will find all the right fixes, apply them fully and convince a doubting force of launc... more

Air Force Locks Up Potato Bowl and 10 Win Season

Air Force beat Western Michigan in a rain-soaked Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. (Air Force photo)

BOISE, Idaho -- From 10 losses to 10 wins. Air Force completed its program's extreme makeover with a 38-24 victory over Western Michigan that required plenty of pounding from the fullbacks and some escape artistry from the defense. It was the defense, so porous a year ago when the team went 2-10, that made so many key plays in capping this 10-... more

Tuskegee Airman Hero Who Flew 200 Missions in WWII Died

Lowell Steward, a former member of the Tuskegee Airmen who flew nearly 200 missions over Europe during World War II, has died. (Stars and Stripes photo)

Lowell Steward, a former member of the Tuskegee Airmen who flew nearly 200 missions over Europe during World War II, has died in California. He was 95. His son Lowell Jr. says Steward died Wednesday of natural causes at a hospital in Ventura. After graduating with a business degree from Santa Barbara College in 1941, Steward joined the Army Ai... more

Airman Helps Homeless Get a Fresh Start

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- The Air Force's core values are used to remind Airmen how to get the mission done. Integrity first and excellence in all we do are rather straightforward, but how exactly does one define service before self? Capt. Razell Smart, a 22nd Operations Group special operations air refueling (SOAR) chief mission planne... more

Air Guard Christens New Home for Arizona Drones


SIERRA VISTA -- After remotely flying unmanned aircraft over Iraq and Afghanistan for years, Arizona's Air National Guard drone pilots can finally take off and land close to home. On Thursday, the Arizona Air National Guard 214th Reconnaissance Group christened a new hangar and support facility at Fort Huachuca's Libby Army Airfield that eventu... more

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