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.

After Treason Comment, Senator Asks AF Chief about 'Reverse' Probe

Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III (left) and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. (right).  JOE GROMELSKI/STARS AND STRIPES

WASHINGTON — Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh faced tough questioning Wednesday in the Senate over whether the service is investigating airmen who have spoken to Congress about the planned retirement of the A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., said she was told about the internal probes after the two-star vice commander... more

Air Force Academy Remains Quiet on New Rule for Hiking Trails

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The Air Force Academy is keeping mum when it comes to a "buddy system" rule that bars solo hiking, running and mountain biking on academy trails and open spaces. Two days after releasing a statement attributing the new rule to on-campus attacks, the academy says it won't provide more details. A spokesman refused to divulge where and when the at... more

Altus Air Force Base Assists with Army National Guard Jump Training

Army National Guard Soldiers wait in the cargo hold of a C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft before taking off for a training jump Jan. 23, 2015, in Austin, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nathan Clark)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Even with the noise of the aircraft flying 1,000 feet above the ground, the mood is quiet. "Six minutes!" yells Staff Sgt. Laura Bourdlais, a 58th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, before she opens the side door revealing the lights of San Antonio, Texas, in the distance. Soon, 80 Soldiers with the Texas Army National... more

Air Force Marathon Price Going Up Feb. 2

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The Air Force Marathon will raise prices $5 for all races beginning Feb. 2, weeks earlier than it has in the past. The series of race has a 26.2-mile marathon, a 13.1-mile half marathon, and a 10K race on Sept. 19 meandering through Wright-Patterson and downtown Fairborn. A 5K race is set for Sept. 18 at the campus at Wright State University. ... more

Air Force Academy Cites Attacks as Reason for Halting Solo Hikes

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Planning a visit to one of the Air Force Academy's trails and open spaces? Bring a friend -- or don't go at all. That's the thrust of a new "buddy system" rule that bars anyone from running, hiking or cycling on academy trails without at least one friend. Violators could be ticketed or banned from the base. The change was announced Friday and... more

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