The United States Air Force (USAF) is the air service branch of the United States Armed Forces. The US Air Force was initially formed as a section of the United States Army on August 1, 1907, and later established as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 due to the passing of the National Security Act of 1947. It is the second youngest of the U.S. Armed Forces (ahead of the U.S. Space Force), fourth in order of precedence and one of the eight U.S. uniformed services.
The US Air Force's core missions are air superiority, global integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control. The mission of the U.S. Air Force is stated succinctly as, "to fly, fight and win .... in air, space, and cyberspace."
The Department of the Air Force is one of three departments structured within the Department of Defense, with management by the Secretary of the Air Force and Secretary of Defense.
The Air Force has 329,839 active duty, 64,025 officers and 265,814 enlisted members as of October 31, 2020. This includes 12,395 pilots, 3,312 navigators and 1,343 air battle managers in the grade of lieutenant colonel and below, but does not include Guard, Reserve or Air Force Academy members.
There are 11 major commands, each holding their own Air Force Base (AFB) in parts of the US and internationally.
- Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia.
- Air Education and Training Command, Randolph AFB, Texas.
- Air Force Global Strike Command, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana.
- Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
- Air Force Reserve Command, Robins AFB, Georgia.
- Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Florida.
- Air Mobility Command, Scott AFB, Illinois.
- Air National Guard, Arlington, Virginia.
- Pacific Air Forces, Hickam AFB, Hawaii.
- U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, Ramstein AB, Germany.
- Inter-European Air Forces Academy, , Kaiserslautern, Germany.