Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force
|Chief of Staff of the Air Force
CSAF or CC/AF
Seal of the Chief of Staff
Flag of the Chief of Staff
|Department of the Air Force
The Air Staff
|Member of||Joint Chiefs of Staff|
|Reports to||Secretary of Defense
Secretary of the Air Force
with Senate advice and consent
|Term length||4 years
|Constituting instrument||10 U.S.C. § 8033|
|Precursor||Commanding General, United States Army Air Forces|
|Formation||September 18, 1947|
|First holder||Carl A. Spaatz|
|Deputy||Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force|
The Chief of Staff of the Air Force (acronym: CSAF, or AF/CC) is a statutory office (10 U.S.C. § 8033) held by a four-star general in the United States Air Force, and is the most senior uniformed officer assigned to serve in the Department of the Air Force, and as such is the principal military advisor and a deputy to the Secretary of the Air Force; and is in a separate capacity a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and thereby a military adviser to the National Security Council, the Secretary of Defense, and the President. The Chief of Staff is typically the highest-ranking officer on active-duty in the U.S. Air Force unless the Chairman and/or the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are Air Force officers.
The Chief of Staff of the Air Force is an administrative position based in the Pentagon, and while the Chief of Staff does not have operational command authority over Air Force forces (that is within the purview of the Combatant Commanders who report to the Secretary of Defense), the Chief of Staff does exercise supervision of Air Force units and organizations as the designee of the Secretary of the Air Force.
The current Chief of Staff of the Air Force is General Mark A. Welsh III.
Department of the Air Force
Under the authority, direction and control of the Secretary of the Air Force, the Chief of Staff presides over the Air Staff, acts as the Secretary's executive agent in carrying out approved plans, and exercises supervision, consistent with authority assigned to Commanders of the Combatant Commands, over organizations and members of the Air Force as determined by the Secretary. The Chief of Staff may also perform other duties as assigned by either the President, the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of the Air Force.
Member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Chief of Staff of the Air Force is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as prescribed by 10 U.S.C. § 151. When performing his JCS duties the Chief of Staff is responsible directly to the Secretary of Defense. Like the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CSAF is an administrative position, with no operational command authority over the United States Air Force.
Appointment and rank
Special uniform cap
The Chief of Staff is also authorized to wear a special service cap with clouds and lightning bolts around the band of the hat. This cap is different from those worn by other general officers of the Air Force and it is for use by the Chief of Staff and Air Force officers serving as Chairman or Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
List of Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Air Force (1947–present)
*Three former chiefs of staff would later serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
- Twining served as the Chairman from August 1957 to September 1960.
- Brown served as the Chairman from July 1974 to June 1978.
- Jones served as the Chairman from June 1978 to June 1982.
- The fourth air force officer to have served as the Chairman, General Richard B. Myers, did not serve as Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
McPeak is the only Chief of Staff of the Air Force to date who has served as Acting Secretary of the Air Force (from July 14, 1993 to August 5, 1993 before Sheila Widnall took office as Secretary), thus being the only uniformed Air Force officer to have truly been the "head of the Air Force".