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Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chief of Staff of the Air Force
Seal of the Chief of Staff
Flag of the Chief of Staff
General Charles Q. Brown Jr.
since 6 August 2020
United States Air Force
Air Staff
TypeService chief
Member ofJoint Chiefs of Staff
Reports toSecretary of Defense
Secretary of the Air Force
ResidenceQuarters 7, Fort Myer[1]
SeatThe Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia
AppointerThe President
with Senate advice and consent
Term length4 years
Renewable once, only during war or national emergency
Constituting instrument10 U.S.C. § 9033
PrecursorCommanding General, United States Army Air Forces
Formation18 September 1947
First holderGen Carl A. Spaatz
DeputyVice Chief of Staff of the Air Force
WebsiteOfficial Website

The chief of staff of the Air Force (acronym: CSAF, or AF/CC) is a statutory office (10 U.S.C. § 9033) held by a general in the United States Air Force, and as such is the principal military advisor to the secretary of the Air Force on matter pertaining to the Air Force; and is in a separate capacity (10 U.S.C. § 151), 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 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 Charles Q. Brown Jr.

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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 the commanders of the Unified 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.[2]

The vice chief of staff of the Air Force, also a four-star general, is the chief of staff's principal deputy.[3]

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 chief of staff is an administrative position, with no operational command authority over the United States Air Force.

Appointment and rank

Special uniform cap of the CSAF

The chief of staff is nominated for appointment by the president, for a four-year term of office,[4] and must be confirmed via majority vote by the Senate.[4] Any Air Force officer with the rank of brigadier general and above may be appointed as chief of staff,[4] but prospective nominees are typically laterally promoted from other four-star assignments. The chief can be reappointed to serve one additional term, but only during times of war or national emergency declared by Congress.[4] To qualify for the position, the nominee must also have significant joint duty experience, and at least one full tour of duty in a joint duty assignment as a general officer unless the President waives this requirement.[4] By statute, the chief of staff is appointed as a four-star general without vacating his permanent rank.[4]

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.[citation needed]

List of chiefs of staff of the Air Force

Prior to the creation of this position, General Henry H. Arnold was designated the first chief of the Army Air Forces and commanding general of the Army Air Forces during World War II. His successor, Carl A. Spaatz became the first chief of staff of the Air Force upon the establishment of the United States Air Force.

Three chiefs of staff would go on to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, namely Nathan F. Twining, George S. Brown and David C. Jones.

No. Portrait Name Term Background Secretaries served under: Ref.
Took office Left office Duration Air Force Defense
1Spaatz, Carl AndrewGeneral
Carl A. Spaatz
26 September 194729 April 1948216 daysFightersW. Stuart SymingtonJames Forrestal[4]
2Vandenberg, Hoyt SanfordGeneral
Hoyt S. Vandenberg
30 April 1948[a]29 June 19535 years, 60 daysAttack and FightersW. Stuart Symington
Thomas K. Finletter
Harold E. Talbott
James Forrestal
Louis A. Johnson
George C. Marshall
Robert A. Lovett
Charles Erwin Wilson
3Twining, Nathan FarragutGeneral
Nathan F. Twining
30 June 1953[a]30 June 1957[b]4 years, 0 daysFighters and BombersHarold E. Talbott
Donald A. Quarles
James H. Douglas Jr.
Charles Erwin Wilson[4]
4White, Thomas DresserGeneral
Thomas D. White
1 July 1957[a]30 June 19613 years, 364 daysObservation aircraft and StaffJames H. Douglas Jr.
Dudley Sharp
Eugene Zuckert
Charles Erwin Wilson
Neil H. McElroy
Thomas Gates
Robert McNamara
5LeMay, Curtis EmersonGeneral
Curtis E. LeMay
30 June 1961[a]31 January 19653 years, 215 daysBombersEugene ZuckertRobert McNamara[4]
6McConnell, John PaulGeneral
John P. McConnell
1 February 1965[a]31 July 19694 years, 180 daysFightersEugene Zuckert
Harold Brown
Robert Seamans
Robert McNamara
Clark Clifford
Melvin Laird
7Ryan, John DaleGeneral
John D. Ryan
1 August 1969[a]31 July 19733 years, 364 daysBombersRobert Seamans
John L. McLucas
Melvin Laird
Elliot Richardson
James R. Schlesinger
8Brown, George ScratchleyGeneral
George S. Brown
1 August 197330 June 1974[b]333 daysBombersJohn L. McLucasJames R. Schlesinger
Donald Rumsfeld
9Jones, David CharlesGeneral
David C. Jones
1 July 197420 June 1978[b]3 years, 354 daysBombersJohn L. McLucas
Thomas C. Reed
John C. Stetson
Donald Rumsfeld
Harold Brown
10Allen, LewGeneral
Lew Allen Jr.
1 July 1978[a]30 June 19823 years, 364 daysBombersJohn C. Stetson
Hans Mark
Verne Orr
Harold Brown
Caspar Weinberger
11Gabriel, Charles AlvinGeneral
Charles A. Gabriel
1 July 198230 June 19863 years, 364 daysFightersVerne Orr
Russell A. Rourke
Edward Aldridge
Caspar Weinberger[4]
12Welch, Larry D.General
Larry D. Welch
(born 1934)
1 July 198630 June 19903 years, 364 daysFightersEdward Aldridge
Donald Rice
Caspar Weinberger
Frank Carlucci
Dick Cheney
13Dugan, Michael JosephGeneral
Michael J. Dugan
(born 1937)
1 July 199017 September 1990
78 daysFightersDonald RiceDick Cheney[4]
-Loh, John MichaelGeneral
John M. Loh
(born 1938)
18 September 199029 October 199041 daysFightersDonald RiceDick Cheney[4]
14McPeak, Merrill AnthonyGeneral
Merrill A. McPeak
(born 1936)
30 October 199025 October 19943 years, 360 daysFightersDonald Rice
Sheila Widnall
Dick Cheney
Les Aspin
William J. Perry
15Fogleman, Ronald RobertGeneral
Ronald R. Fogleman
(born 1942)
26 October 19941 September 19972 years, 310 daysFightersSheila WidnallWilliam J. Perry
William Cohen
-Eberhart, Ralph EdwardGeneral
Ralph E. Eberhart
(born 1946)
2 September 19975 October 199733 daysFightersSheila WidnallWilliam Cohen[4]
16Ryan, MichaelGeneral
Michael E. Ryan
(born 1941)
6 October 19975 September 20013 years, 334 daysFightersSheila Widnall
F. Whitten Peters
James G. Roche
William Cohen
Donald Rumsfeld
17Jumper, John PhillipGeneral
John P. Jumper
(born 1945)
6 September 20011 September 20053 years, 360 daysFightersJames G. RocheDonald Rumsfeld[4]
18Moseley, Teed MichaelGeneral
T. Michael Moseley
(born 1949)
2 September 2005[a]11 July 2008
2 years, 344 daysFightersMichael WynneDonald Rumsfeld
Robert Gates
-McNabb, DuncanGeneral
Duncan J. McNabb
(born 1952)
12 July 200812 August 200831 daysAirliftMichael B. DonleyRobert Gates[5]
19Schwartz, Norton AllanGeneral
Norton A. Schwartz
(born 1951)
12 August 200810 August 20123 years, 364 daysAirlift and Special Operations aircraftMichael B. DonleyRobert Gates
Leon Panetta
20Welsh, Mark Anthony IIIGeneral
Mark A. Welsh III
(born 1953)
10 August 201224 June 20163 years, 319 daysAttack and FightersMichael B. Donley
Deborah Lee James
Leon Panetta
Chuck Hagel
Ash Carter
21Goldfein, David LeeGeneral
David L. Goldfein
(born 1959)
1 July 2016[a]6 August 20204 years, 36 daysFightersDeborah Lee James
Heather Wilson
Barbara Barrett
Ash Carter
Jim Mattis
Mark Esper
22Brown, Charles Quinton Jr.General
Charles Q. Brown Jr.
(born 1962)
6 August 2020Incumbent3 years, 52 daysFightersBarbara Barrett
Frank Kendall III
Mark Esper
Lloyd Austin


Charles Q. Brown Jr.David L. GoldfeinMark WelshNorton A. SchwartzT. Michael MoseleyJohn P. JumperMichael E. RyanRonald FoglemanMerrill McPeakMichael Dugan (general)Larry D. WelchCharles A. GabrielLew AllenDavid C. JonesGeorge Scratchley BrownJohn Dale RyanJohn P. McConnell (general)Curtis LeMayThomas D. WhiteNathan F. TwiningHoyt VandenbergCarl Spaatz


  1. ^ "Air House: A History". U.S. Air Force.
  2. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 9033
  3. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 9034
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y "Former Air Force Chiefs of Staff". Air Force Historical Support Division. Archived from the original on 9 June 2022. Retrieved 2 October 2022. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ a b "Air Force Magazine, Volume 100, Issues 1-10". Air Force Magazine. Air Force Association. 15 December 2016. Archived from the original on 13 September 2022. Retrieved 13 September 2022.
  6. ^ Weckerlein, Julie (13 August 2008). "General Schwartz assumes command of Air Force". Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 3 October 2022. Retrieved 3 October 2022. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  7. ^ Jones, Shawn (14 August 2012). "Welsh 'humbled' to serve as Air Force chief of staff". Buckley Space Force Base. Air Force Public Affairs Agency. Archived from the original on 22 June 2021. Retrieved 3 October 2022. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  8. ^ Gibson, Alyssa (1 July 2016). "Goldfein swears in as 21st CSAF". U.S. Air Force. Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Command Information. Archived from the original on 7 July 2022. Retrieved 3 October 2022. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  9. ^ Pope, Charles (6 August 2020). "Brown formally installed as 22nd Air Force Chief of Staff". U.S. Air Force. Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 24 November 2021. Retrieved 3 October 2022. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Served prior as Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
  2. ^ a b c Appointed as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  3. ^ a b c In capacity as Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
This page was last edited on 1 August 2023, at 20:30
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