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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 Chief of Staff of USAF.svg
Seal of the Chief of Staff
Flag of the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force.svg
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., the first African-American to hold the position.


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
Special uniform cap of the CSAF

The chief of staff is nominated for appointment by the president, for a four-year term of office,[2] and must be confirmed via majority vote by the Senate.[2] Any Air Force officer with the rank of brigadier general and above may be appointed as chief of staff,[2] 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.[2] 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 unless the President waives this requirement.[2] By statute, the chief of staff is appointed as a four-star general without vacating his permanent rank.[2]

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 (1947–present)

Prior to the creation of this position, General Henry H. Arnold was designated the first chief of the Army Air Forces and as the commanding general of the Army Air Forces during World War II. His successor, Carl A. Spaatz also 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 Chief of Staff of the Air Force Took office Left office Time in office Primary Background Previous office Secretaries of the Air Force Secretaries of Defense
1Spaatz, Carl AndrewGeneral
Carl A. Spaatz
26 September 194729 April 1948216 daysFightersCommanding General, United States Army Air ForcesW. Stuart SymingtonJames Forrestal
2Vandenberg, Hoyt SanfordGeneral
Hoyt S. Vandenberg
30 April 194829 June 19535 years, 60 daysAttack and FightersVice Chief of Staff of the Air ForceW. Stuart Symington
Thomas K. Finletter
Harold E. Talbott
James Forrestal
Louis A. Johnson
George C. Marshall
Robert A. Lovett
3Twining, Nathan FarragutGeneral
Nathan F. Twining
30 June 195330 June 19574 years, 0 daysFighters and BombersVice Chief of Staff of the Air ForceHarold E. Talbott
Donald A. Quarles
James H. Douglas Jr.
Charles Erwin Wilson
4White, Thomas DresserGeneral
Thomas D. White
1 July 195730 June 19613 years, 364 daysObservation aircraft and StaffVice Chief of Staff of the Air ForceJames 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 196131 January 19653 years, 215 daysBombersVice Chief of Staff of the Air ForceEugene ZuckertRobert McNamara
6McConnell, John PaulGeneral
John P. McConnell
1 February 196531 July 19694 years, 180 daysFightersVice Chief of Staff of the Air ForceEugene Zuckert
Harold Brown
Robert Seamans
Robert McNamara
Clark Clifford
Melvin Laird
7Ryan, John DaleGeneral
John D. Ryan
1 August 196931 July 19733 years, 364 daysBombersVice Chief of Staff of the Air ForceRobert Seamans
John L. McLucas
Melvin Laird
Elliot Richardson
James R. Schlesinger
8Brown, George ScratchleyGeneral
George S. Brown
1 August 197330 June 1974333 daysBombersCommander, Air Force Systems CommandJohn L. McLucasJames R. Schlesinger
Donald Rumsfeld
9Jones, David CharlesGeneral
David C. Jones
1 July 197420 June 19783 years, 354 daysBombersCommander-in-Chief, United States Air Forces in Europe
Commander, Fourth Allied Tactical Air Force
John L. McLucas
Thomas C. Reed
John C. Stetson
Donald Rumsfeld
Harold Brown
10Allen, LewGeneral
Lew Allen Jr.
1 July 197830 June 19823 years, 364 daysBombersVice Chief of Staff of the Air ForceJohn C. Stetson
Hans Mark
Verne Orr
Harold Brown
Caspar Weinberger
11Gabriel, Charles AlvinGeneral
Charles A. Gabriel
1 July 198230 June 19863 years, 364 daysFightersCommander-in-Chief, United States Air Forces in EuropeVerne Orr
Russell A. Rourke
Edward Aldridge
Caspar Weinberger
12Welch, Larry D.General
Larry D. Welch
(born 1934)
1 July 198630 June 19903 years, 364 daysFightersCommander-in-Chief, Strategic Air CommandEdward Aldridge
Donald Rice
Caspar Weinberger
Frank Carlucci
Dick Cheney
13Dugan, Michael JosephGeneral
Michael J. Dugan
(born 1937)
1 July 199017 September 199078 daysFightersCommander-in-Chief, United States Air Forces in EuropeDonald RiceDick Cheney
-Loh, John MichaelGeneral
John M. Loh
(born 1938)
18 September 199029 October 199041 daysFightersVice Chief of Staff of the Air Force (June 1990 – April 1991)Donald RiceDick Cheney
14McPeak, Merrill AnthonyGeneral
Merrill A. McPeak
(born 1936)
30 October 199025 October 19943 years, 360 daysFightersActing Secretary of the Air Force
(July – August 1993)
Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Air Forces
Donald Rice
Sheila Widnall
Dick Cheney
Leslie Aspin
William Perry
15Fogleman, Ronald RobertGeneral
Ronald R. Fogleman
(born 1942)
26 October 19941 September 19972 years, 310 daysFightersCommander-in-Chief, United States Transportation CommandSheila WidnallWilliam Perry
William Cohen
-Eberhart, Ralph EdwardGeneral
Ralph E. Eberhart
(born 1946)
2 September 19975 October 199733 daysFightersVice Chief of Staff of the Air Force (June 1997 – June 1999)Sheila WidnallWilliam Cohen
16Ryan, MichaelGeneral
Michael E. Ryan
(born 1941)
6 October 19975 September 20013 years, 334 daysFightersCommander-in-Chief, United States Air Forces in EuropeSheila 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 daysFightersCommander, Air Combat CommandJames G. RocheDonald Rumsfeld
18Moseley, Teed MichaelGeneral
T. Michael Moseley
(born 1949)
2 September 200511 July 20082 years, 345 daysFightersVice Chief of Staff of the Air ForceMichael WynneDonald Rumsfeld
Robert Gates
-McNabb, DuncanGeneral
Duncan J. McNabb
(born 1952)
12 July 200812 August 200831 daysAirliftVice Chief of Staff of the Air Force (September 2007 – September 2008)Michael B. DonleyRobert Gates
19Schwartz, Norton AllanGeneral
Norton A. Schwartz
(born 1951)
12 August 200810 August 20123 years, 364 daysAirlift and Special Operations aircraftCommander, United States Transportation CommandMichael B. DonleyRobert Gates
Leon Panetta
20Welsh, Mark Anthony IIIGeneral
Mark A. Welsh III
(born 1953)
10 August 201224 June 20163 years, 319 daysAttack and FightersCommander, United States Air Forces in EuropeMichael B. Donley
Deborah Lee James
Leon Panetta
Chuck Hagel
Ash Carter
21Goldfein, David LeeGeneral
David L. Goldfein
(born 1959)
1 July 20166 August 20204 years, 36 daysFightersVice Chief of Staff of the Air ForceDeborah 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 2020Incumbent2 years, 3 daysFightersCommander, Pacific Air ForcesBarbara 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. ^ a b c d e f g [1] 10 USC 8033. Chief of Staff
  3. ^ [2] 10 USC 8034. Vice Chief of Staff


  1. ^ a b c Served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  2. ^ Relieved for misstatements to the press on Gulf War strategy.
  3. ^ Resigned to avoid disagreement with the Secretary of Defense regarding investigation of the Khobar Towers bombing.
  4. ^ Resigned due to disagreements with the Secretary of Defense regarding Air Force budget and responsibility for several scandals.
This page was last edited on 31 July 2022, at 15:08
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