United States Secretary of the Air Force

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Secretary of the Air Force
SecAF Seal.png
Seal of the Secretary of the Air Force
Flag of the Secretary of the Air Force.svg
Flag of the Secretary of the Air Force
Frank Kendall III (2).jpg
Incumbent
Frank Kendall III

since July 28, 2021
Department of the Air Force
Style Mr. Secretary
The Honorable
(formal address in writing)
Reports to Secretary of Defense
Deputy Secretary of Defense
AppointerThe President
with the advice and consent of the Senate
Term length No fixed term
Precursor Secretary of War
Inaugural holder Stuart Symington
FormationSeptember 18, 1947;73 years ago (1947-09-18)
Succession 3rd in SecDef succession
DeputyThe Under Secretary
(principal civilian deputy)
The Chief of Staff
(military deputy)
The Chief of Space Operations (military deputy)
Salary Executive Schedule, Level II
Website Office of the Secretary
Stuart Symington is sworn-in as the first Secretary of the Air Force by Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson on September 18, 1947. Stuart Symington shown taking the oath of office as Secretary of the Air Force.jpg
Stuart Symington is sworn-in as the first Secretary of the Air Force by Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson on September 18, 1947.

The secretary of the Air Force, sometimes referred to as the secretary of the Department of the Air Force, [1] (SecAF, or SAF/OS) is the head of the Department of the Air Force and the service secretary for the United States Air Force and United States Space Force. The secretary of the Air Force is a civilian appointed by the president, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. [2] The secretary reports to the secretary of defense and/or the deputy secretary of defense, and is by statute responsible for and has the authority to conduct all the affairs of the Department of the Air Force. [2] [3]

Contents

The secretary works closely with their civilian deputy, the under secretary of the Air Force; and their military deputies, the chief of staff of the Air Force and the chief of space operations.

The first secretary of the Air Force, Stuart Symington, was sworn in on September 18, 1947, upon the split and re-organization of the Department of War and Army Air Forces into an air military department and a military service of its own, with the enactment of the National Security Act.

On July 26, 2021 the United States Senate confirmed Frank Kendall III as the next Secretary of the Air Force. On July 28, 2021, Kendall was sworn in.

Responsibilities

The secretary is the head of the Department of the Air Force. The Department of the Air Force is defined as a Military Department. [4] It is not limited to the Washington headquarters staffs, rather it is an entity which includes all the components of the United States Air Force and United States Space Force, including their reserve components:

The term 'department', when used with respect to a military department, means the executive part of the department and all field headquarters, forces, reserve components, installations, activities, and functions under the control or supervision of the Secretary of the department. [5]

The exclusive responsibilities of the secretary of the Air Force are enumerated in 10 U.S.C.   § 9013(b) of the United States Code. They include, but are not limited to:

(1) Recruiting.
(2) Organizing.
(3) Supplying.
(4) Equipping (including research and development).
(5) Training.
(6) Servicing.
(7) Mobilizing.
(8) Demobilizing.
(9) Administering (including the morale and welfare of personnel).
(10) Maintaining.
(11) The construction, outfitting, and repair of military equipment.

(12) The construction, maintenance, and repair of buildings, structures, and utilities and the acquisition of real property and interests in real property necessary to carry out the responsibilities specified in this section. [3]

By direction of the secretary of defense, the secretary of the Air Force assigns military units of the Air Force and Space Force, other than those who carry out the functions listed in 10 U.S.C.   § 9013(b) , to the Unified and Specified Combatant Commands to perform missions assigned to those commands. Air Force and Space Force units while assigned to Combatant Commands may only be reassigned by authority of the secretary of defense. [6]

However, the chain of command for Air Force and Space Force units for other purposes than the operational direction goes from the president to the secretary of defense to the secretary of the Air Force to the commanders of Air Force and Space Force Commands. [7] Air Force and Space Force officers have to report on any matter to the secretary, or the secretary's designate, when requested. The secretary has the authority to detail, prescribe the duties, and to assign Air Force and Space Force service members and civilian employees, and may also change the title of any activity not statutorily designated. [8] The secretary has several responsibilities under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) with respect to Air Force and Space Force service members, including the authority to convene general courts martial and to commute sentences.

The secretary of the Air Force may also be assigned additional responsibilities by the president or the secretary of defense, [9] e.g. the secretary is designated as the "DoD Executive Agent for Space", and as such:

... shall develop, coordinate, and integrate plans and programs for space systems and the acquisition of DoD Space Major Defense Acquisition Programs to provide operational space force capabilities to ensure the United States has the space power to achieve its national security objectives. [10] [11]

Office of the Secretary of the Air Force

Office of the Secretary of the Air Force
Office of the Secretary of the Air Force seal.jpg
Agency overview
Formed1947
Headquarters Pentagon
Parent agency Department of the Air Force
Secretary of The Air Force Verne Orr with Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff General David C. Jones and Air Force Chief of Staff General Lew Allen and Air Force Vice Chief of Staff General Robert C. Mathis at Bolling Air Force Base on May 28, 1982. Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff General David C. Jones and Secretary of The Air Force Verne Orr during General Robert C. Mathis retirement Ceremony at Bolling Air Force Base.jpg
Secretary of The Air Force Verne Orr with Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff General David C. Jones and  Air Force Chief of Staff General Lew Allen and Air Force Vice Chief of Staff General Robert C. Mathis at Bolling Air Force Base on May 28, 1982.

The secretary of the Air Force's principal staff element, the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, has responsibility for acquisition and auditing, comptroller issues (including financial management), inspector general matters, legislative affairs, and public affairs within the Department of the Air Force. The Office of the Secretary of the Air Force is one of the Department of the Air Force's three headquarter staffs at the seat of government, with the others being the Air Staff and the Office of the Chief of Space Operations .

Composition

The Office of the Secretary of the Air Force is composed of:

Chronological list of secretaries of the Air Force

No.ImageNameTerm of officeSecretary of DefenseAppointed by President
BeganEndedDays of service
1 Portrait of W. Stuart Symington 97-1844.jpg W. Stuart Symington September 18, 1947April 24, 1950949 James Forrestal
Louis Johnson
Harry S. Truman
2 Thomas K. Finletter.jpg Thomas K. Finletter April 24, 1950January 20, 19531002Louis Johnson
George Marshall
Robert Lovett
3 Harold E Talbott.jpg Harold E. Talbott February 4, 1953August 13, 1955920 Charles Wilson Dwight D. Eisenhower
4 Donald A. Quarles.jpg Donald A. Quarles August 15, 1955April 30, 1957624
5 James H. Douglas, Jr..jpg James H. Douglas, Jr. May 1, 1957December 10, 1959953Charles Wilson
Neil McElroy
Thomas Gates
6 The Air Force Role In Developing International Outer Space Law (Terrill, 1999) Page 022-1.jpg Dudley C. Sharp December 11, 1959January 20, 1961406 Thomas Gates
7 Eugene Zuckert.jpg Eugene M. Zuckert January 24, 1961September 30, 19651710 Robert McNamara John F. Kennedy
8 Secretary of the Air Force Harold Brown.jpg Harold Brown October 1, 1965February 15, 19691233Robert McNamara
Clark Clifford
Mel Laird
Lyndon B. Johnson
9 Robert Seamans.jpg Robert C. Seamans, Jr. February 15, 1969May 15, 19731550Mel Laird
Elliot Richardson
Richard M. Nixon
Acting John L McLucas.jpg John L. McLucas May 15, 1973July 18, 197364Elliot Richardson
Bill Clements Acting
James Schlesinger
10July 18, 1973November 23, 1975858James Schlesinger
Donald Rumsfeld
Acting James W. Plummer.jpg James W. Plummer November 24, 1975January 1, 197638Donald Rumsfeld Gerald Ford
11 Thomas C. Reed.jpg Thomas C. Reed January 2, 1976April 6, 1977460Donald Rumsfeld
Harold Brown
12 John C. Stetson, USAF.JPG John C. Stetson April 6, 1977May 18, 1979772 Harold Brown Jimmy Carter
Acting Hans Mark.jpg Hans Mark May 18, 1979July 26, 197969
13July 26, 1979February 9, 1981564Harold Brown
Caspar Weinberger
14 Verneorr.JPG Verne Orr February 9, 1981November 30, 19851755 Caspar Weinberger Ronald Reagan
15 Russell A. Rourke.jpg Russell A. Rourke December 9, 1985April 6, 1986118
Acting Edward C. Aldridge Jr.jpg Edward C. Aldridge Jr. April 6, 1986June 8, 198663
16June 9, 1986December 16, 1988921Caspar Weinberger
Frank Carlucci
Acting James F. McGovern December 16, 1988April 29, 1989134Frank Carlucci
William Howard Taft IV Acting
Dick Cheney
Acting John J. Welch, Jr. April 29, 1989May 21, 198922 Dick Cheney George H. W. Bush
17 Donald B. Rice, Secretary of the Air Force.JPEG Donald B. Rice May 21, 1989January 20, 19931340
Acting Michael Donley official portrait.jpg Michael B. Donley January 20, 1993July 13, 1993174 Les Aspin Bill Clinton
Acting Merrill McPeak, official military photo.JPEG Merrill A. McPeak July 14, 1993August 5, 199322
18 Wfm Widnall se1.jpg Sheila E. Widnall August 6, 1993October 31, 19971547Les Aspin
William Perry
William Cohen
Acting F. Whitten Peters 01.jpg F. Whitten Peters November 1, 1997July 30, 1999636 William Cohen
19July 30, 1999January 20, 2001540
Acting Dr Lawrence J Delaney, Acting Secretary of the Air Force.jpg Lawrence J. Delaney January 21, 2001May 31, 2001130 Donald Rumsfeld George W. Bush
20 James Roche.jpg James G. Roche June 1, 2001January 20, 20051329
Acting Peter B. Teets, Under Secretary of the Air Force.jpg Peter B. Teets January 20, 2005March 25, 200564
Acting Michael Montelongo, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller.jpg Michael Montelongo March 25, 2005March 28, 20053
Acting Michael Dominguez.jpg Michael L. Dominguez March 28, 2005July 29, 2005123
Acting Pete Geren USAF.jpg Pete Geren [12] July 29, 2005November 4, 200598
21 Michael Wynne, official portrait.jpg Michael Wynne November 4, 2005June 20, 2008 [13] 959Donald Rumsfeld
Robert Gates
Acting Michael Donley official portrait.jpg Michael B. Donley June 21, 2008 [13] October 2, 2008103 days Robert Gates
Leon Panetta
Chuck Hagel
Barack Obama
22October 2, 2008June 21, 20131723
Acting Eric Fanning.jpg Eric Fanning June 21, 2013December 20, 2013182 days Chuck Hagel
Ash Carter
23 Deborah Lee James.JPG Deborah Lee James December 20, 2013January 20, 20173 years, 31 days
Lisa S. Disbrow, USAF, 2014.JPG Lisa Disbrow
Acting
January 20, 2017May 16, 2017116 days Jim Mattis
Patrick M. Shanahan Acting
Donald Trump
24 Heather Wilson Air Force Secretary.jpg Heather Wilson May 16, 2017May 31, 20192 years, 15 days
Matthew Donovan official photo 2.jpg Matthew Donovan
Acting
June 1, 2019October 18, 2019139 days Patrick M. Shanahan Acting
Mark Esper Acting
Richard V. Spencer Acting
Mark Esper
25 Barbara M. Barrett official photo.jpg Barbara Barrett October 18, 2019January 20, 20211 year, 94 days Mark Esper
John P. Roth (2).jpg John P. Roth
Acting
January 20, 2021July 28, 2021189 days David Norquist Acting
Lloyd Austin
Joe Biden
26 Frank Kendall III (2).jpg Frank Kendall [14] July 28, 2021Present50 days Lloyd Austin

See also

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References

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