|Chief of Staff of the Air Force|
Seal of the Chief of Staff
Flag of the Chief of Staff
|Department of the Air Force|
The Air Staff
|Abbreviation||CSAF or CC/AF|
|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||18 September 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. § 9033) 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 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 David L. Goldfein.
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.
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.
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.
|No.||Image||Name||Term of Office||Primary Background||Secretaries served under:|
|Began||Ended||Days of Service||Air Force||Defense|
|1||Carl A. Spaatz||26 September 1947||29 April 1948||216||Fighters||Stuart Symington||James Forrestal|
|2||Hoyt S. Vandenberg||30 April 1948||29 June 1953||1887||Attack and Fighters||Stuart Symington
Thomas K. Finletter
Harold E. Talbott
Louis A. Johnson
George C. Marshall
Robert A. Lovett
Charles E. Wilson
|3||Nathan F. Twining*||30 June 1953||30 June 1957||1461||Fighters and Bombers||Harold E. Talbott
Donald A. Quarles
James H. Douglas, Jr.
|Charles E. Wilson|
|4||Thomas D. White||1 July 1957||30 June 1961||1460||Observation aircraft and Staff||James H. Douglas, Jr.
Dudley C. Sharp
Eugene M. Zuckert
|Charles E. Wilson|
Neil H. McElroy
Thomas S. Gates
Robert S. McNamara
|5||Curtis E. LeMay||30 June 1961||31 January 1965||1311||Bombers||Eugene M. Zuckert||Robert S. McNamara|
|6||John P. McConnell||1 February 1965||31 July 1969||1641||Fighters||Eugene M. Zuckert
Robert C. Seamans, Jr.
|Robert S. McNamara|
Clark M. Clifford
Melvin R. Laird
|7||John D. Ryan||1 August 1969||31 July 1973||1460||Bombers||Robert C. Seamans, Jr.
John L. McLucas
|Melvin R. Laird|
James R. Schlesinger
|8||George S. Brown*||1 August 1973||30 June 1974||333||Bombers||John L. McLucas||James R. Schlesinger|
|9||David C. Jones*||1 July 1974||20 June 1978||1450||Bombers||John L. McLucas
Thomas C. Reed
John C. Stetson
|James R. Schlesinger|
Donald H. Rumsfeld
|10||Lew Allen Jr.||1 July 1978||30 June 1982||1460||Bombers||John C. Stetson
|11||Charles A. Gabriel||1 July 1982||30 June 1986||1460||Fighters||Verne Orr
Russell A. Rourke
Edward C. Aldridge Jr.
|12||Larry D. Welch||1 July 1986||30 June 1990||1460||Fighters||Edward C. Aldridge Jr.
Donald B. Rice
|13||Michael J. Dugan||1 July 1990||17 September 1990||78||Fighters||Donald B. Rice||Dick Cheney|
|(Acting)||John M. Loh||18 September 1990||29 October 1990||41||Fighters|
|14||Merrill A. McPeak||30 October 1990||25 October 1994||1456||Fighters||Donald B. Rice
Sheila E. Widnall
William J. Perry
|15||Ronald R. Fogleman||26 October 1994||1 September 1997||1041||Fighters||Sheila E. Widnall||William J. Perry|
William S. Cohen
|(Acting)||Ralph E. Eberhart||2 September 1997||5 October 1997||33||Fighters||William S. Cohen|
|16||Michael E. Ryan||6 October 1997||5 September 2001||1430||Fighters||Sheila E. Widnall
F. Whitten Peters
James G. Roche
|William S. Cohen|
Donald H. Rumsfeld
|17||John P. Jumper||6 September 2001||2 September 2005||1457||Fighters||James G. Roche||Donald H. Rumsfeld|
|18||T. Michael Moseley||2 September 2005||12 July 2008||1044||Fighters||Michael Wynne||Donald H. Rumsfeld|
Robert M. Gates
|(Acting)||Duncan J. McNabb||12 July 2008||12 August 2008||31||Airlift||Michael B. Donley||Robert M. Gates|
|19||Norton A. Schwartz||12 August 2008||10 August 2012||1459||Airlift and Special Operations aircraft||Michael B. Donley||Robert M. Gates|
|20||Mark A. Welsh III||10 August 2012||24 June 2016||1414||Attack and Fighters||Michael B. Donley
Deborah Lee James
|21||David L. Goldfein||1 July 2016||Incumbent||1209||Fighters||Deborah Lee James
*Three former chiefs of staff would later serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
McPeak is the only Chief of Staff of the Air Force to date who has served as Acting Secretary of the Air Force (from 14 July 1993 to 5 August 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".