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Headquarters Air Force (HAF)

The Headquarters Air Force (HAF) consists of two major entities, created by 10 USC -- the Secretariat and the Air Staff. In addition to the Secretariat and the Air Staff, the SECAF may establish other organizational entities which report to the HAF (e.g., Field Operating Agencies (FOAs), Direct Reporting Units (DRUs)).

Headquarters Air Force (HAF) assists the Secretary of the Air Force (SECAF) and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force (CSAF) in conducting the affairs of the Department of the Air Force to fulfill the Department's functions, duties, and responsibilities set forth in Title 10 of the United States Code (10 USC) and relevant Department of Defense (DoD) issuances. The HAF develops policies, plans, and programs, establishes requirements, and provides resources to support the Air Force's mission to defend the United States and protect its interests through the use of air and space power.

The HAF is an integrated staff comprised of the offices of the Secretariat and the Air Staff. Generally, there will be no duplication of functions within HAF organizations, however the Secretariat will retain oversight and control of matters within their respective areas of responsibility. Those organizations having complementary responsibilities will avoid redundancy to the maximum extent possible.

Field operating agencies are subdivisions that carry out activities under the operational control of a headquarters Air Force functional manager.

The Air Force announced 18 December 2001 a new initiative to transform Headquarters Air Force (HAF) into a more streamlined and effective organization. This will allow processes and staff arrangements to be put in place to cultivate efficiencies. The goals of this reorganization are to improve business processes, eliminate unnecessary bureaucratic duplication and oversight, and align appropriate headquarters functions in support of the nation's warfighters.

Along with the U.S. Army, the Air Force closely aligned the civilian and uniformed staffs to speed decision making, and to facilitate effective handling of multiple issues ranging from Air Force Department management issues to providing support for Operations Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom. This headquarters transformation reflects the need for government to be more agile and efficient. The secretary of Defense has charged the Air Force with the task of working effectively together to execute the joint responsibilities to provide global reconnaissance and strike capabilities for this nation.

One such enhancement was the formation of a new deputy chief of staff for Warfighting Integration. Highlighting the growing importance of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), especially as a result of the war on terrorism, this office focused management attention and allow us to modernize and integrate C2, C4, and ISR systems and provide an effective approach for managing this critical capability.

Another objective of the headquarters transformation was to fully enable the Air Force, through the under secretary, to fulfill its responsibilities as DoD's executive agent for space programs. This facilitated the management of all classified and unclassified space programs in the Department of Defense and the National Reconnaissance Office.

The Air Force headquarters transformation is entirely consistent with existing legislation. The effort reflects an integrated product team approach that has proven to be successful in private industry. This enterprise architecture for managing the department extended this same teamwork concept throughout the secretariat and Air Staff by closely linking military and civilian organizations.

General Headquarters Air Force, 1935

The emergence of the heavy bomber in 1935 coincided with the advent of the General Headquarters (GHQ) Air Force. The circumstances leading up to the two events were closely related and actually influenced each other. The idea of an "air force," separate from the support aviation assigned to the Army units, had been urged by Major General Mason Patrick and his successor, Major General James Fechet, Chief of the Air Corps from 1927 to 1931. But the Army General Staff had not been able to see what mission the air arm could have apart from army support. Nor did it agree that aviation should be concentrated under a single air command for use in the field. However, the growing importance of coastal defense provided the Air Corps with a mission that could be performed independently of the ground armies, thus helping pave the way for the GHQ Air Force.

In October 1933, a War Department board headed by Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Hugh A. Drum, reviewed the Air Corps proposal and endorsed the idea of a GHQ Air Force, although it did not accept the emphasis placed on air power by the Air Corps. The Air Corps had recommended a GHQ Air Force comprised of bombardment, attack, and pursuit planes under its control to provide coastal defense. The Drum Board suggested that the force be used for tactical and strategic operations, including attacks on major installations in enemy territory.

The War Department appointed former Secretary of War Newton D. Baker to head a board to study operations of the Air Corps and what its proper relation to civil aviation should be. In July 1934 the board released its findings. It rejected the proposal for an independent air force and a unified defense department. It denied the claims made by Air Corps officers and their adherents and clearly expressed its attitude: "Independent air missions have little effect upon the issue of battle and none upon the final outcome of war." The Baker Board did recommend creation of a GHQ Air Force made up of air combat units capable of operating either independently or in cooperation with ground forces.

On the last day of 1934, the War Department ordered the creation of the GHQ Air Force as of 31 March 1935. The new command went to Brigadier General Frank M. Andrews, a member of the General Staff and one of the ablest officers in the Air Corps. From his headquarters at Langley Field, Virginia, Andrews concentrated tactical units under three wings, at Langley, Barksdale (La.), and March (Calif.) Fields.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:16:44 ZULU