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Office of the Secretary of the Air Force

The Secretary of the Air Force (SECAF) is the head of the Department of the Air Force. The SECAF is responsible for, and has the authority necessary to conduct all affairs of the Department of the Air Force. The chain of command for purposes other than operational control of forces assigned to combatant commands runs from the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) to the SECAF. All Air Force Major Commands (MAJCOMS) report to the CSAF.

The SECAF exercises authority primarily through civilian officials appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, specifically, the Under SECAF, four Assistant Secretaries of the Air Force, the General Counsel of the Air Force, as well as the CSAF. The SECAF utilizes the assistance of the Secretariat and Air Staff personnel in carrying out these responsibilities, but retains immediate supervision of activities that involve vital relationships with Congress, the Secretary of Defense, other governmental officials, and the public.

3. Responsibilities. The SECAF is responsible for all of the Department of the Air Force affairs and for fulfilling the Department of the Air Force's functions, duties and responsibilities set forth in Sub-Title D of 10 USC and the current version of Department of Defense Directive (DODD) 5100.1, Functions of the Department of Defense and its Major Components. 3.1. The Secretary of the Air Force. The SECAF is responsible for, and, unless limited by lawful authority, has the authority necessary to conduct all affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including the following:
  • Recruiting;
  • Organizing;
  • Supplying;
  • Equipping (including research and development);
  • Training;
  • Servicing;
  • Mobilizing;
  • Demobilizing;
  • Administering (including the morale and welfare of personnel);
  • Maintaining;
  • Construction, outfitting, and repairing of military equipment; and,
  • Construction, maintenance, and repair of buildings, structures, and utilities; the acquisition, management and disposal of real property or natural resources.

The SECAF is also responsible to the SECDEF for the following activities of the Department of the Air Force:

  • Operation and efficiency of the Department of the Air Force;
  • Formulation of policies and programs fully consistent with national security objectives and policies;
  • Effective and timely implementation of policy, program, and budget decisions and instructions of the President or Secretary of Defense;
  • Carrying out Air Force functions of the Department of the Air Force so as to fulfill to the maximum extent practicable the current and future operational requirements of the combatant commands;
  • Effective cooperation and coordination between the Department of the Air Force and other DoD components to provide for more effective, efficient, and economical administration and to eliminate duplication;
  • Presentation and justification of the Department of the Air Force positions on plans, programs, and policies of DoD; and,
  • Effective supervision and control of Air Force intelligence activities.

Succession Order for the Office of the Secretary. The succession order for the Office of the SECAF is established by Executive Order 12909. The authority provides that if the SECAF dies, resigns, is removed from office, is absent, or is disabled, then the Under Secretary of the Air Force will serve as Acting SECAF. If the Under Secretary is unable to assume the duties of the SECAF, then either the Assistant Secretaries or the General Counsel of the Air Force, in the order fixed by their length of service as permanent appointees in such positions, will serve as Acting SECAF. If the Under Secretary and none of the Assistant Secretaries or the General Counsel of the Air Force are able to serve as Acting SECAF, then the CSAF shall perform such duties. The SECAF may determine those circumstances, if any, when his or her absence requires the assumption of duties as Acting SECAF in accordance with Executive Order 12909.



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