Air Force Association

Air Force Association
Type Not for profit
Founded February 4, 1946[1]
Headquarters Arlington, Virginia, United States
Membership Individuals and companies
Field Education and advocacy
Number of Members 94,000 (2015)
Key Personnel Executive Committee and Board Chairman Scott Van Cleef[2][3]
President - Gen. Larry O. Spencer[4]

The Air Force Association (AFA) is an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit, professional military and aerospace education association that promotes American aerospace power. It is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia.

AFA publishes Air Force Magazine[5] and the Daily Report.[6] It also runs the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies[7] and conducts social networking, public outreach, and national conferences and symposia. It sponsors professional development seminars and has an awards program. AFA has a scholarship program for Air Force active duty, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve members and their dependents. It also provides grants to promote science and math education at the elementary and secondary school level.


The association lists its mission as educating the public about the critical role of aerospace power in defense, advocating power and strong national defense and supporting the United States Air Force, the Air Force family and aerospace education.[8]


The genesis for the Air Force Association occurred in August 1945 when Chief of the Army Air Forces General Henry H. Arnold asked an executive of Eastman Kodak, Edward Curtis, to create an organization among veterans returning from World War II that would promote airpower and the cause of a separate Air Force. Curtis held an organizing meeting in New York City on October 12, 1945, to create a nonprofit organization to meet Arnold's goals. Other significant founders of AFA in attendance were John Allard, Everett Cook, James H. Doolittle, Deering Howe, Rufus Rand, Sol Rosenblatt, Julian Rosenthal, James M. "Jimmy" Stewart, Lowell P. Weicker (Senior), Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, and John Hay Whitney.[8][9]

The establishment of Air Force Association was made public by Doolittle in January 1946, who explained that it would be based on a "grass-roots structure", with affiliates on local, state, and regional levels, would publish a national magazine and would provide sponsorship for educational programs about the development of airpower.[9]

The Association was incorporated in the District of Columbia on February 4, 1946. AFA's first national president was Doolittle, an aviation pioneer and recipient of the Medal of Honor. In July, Air Force Magazine, then the official service journal of the Army Air Forces, became AFA's official journal at Arnold's behest. The next month a nationwide radio broadcast in observance of Air Force Day on August 1, 1947, was organized by AFA and featured charter members Jimmy Stewart, Jack L. Warner and Ronald Reagan. In 1948 Doolittle took a year's leave of absence from Shell Oil, where he was a vice president, to establish AFA chapters nationwide.[9]

Former President Michael M. Dunn has complained about both the termination of F-22 production and the 250 legacy fighters the Air Force had to retire to pay for upgrading the reduced F-22 fleet.[10]


AFA is divided into three geographic areas, comprising 14 regions, each led by a Region President.

Predominantly a volunteer organization, the association has more than 200 chapters in 49 states (Maine is the only state without a chapter) and other countries including the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Japan, Okinawa, and the Republic of Korea. As of June 30, 2010, AFA had a membership of 117,480 of whom 37% (43,954) are life members (permanent membership), organized into local chapters. There has been a 23-year trend of declining regular membership, but increasing life membership. AFA membership in 2010 included 15% on active duty military and 70% retired or former military.[11]


As part of its education mandate the association publishes Air Force Magazine and the online electronic news brief Daily Report. Air Force Magazine began in September 1918 as the D.M.A. Weekly News Letter, originally published by the Information Branch of the Division of Military Aeronautics, and changed names several times, becoming Air Force Magazine in January 1943. The Air Force Association assumed responsibility for its publication and content beginning in October 1946.

AFA also runs professional development conferences which feature speakers, workshops, trade shows and presentations by Air Force and national defense leaders. The organization has a public policy and research arm, the Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies run by director Dr. Rebecca Grant. AFA also has its CyberPatriot national high school cyber defense competition, to promote student interest in cyber security and other Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) career fields. The "Visions of Exploration" program has its members distribute educational materials to schools and concerned citizens. This is done in part through a joint multi-disciplinary science, math and social studies program with USA Today.[12]

The Arnold Air Society is a university level arm of the organization.

As part of its support programs AFA provides more than $1.5 million in scholarships, grants, and awards.[13] AFA’s educational programs and scholarships are intended to encourage Air Force members to continue their education, provide funds to Air Force spouses working towards a degree, and administer grants that develop programs promoting math and science skills among young people.

AFA was a key organization in building the United States Air Force Memorial and continues to be involved in its day-to-day operations.[14]


  1. "About AFA". Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  2. "Executive Committee". Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  3. "AFA Leadership". Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  4. Losey, Stephen, "Soon to retire, Vice Chief Gen. Larry Spencer never forgot his roots as one-striper", Air Force Times, Sightline Media Group, Springfield, Virginia, 4 August 2015,
  5. "Air Force Magazine". Retrieved 2016-03-15.
  6. "Air Force Magazine". Retrieved 2016-03-15.
  7. "The Mitchell Institute". The Mitchell Institute. Retrieved 2016-03-15.
  8. 1 2 Air Force Association (October 2010). "About Us". Archived from the original on 19 November 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
  9. 1 2 3 Air Force Association (1995). "Fifty Years of AFA" (PDF). Air Force Magazine. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
  10. Erwin, Sandra. "U.S. Military Headed the Way of Detroit?" National Defense Industrial Association, 7 December 2010.
  11. Air Force Association (September 2010). "AFA Almanac" (PDF). Air Force Magazine. Archived (PDF) from the original on 6 December 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
  12. Air Force Association (November 2010). "Visions of Exploration – Sponsored by the Air Force Association". USA Today. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
  13. Air Force Association (February 2010). "Awards, Scholarships & Grants". Archived from the original on 19 November 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
  14. Air Force Association (2010). "AFA to Support Memorial Operations and Activities". Retrieved 15 November 2010.

External links

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