Twenty-Fifth Air Force

Twenty-Fifth Air Force
Active 1948–present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Numbered Air Force
Role Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance
Part of United States Air Force
Air Combat Command
Garrison/HQ Joint Base San Antonio, Texas
Motto(s) Freedom Through Vigilance
Maj Gen Bradford J. "B.J." Shwedo[1]
25th Air Force emblem

Twenty-Fifth Air Force (25 AF) is a numbered air force (NAF) with the United States Air Force (USAF). 25 AF was established on 29 September 2014[2] by redesignating the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency (a field operating agency) under Headquarters, United States Air Force, to a numbered air force aligned under Air Combat Command. USAF also realigned the 9th Reconnaissance Wing and the 55th Wing under the new NAF. It is headquartered at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

Its primary mission is to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) products, applications, capabilities and resources, to include cyber and geospatial forces and expertise. Additionally, it is the service cryptologic component (SCC) responsible to the National Security Agency and Central Security Service for Air Force cryptographic activities.[3]

25 AF was originally activated as the United States Air Force Security Service on 20 October 1948, at Arlington Hall, Washington, D.C., with a mission of cryptology and communications security.[4]

25 AF is commanded by Maj Gen Bradford J. "B.J." Shwedo.[5] Its Command Chief Master Sergeant is Command Chief Master Sgt. Roger A Towberman, 25th Air Force.[6]


The organization organizes, trains, equips and presents assigned forces and capabilities to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for combatant commanders and the nation. It also implements and oversees the execution of Air Force policies intended to expand ISR capabilities.

The organization comprises over 30,000 people at about 65 locations worldwide.

On 14 July 2014, the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force announced that the Air Force ISR Agency would be reorganized into the Twenty-Fifth Air Force, a numbered air force assigned to Air Combat Command, on 1 October 2014.[7][8] The redesignation took place on 29 September 2014 at Joint Base San Antonio.


Assigned units

Five active duty wings and one center are assigned to the Twenty-Fifth Air Force.



Supported units

25 AF is responsible for mission management and support of signals intelligence operations for the Twenty-Fourth Air Force.[3]

Air National Guard units


United States Air Force Security Service

The Twenty-Fifth Air Force was established as the United States Air Force Security Service (USAFSS) on 20 October 1948.[4] The service was headquartered at Arlington Hall, a former girls school and the headquarters of the United States Army's Signals Intelligence Service (SIS) cryptography effort during World War II. The USAFSS was tasked with the cryptology and communications security missions of the newly formed United States Air Force. The USAFSS moved to Brooks Air Force Base, in San Antonio, Texas, in April 1949, and then to "Security Hill" at nearby Kelly Air Force Base in August 1953.

During the Korean War, the USAFSS personnel provided United Nations Command units with intelligence on the movements of major Korean People's Army forces from Manchuria to Wonsan. USAFSS personnel received Korean Language training at Yale University, and flew on the Douglas C-47 Skytrain to relay communications to allied ground forces on the Korean Peninsula.

During the early days of the Cold War, USAFSS crews flew missions on several aircraft converted for intelligence missions, including the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, the Lockheed C-130A-II Dreamboat,[10] and the Strategic Air Command's Boeing RB-50 Superfortress and Boeing RC-135. The USAFSS established communications stations in Germany, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Scotland, and later installed AN/FLR-9 "Elephant Cage" radar sites in Alaska, England, Italy, Japan, the Philippines, and Turkey.

The USAFSS became involved in the Vietnam War when the Pacific Air Forces asked it to establish an Air Force Special Security Office at Tan Son Nhut Airport near Saigon in 1961. By the following year, a USAFSS squadron and three subordinate detachments were operating in Vietnam and Thailand, and USAFSS personnel supported College Eye threat warning operations. USAFSS crews also flew on Douglas EC-47 Skytrain missions to search for aircrew shot down in North Vietnam; RC-130BII Hercules Airborne Communications Reconnaissance Program (ACRP) SIGINT platforms launched out of Thailand and Da Nang Air Base, Viet Nam; and, commencing in 1967, SAC RC-135s deployed to and operating out of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa.

Electronic Security Command

On 1 August 1979, the Air Force redesignated the USAFSS as the Electronic Security Command (ESC), reflecting the organization's additional mission of improving the Air Force's use of electronic warfare technology in combat. In 1985, the Air Force tasked ESC with computer security, in addition to its intelligence and electronic warfare missions.

ESC provided intelligence support to the United States invasion of Panama in 1989 and were among the first U.S. military personnel to arrive in Saudi Arabia for the Gulf War. During that conflict, ESC personnel operated at three different locations in Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Air Force Intelligence Command

On 1 October 1991, the Air Force redesignated ESC as the Air Force Intelligence Command (AFIC) and consolidated Air Force intelligence functions and resources into a single command. AFIC merged ESC with the Air Force Foreign Technology Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, the Air Special Activities Center at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and elements of the Air Force Intelligence Agency, Washington, D.C. With the combined missions, AFIC was tasked with intelligence, security, electronic combat, foreign technology, and treaty monitoring.

Air Intelligence Agency

The organization was redesignated again when it became the Air Intelligence Agency on 1 October 1993. During the 1990s, AIA personnel deployed to support NATO operations during the Bosnian War and Kosovo War, and as part of Operations Southern Watch and Northern Watch in Southwest Asia.

In February 2001, the Air Force assigned AIA to Air Combat Command, where it provided support to combat operations in the War on Terror, the War in Afghanistan, and the Iraq War.

Air Force ISR Agency

In August 2006, General T. Michael Moseley, the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, directed that the Air Force intelligence efforts stress intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. AIA was eventually redesignated the Air Force ISR Agency (AFISRA) on 8 June 2007. The organization change included transforming AFISRA into a field operating agency and reassigning it from Air Combat Command to Headquarters Air Force. With the change, AFISRA reported to the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.

Beginning in 2009, AFISRA personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan to support MC-12W as part of Project Liberty.


Organized as a major command on 26 October 1948
Redesignated: Electronic Security Command on 1 August 1979
Redesignated: Air Force Intelligence Command on 1 October 1991
Redesignated: Air Intelligence Agency on 1 October 1993
Redesignated: Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency on 8 June 2007
Redesignated: Twenty-Fifth Air Force on 1 October 2014






See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

  1. Locati, Guido (August 4, 2015). "Shwedo takes command of 25th AF and Shanahan gets 3rd star". Air Combat Command Public Affairs. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  2. McCullough, Amy, "ISR Agency Becomes 25th Air Force", Air Force Magazine: Journal of the Air Force Association, November 2014, Volume 97 No. 11, p. 22
  3. 1 2 "Factsheets: Twenty-Fifth Air Force". 12 November 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  4. 1 2 3 Myers, Harold; Marshall, Gabriel (2009), USAFSS to AF ISR Agency, 1948–2009: A Brief History of the AF ISR Agency and its Predecessor Organizations (PDF) (5th ed.), San Antonio, Texas: AF ISR Agency History Office, retrieved 20 July 2014
  5. "Biographies: Maj. Gen. John N.T. "Jack" Shanahan". June 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  6. "Biograhies: Chief Master Sergeant Roger A Towberman". 29 September 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  7. Chavana, Jarrod (14 July 2014). "AF ISR Agency realigns as 25th AF". Air Force ISR Agency Public Affairs. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  8. Everstine, Brian (14 July 2014). "Air Force to cut thousands of installation support jobs, create new command for surveillance". Air Force Times. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  9. "Factsheets: 363rd ISR Wing" (PDF). March 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  11. Abstract, Oral History Interview with Lt. Gen. Richard P. Klocko. Retrieved 28 August 2012
  12. 1 2 3 Fletcher, Harry R. (1993). Air Force Bases , Vol. II, Air Bases Outside the United States of America (PDF). Washington, DC: Center for Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-53-6.
  13. AFSS History. Retrieved 10 September 2012
  14. Mission and Lineage and Honors of the 67th Network Warfare Group. Retrieved 10 September 2012
  15. Abstract, History of 6013th Operations Wing May 1952. Retrieved 9 September 2012
  16. Abstract, History of 313th Air Div, Jul-Dec 1965. Retrieved 28 August 2012
  17. American Military in Turkey. Retrieved 10 September 2012
  18. 1 2 Mueller, Robert (1989). Air Force Bases, Vol. I, Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982 (PDF). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-53-6.
  19. Lineage & Honors History of 6940th Electronic Security Wing. Retrieved 10 September 2012
  20. Willard, TSG Richard R. (1988) [1968]. Location of United States Military Units in the United Kingdom, 16 July 1948 – 31 December 1967. USAF Air Station, South Ruislip, United Kingdom: Historical Division, Office of Information, Third Air Force. LCCN 68061579.
  21. See Lineage and Honors History of 68th Network Warfare Squadron. Retrieved 10 September 2012
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