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The Air Force Association (AFA) is an independent, nonprofit, civilian education organization promoting public understanding of aerospace power and the pivotal role it plays in the security of the nation. AFA publishes Air Force Magazine, conducts national symposia and disseminates information through outreach programs. It sponsors professional development seminars and recognizes excellence in the education and aerospace fields through national awards programs. AFA presents scholarships and grants to Air Force active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve members and their dependents; and awards educator grants to promote science and math education at the elementary and secondary school level. Additionally, AFA publishes a wide range of materials on www.afa.org.


MISSION    Back to Top

The Air Force Association educates the public about the critical role of aerospace power in the defense of our nation; advocates aerospace power and a strong national defense; and supports the United States Air Force, the Air Force family, and aerospace education.


AFA is led by volunteer leaders at the national, state and local levels. AFA's state organizations and more than 230 chapters hold elections and conduct programs to increase public understanding of key national security issues in their communities. Programs range from luncheon and dinner activities to symposia and legislative roundtables with Congressional leaders.

National officers and directors are elected by convention delegates attending the national convention in September. Delegates are chosen at the state and chapter levels to represent AFA's varied membership and vote on AFA policies. When finally adopted at the convention, AFA policy takes the form of an overall "Statement of Policy" and "Top Issues."

TAX STATUS    Back to Top

The Air Force Association is an IRS Code 501(3)(c) organization. Chapter and State organizations subordinate to AFA are recognized under IRS Exemption Number (GEN) 5392. Contributions to AFA and subordinates are fully tax-deductible for federal income tax purposes (see IRS Letter, 24 September 2009).

LEADERSHIP    Back to Top

AFA’s leadership team for 2010-2011: S. Sanford Schlitt, Chairman of the Board; Justin Faiferlick, Vice Chairman of the Board, Field Operations; George K. Muellner, Vice Chairman of the Board, Aerospace Education; Joan Sell, Secretary; and Leonard R. Vernamonti, Treasurer.

Further, AFA is divided into 3 geographic areas, comprised of 14 regions, each led by a Region President.

Central Geographic Area:

  • Great Lakes Region (Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio) - Bill Grider
  • Midwest Region (Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska) - Mike Cook
  • North Central Region (Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin) - Jim Simons
  • South Central Region (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee) - Tom Gwaltney
  • Texoma Region (Oklahoma, Texas) - Dave Dietsch

East Geographic Area:

  • Central East Region (Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia) - Jeff Platte
  • Florida Region (Florida, Puerto Rico) - Jim Connors
  • New England Region (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont) - John Hasson
  • Northeast Region (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania) - Eric Taylor
  • Southeast Region (Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina) - Dave Klinkicht

West Geographic Area:

  • Far West Region (California, Hawaii, Guam) - Richard Taubinger
  • Northwest Region (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington) - Rick Sine
  • Rocky Mountain Region (Colorado, Utah, Wyoming) - Grant Hicinbothem
  • Southwest Region (Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico) - John Toohey

AFA is also represented overseas by Special Assistant Gary L. McClain (Pacific).

Day-to-day business is carried out by a headquarters staff in Arlington, Virginia, under the leadership of AFA President Michael M. Dunn, a retired Air Force Lieutenant General.

PROGRAMS    Back to Top

In addition to state and chapter programs, AFA sponsors comprehensive briefings by key Air Force and DoD leaders at national professional development events across the country. These events are keyed to topical aerospace and defense issues. Our annual professional development events include: the Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington, DC; the Global Warfare Symposium in Los Angeles, CA; and the Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, FL.

The Association sponsors the annual Air Force Ball in Los Angeles in conjunction with our Global Warfare Symposium, and several other events, to raise money for its educational programs and Air Force charities. At its national convention, AFA hosts a dinner for the Air Force's twelve Outstanding Airmen of the Year. AFA also conducts an extensive annual awards program to honor top Air Force professionals in key career fields.

PUBLISHING    Back to Top

Each month, AFA publishes Air Force Magazine, a highly regarded aerospace journal that reaches the desks of those in the highest levels of government, industry, defense, business, academia, and the media. It is read for its authenticity, accuracy and investigative spirit in reporting aerospace and defense matters. The current monthly circulation is 138,295.

AFA publishes several widely distributed newsletters: NEWSLINE, which consolidates the administrative and operational news from AFA Headquarters to AFA field leaders; and the AE NEWS NEWSLETTER, which highlights subjects and events that are of interest to aerospace education

The Association also publishes its annual Statement of Policy and Top Issues and, periodically, issue briefs and special reports that are widely distributed on Capitol Hill, to the media, and throughout AFA's grassroots network.


The AFA website continues to set new standards in the advocacy of air and space power and is an essential tool in communicating to our members and the public. Traffic is growing at a remarkable rate, with the website currently averaging more than 8 million hits per month.

A number of important informational and educational products are provided through the website. Air Force Magazine’s Daily Report was launched in November of 2005 and provides credible, reliable, up-to-date information on the Air Force and national defense issues. The Legislative Update is maintained by AFA’s Government Relations department and offers a detailed view of the Association’s activities on Capitol Hill. The Media Room is a repository for AFA’s press releases, policy documents, special reports and transcripts.

The Association also reaches out to its membership through e-mail. AFA Update is sent to 70,000 individuals (AFA members and others) on a bi-weekly basis, providing updates on Association and Air Force activities, military quality of life, and membership benefits.

EDUCATION    Back to Top

AFA is dedicated to ensuring America's aerospace excellence through education, scholarships, grants, awards and public awareness programs. In addition, AFA sponsors a series of studies and forums on aerospace and national security through its public policy and research arm, the General Billy Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies. The Institute seeks to carry on, in the modern day, General Mitchell’s tireless and dedicated effort to expand airpower thinking and increase public awareness of the need for this unique military instrument.

AFA works through a network of thousands of individual members and volunteers to distribute educational materials to schools and concerned citizens. This is done in part through "Visions of Exploration," a joint multi-disciplinary science, math and social studies program with USA Today.

Individuals and corporations may affiliate with AFA through its Gens. Hap Arnold, Jimmy Doolittle, Ira Eaker and Bernard Schriever Fellowships, which support the Association’s educational programs. Each year, AFA helps Air Force members and their spouses achieve their educational goals by awarding scholarships and assisting educators with grants to promote aerospace projects in classrooms. AFA's Pitsenbarger Awards offer unconditional grants to top enlisted graduates of the Community College of the Air Force who intend to enroll in an accredited program toward a career-related degree.

HISTORY    Back to Top

AFA's heritage is rooted in the legacy of Billy Mitchell. Mitchell had seen the United States enter World War I as the eighth-ranked nation in airpower - exceeded by Bulgaria, Greece, and Japan as well as by the major powers. Despite the bitter lessons of the war in the air and the high priority other nations were giving to airpower, the U.S. Air Service in 1919 was reduced from 10,000 pilots to 149; 6,000 were discharged in nine days. Mitchell fought hard and long in support of the importance of airpower and the need for a strong national defense. His work was carried on by the men who believed and served with him.

One of these men was the commander of World War II Army Air Forces - General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold. In April 1945, General Arnold first mentioned the need for an independent civilian organization to argue the case for military preparedness and the importance of airpower. AFA was incorporated in the District of Columbia on February 4, 1946. The Association's first national president was General Jimmy Doolittle, a noted aviation pioneer and Medal of Honor recipient. A vice president at Shell Oil Co. at the time, Doolittle took a year off to set up AFA chapters across the country.

Since then, AFA has spanned the air age, the missile era, the conquest of space, the nuclear age and the post-Cold War period. Although Association policies have evolved to meet changing technological and human demands, AFA has been constant in working to support Air Force people and strengthen American aerospace power to help maintain national security and preserve world peace.

In 2006, AFA celebrated its 60th Anniversary and consolidated its activities with those of the Aerospace Education Foundation, formerly an affiliate. The consolidation allowed AFA to become a tax-exempt charitable education institution. The combined organization operates under the name ‘Air Force Association’ and has continued and expanded the educational programs of the former Aerospace Education Foundation.

1501 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA 22209-1198

Page last updated: Monday, October 04, 2010 2:52:45 PM



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AFA is a 501c(3) nonprofit educational foundation. Your contributions help support AFA initiatives to educate the public about the need for a strong national defense, advocate aerospace power and directly support our Air Force family are tax deductible.


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