Major Commands of the United States Air Force

This is a list of major commands (MAJCOM) of the United States Air Force.

A major command is a significant Air Force organization subordinate to Headquarters, US Air Force. Major commands have a headquarters staff and subordinate organizations, typically formed in numbered air forces, centers, wings, and groups.

Historically, a MAJCOM is the highest level of command, only below Headquarters Air Force (HAF), and directly above numbered air forces (NAFs).

The USAF is organized on a functional basis in the United States and a geographical basis overseas. A major command (MAJCOM) represents a major Air Force subdivision having a specific portion of the Air Force mission. Each MAJCOM is directly subordinate to Headquarters, Air Force. MAJCOMs are interrelated and complementary, providing offensive, defensive, and support elements. An operational command consists (in whole or in part) of strategic, tactical, or defense forces; or of flying forces that directly support such forces. A support command may provide supplies, weapon systems, support systems, operational support equipment, combat material, maintenance, surface transportation, education and training, or special services and other supported organizations.

From 1948 to 1991 MAJCOMs had the authority to form wings using manpower authorizations under their control. Each MAJCOM or other organization reporting directly to USAF was assigned a block of four digit numbers to use for units it organized. The system terminated in 1991 when USAF assumed control of all units except for provisional ones. While the majority of MAJCOM wings were support units, combat commands could (and did) create combat units on their own as shown at List of MAJCOM wings of the United States Air Force.

The USAF’s last major reorganization of commands was in 1992. In July 2006, the Air Force Network Operations (AFNETOPS) command was stood up at Barksdale Air Force Base. At the time, it was anticipated that it would be transformed into a new MAJCOM: the Air Force Cyber Command. However, this did not occur, and AFNETOPS was integrated into Air Force Space Command.

On 20 December 2019, the United States Space Force became an independent military service and Air Force Space Command was transferred and redesignated as Space Operations Command.

Since its inception in 1947, a total of 27 organizations have been designated as major commands. Over time, the role of MAJCOMs have changed: some were replaced with NAFs, while some NAFs were replaced with MAJCOMs.

Currently, the USAF is organized into nine MAJCOMS (seven functional and two geographic), with the Air National Guard component reporting to Headquarters, United States Air Force (HAF). The most recent major command, Air Force Global Strike Command, was activated in August 2009. The other MAJCOMs have either inactivated or lost their command status.

Air Force Organization

The United States Department of the Air Force is a large organization with over 317,000 active duty Airmen. The tiered command organizational structure of the service helps manage the Airmen and their efforts to organize, train, equip, and execute military capability while effectively taking care of the individuals and their families.

Office of the Secretary of the Air Force seal
Office of the Secretary of the Air Force seal

The Department of the Air Force is led by a civilian, the Secretary of the Air Force (SECAF).  The SECAF has her own staff members, located at the Pentagon in Washington D.C.  There is also a Headquarters Air Force (HAF), based out of the Pentagon.  The HAF is led by the highest-ranking military officer in the Department of the Air Force, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force (CSAF).  The SECAF and CSAF lead the Air Force in working on service-wide issues.

220px Headquarters US Air Force Badge
Headquarters US Air Force Badge

The next tiered organization is the Major Command (MAJCOM).  There are eleven MAJCOMs, specializing in management of forces to assure they are organized, trained, and equipped.  These organizations are based on functionality and geography.  The MAJCOM commander is typically a 4- or 3-star General.




The functionally based Major Commands are:      

AirForceOrgPyramid v2 4 300x203 1
Figure 1: Air Force Organizational Structure. Each line of the organizational hierarchy is labeled with its unit designator and the number of units, where applicable.
  1. Air Combat Command
  2. Air Education and Training Command
  3. Air Force Global Strike Command
  4. Air Force Material Command
  5. Air Force Reserve Command
  6. Air Force Space Command
  7. Air Force Special Operations Command
  8. Air Force Mobility Command

The geographically based Major Commands are:  

  1. Pacific Air Forces
  2. United States Air Forces Central Command
  3. United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa

Subordinate to the MAJCOMs are the Numbered Air Forces (NAF).  There are twenty-five NAFs, which are referred to as tactical echelons, providing operational leadership and supervision for the assigned operational units under them.  “A numbered Air Force is usually assigned for geographical purposes, and primarily used only during wartime.  In peacetime, they generally only consist of a limited number of headquarters staff whose job it is to prepare and maintain wartime plans.”1 The NAF commander is typically a 3- or 2-star General.

Within the NAFs are wings, groups, and squadrons.  Just like the MAJCOMs and NAFs, the wings are spread throughout the world.  Wings are led by either Brigadier Generals or Colonels.  Most wings have approximately four groups within them, consisting of an Operational Group, Maintenance Group, Mission Support Group, and Medical Group.  Groups are typically led by Colonels.

The organizations under the groups are the squadrons, which are known as the pulse in the Air Force.  The Air Force has around 3,300 squadrons.  Squadrons are primarily led by Lieutenant Colonels, but you can find some squadrons led by Majors and Captains.  While the support squadrons, groups, and wings rarely deploy together, the operational flying squadrons are more likely to deploy intact.  Squadrons come in all sizes ranging from 7 personnel to over 600 personnel.  The squadrons are usually fairly specialized in a tactical or functional mission.  The traditional squadrons most are familiar with include fighter squadrons, bomber squadrons, mobility squadrons, tanker squadrons, missile squadrons, intelligence, surveillance reconnaissance squadrons, command and control squadrons, and training squadrons.  These specialized squadrons, along with an operational support squadron, usually make up the operational group on any specific base.  Other squadrons include medical squadrons, aircraft maintenance squadrons, civil engineering squadrons, mission support squadrons, and security forces squadrons.

As displayed in Figure 1, the structure is very hierarchically designed.  That being said, General David Goldfein, CSAF, has set ‘revitalizing the squadrons’ as his first priority.  When visiting one of the wings in the Air Force, he stated that squadrons are “where Airmen and families thrive; it’s where innovation occurs.”2 The organizations above the squadrons are helping to assure the squadrons are ready to be deployed when the Nation calls on them.


Shield Major Command Headquarters Current Commander Mission
ACC Shield.svg Air Combat Command (ACC) Langley AFB, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, U.S. Gen Mark D. Kelly To support the global implementation of national security strategy, ACC operates fighter, reconnaissance, battle-management, and electronic-combat aircraft
Air Education and Training Command.png Air Education and Training Command (AETC) Randolph AFB, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, U.S. Lt Gen Brian S. Robinson Recruits, trains, and educates airmen
Air Force Global Strike Command.svg Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, U.S. Gen Anthony J. Cotton Develop and provide combat-ready forces for nuclear deterrence and global strike operations
Air Force Materiel Command.png Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, U.S. Gen Duke Z. Richardson Conducts research, development, testing and evaluation, and provides the acquisition management services and logistics support necessary to keep Air Force weapon systems ready for war
AFR Shield.svg Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) Robins AFB, Georgia, U.S. Lt Gen John P. Healy Provides operational capability, strategic depth, and surge capacity as an integrated total force partner in every Air Force core mission
Shield of the United States Air Force Special Operations Command.svg Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) Hurlburt Field, Florida, U.S. Lt Gen James C. Slife Provide Air Force component units for United States Special Operations Command
Air Mobility Command.svg Air Mobility Command (AMC) Scott AFB, Illinois, U.S. Gen Michael A. Minihan Provide global air mobility through airlift and aerial refueling for all of the United States Armed Forces. Air Force component of United States Transportation Command
Pacific Air Forces.png Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) Hickam AFB, Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii, U.S. Gen Kenneth S. Wilsbach Provide Air Force component units for United States Indo-Pacific Command
United States Air Forces in Europe.svgUS Air Forces Africa (emblem).png United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) Ramstein Air Base, Germany Gen James B. Hecker Provide Air Force component units for United States European Command and United States Africa Command


Shield MAJCOM Dates Active
Alaskan Air Command.png Alaskan Air Command 1945–1990
USAF - Aerospace Defense Command.png
Aerospace Defense Command 1946–1950; 1951–1980
Air Force Cyber Command (Provisional).png Air Force Cyber Command (Provisional) 2007–2008
Air Force Communications Command.svg Air Force Communications Command 1961–1991[4]
USAF - Intelligence Command.png Air Force Intelligence Command 1948–1993
USAF - Logistics Command.png Air Force Logistics Command 1944–1992
Air Force Space Command.png Air Force Space Command 1982–2019
USAF - Systems Command.png Air Force Systems Command 1950–1992
Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center.png Air Proving Ground Command 1946–1957 as major command
Air Training Command Emblem.png Air Training Command 1946–1993
Air University.png Air University 1920–1993
Bolling Field Command 1946-1958
United States Air Forces Southern Command - Emblem.png Caribbean Air Command 1940–1976
Continental Air Command.png Continental Air Command 1948–1968
USAF - Electronic Security Command.png Electronic Security Command 1948–1993
Headquarters Command.png Headquarters Command, USAF 1946–1976
USAF - Military Airlift Command.png Military Airlift Command 1966–1992
Northeast Air Command - Emblem.png Northeast Air Command 1950–1957
Seventh Air Force - Emblem.png Pacific Air Command 1946–1949
Special Weapons Command - Emblem.png Special Weapons Command 1949–1952
SAC Shield.svg Strategic Air Command 1946–1992
Tactical Air Command Emblem.png Tactical Air Command 1946–1992
United States Air Forces Southern Command - Emblem.png United States Air Forces Southern Command 1940–1976


  • Donald, David, (Ed.) (1992). US Air Force Air Power Directory. Westport, CT: AIRtime Publishing Inc.
  • ^ Air Force Instruction 38-101, AIR FORCE ORGANIZATION, 4 APRIL 2006 (with Change 2, dated 20 July 2006), paragraph 2.2.2., page 10.
  • ^ Lopez, Staff Sgt. C. Todd (2006-11-03). “8th Air Force to become new cyber command”. Air Force Print News. United States Air Force. Retrieved 2006-11-24.
  • ^ Pampe, Capt. Carla (2006-07-10). “Air Force officials consolidate network ops”. Eighth Air Force Public Affairs. United States Air Force. Retrieved 2006-07-10.
  • ^ “Air Force Communications Command”. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  • Air Force Organization 101

Related posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *