air combat

Air Combat Command, with headquarters at Langley Air Force Base, VA, is a major command activated June 1, 1992.


ACC provides the "global power" arm of the "global reach-global power" Air Force vision and focuses on deterrence and air campaign operations. ACC's force structure consists of fighters; bombers; command, control, communications and intelligence aircraft; reconnaissance aircraft; combat delivery aircraft; electronic warfare aircraft; and air rescue aircraft.

As a force provider, ACC organizes, trains, equips and maintains combat-ready forces for rapid deployment and employment while ensuring strategic air defense forces are ready to meet the challenges of peacetime air sovereignty and wartime air defense. ACC provides nuclear-capable forces for U.S. Strategic Command and theater air forces for the five geographic unified commands (U.S. Atlantic Command, U.S. European Command, U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. Central Command and U.S. Southern Command). ACC also provides air defense forces to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). In addition, ACC operates certain air mobility forces in support of U.S. Transportation Command. ACC prepares combat air forces to globally implement national policy.

Personnel and Resources

More than 121,000 active-duty members and civilians make up ACC's work force (approximately 108,000 active-duty members and more than 13,000 civilians). When mobilized, more than 97,000 members of the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, along with about 1,400 aircraft, are assigned to ACC. In total, ACC and ACC-gained units consist of more than 2,400 aircraft.


ACC's forces are organized under four numbered air forces and two major direct reporting units. The ACC commander is also component commander of U.S. Air Forces Atlantic Command and U.S. Strategic Command. He also acts as executive agent for the Air Force chief of staff on search and rescue matters in the 48 contiguous states.

Numbered Air Forces

First Air Force, with headquarters at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., performs a daily operational mission as the continental U.S. NORAD Region. The First Air Force commander, as the region commander, reports directly to the commander in chief, NORAD. First Air Force includes three air defense sectors responsible for the air defense of their respective sectors of the continental U. S. using Air National Guard aircraft on around-the-clock alert. First Air Force plays a key role in the nation's war on drugs by working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Customs Service to monitor and intercept illegal drug traffic.

Eighth Air Force, with headquarters at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., is responsible for ACC forces in the central United States, and functions as the air planner under the commander in chief, U.S. Atlantic Command (USACOM) for the Atlantic area of responsibility, and commander, Task Force Bomber for U.S. Strategic Command.

Air Forces Iceland at Naval Air Station Keflavik is the Air Force component of the Iceland Defense Force, a subordinate command under the commander in chief of USACOM. Air Forces Iceland provides a combat force for the air defense of Iceland and air surveillance data in support of the NORAD mission.

Ninth Air Force, with headquarters at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., is responsible for fighter, bomber, tanker, airlift and air control operations and training in the Eastern United States.

Ninth Air Force also is U.S. Central Command Air Forces, the Air Force component of U.S. Central Command. Operation Desert Shield deployed the USCENTAF staff to the Southwest Asia theater, operationally controlling joint and coalition air forces. To prepare for this type mission, USCENTAF active and reserve forces train regularly with Army, Navy and Marine Corps units.

Twelfth Air Force, with headquarters at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., operates combat-ready forces and equipment in the Western and Midwestern United States and Panama. In addition, 12th Air Force is the Air Force component of the U.S. Southern Command. The command's units perform fighter and bomber operations, training, reconnaissance, air control and a wide range of electronic combat tasks.

Direct Reporting Units

U.S. Air Force Air Warfare Center, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., serves as the focal point for combat air forces in electronic combat, chemical defense, reconnaissance and aircrew training devices. The center is also responsible for operational testing and evaluation of new equipment and systems proposed for use by these forces.

U.S. Air Force Weapons and Tactics Center, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., conducts multiple activities to ensure Air Force combat air forces worldwide maintain the skilled instructors, knowledge of the enemy, technical expertise, effective equipment and sound tactics to fly, fight and win.

Point Of Contact

Air Combat Command
Public Affairs Office, 115 Thompson St., Suite 211; Langley AFB, Virginia 23667
DSN 574-5014 or (804) 764-5014; e-mail:

January, 1997




VISIT > * * * * *


Air Combat Command / Back to Organizations Index