Welcome to the official World Wide Web site of the 1st Air Force. This site is provided as a public service through the cooperative efforts of the 1st Air Force/AFNORTH Public Affairs and Air Combat Command Public Affairs.
1st Air Force Mission
With its headquarters at Tyndall Air Force Base, near Panama City, Florida, the 1st Air Force is one of four numbered air forces assigned to Air Combat Command. It has the responsibility of ensuring the air sovereignty and air defense of the continental United States (CONUS). As the CONUS geographical component of the binational North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), it provides airspace surveillance and control and directs all air sovereignty activities for the continental United States.
601st Air and Space Operations Center Mission
The 601st Air and Space Operations Center provides strategic air defense/sovereignty, tactical warning/assessment to Commander NORAD and Combined Air Operations Center in support of homeland defense and security of the southeastern United States. The AOC also integrates ground, maritime, and airborne sensors/communications and employs fighter and air refueling aircraft. The organization also interfaces with other services/agencies including USSOUTHCOM, FAA, USCG, and U.S. Customs Service.
Eastern Air Defense Sector Mission
To provide total force air defense and threat warning to North America through readiness, detection and identification, and if necessary, force application.
Western Air Defense Sector Mission
The Western Air Defense Sector, with headquarters at McChord Air Force Base, Washington State, is the largest of three sectors responsible to the Continental North American Area Defense Region and the North American Aerospace Defense Command for peacetime air sovereignty, strategic air defense, and airborne counterdrug operations in the continental United States. WADS is a Washington Air National Guard unit which operationally reports directly to First Air Force at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.
Air Combat Command
Air Combat Command (ACC), with headquarters at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia., is a major command created June 1, 1992, by combining its predecessors Strategic Air Command and Tactical Air Command. ACC is the primary provider of air combat forces to America's warfighting commanders.
To support global implementation of national security strategy, ACC operates fighter, bomber, reconnaissance, battle-management and electronic-combat aircraft. It also provides command, control, communications and intelligence systems, and conducts global information operations.
ACC's forces are organized under four numbered air forces -- including the 1st Air Force -- one Air Force Reserve numbered air force (10th Air Force) and four primary subordinate units.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is a binational United States and Canadian organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America. Aerospace warning includes the monitoring of manmade objects in space, and the detection, validation and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles or space vehicles, utilizing mutual support arrangements with other commands. Aerospace control includes ensuring air sovereignty and air defense of the airspace of Canada and the United States.
To accomplish these critically important missions, NORAD continually adjusts its structure to meet the demands of a changing world. The commander is appointed by, and is responsible to, both the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Canada.
Through outstanding bi-national cooperation, NORAD has proven itself effective in its roles of watching, warning, and responding. NORAD continues to play an important role in the defense of Canada and the U.S by evolving to meet the changing threat. The events of September 11, 2001 demonstrated NORAD's continued relevance to North American security. Today, NORAD provides civil authorities with a potent military response capability to counter domestic airspace threats.
While the national leadership of Canada and the U.S. continue to refine our response to the terrorist threat, NORAD's proven abilities and unique capabilities will remain a vital part of homeland defense.
U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) was established Oct. 1, 2002 to provide command and control of Department of Defense (DoD) homeland defense efforts and to coordinate military assistance to civil authorities. USNORTHCOM defends America's homeland -- protecting our people, national power and freedom of action.
USNORTHCOM's specific mission:
USNORTHCOM anticipates and conducts Homeland Defense and Civil Support operations within the assigned area of responsibility to defend, protect, and secure the United States and its interests.
USNORTHCOM's AOR includes air, land and sea approaches and encompasses the continental United States, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and the surrounding water out to approximately 500 nautical miles. It also includes the Gulf of Mexico and the Straits of Florida. The defense of Hawaii and our territories and possessions in the Pacific is the responsibility of U.S. Pacific Command. The defense of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands is the responsibility of U.S. Southern Command. The commander of USNORTHCOM is responsible for theater security cooperation with Canada and Mexico.
USNORTHCOM consolidates under a single unified command existing missions that were previously executed by other DOD organizations. This provides unity of command, which is critical to mission accomplishment.
USNORTHCOM plans, organizes and executes homeland defense and civil support missions, but has few permanently assigned forces. The command is assigned forces whenever necessary to execute missions, as ordered by the president or secretary of defense.