Air Force Weather Agency

Air Force Weather Agency

The Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA) is a Field Operating Agency (FOA) and the lead weather center of the United States Air Force. AFWA enhances the combat capability of the United States by delivering timely, accurate, and reliable environmental situational awareness worldwide to the Air Force, the Army, joint warfighters, Unified Combatant Commands, the national intelligence community, and the Secretary of Defense. The agency is currently headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base, near Omaha, Nebraska.

AFWA is a leader in military meteorology. It fields high quality weather equipment and training to Air Force operational weather squadrons and weather flights at locations around the world. AFWA builds a comprehensive weather database of forecast, climatological, and space weather products. These products and services are exploited by the U.S. Department of Defense field commanders and decision makers for many military operations, contingency missions, and humanitarian relief efforts conducted by the United States.


The Air Force Weather Agency's mission statement is as follows:

"The mission of Air Force Weather Agency is to maximize America's Air, Space, Cyberspace, and Land Power by enabling decision makers to exploit relevant environmental information across the full spectrum of warfare. AFWA is a Field Operating Agency, reporting to United States Air Force Director of Weather, Deputy Chief of Staff Air and Space Operations (USAF/A3O-W)."

Personnel and resources

AFWA manning consists of more than 1,100 active-duty, reserve, civilian and contract personnel and is headquartered on Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. AFWA executes a $175 million annual budget.


AFWA is organized into a headquarters element, consisting of staff agencies, two groups, four directorates, a subordinate center, and five solar observatories.

The 1st Weather Group (1 WXG), with Headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., includes three operational weather squadrons responsible for providing around-the-clock analyses, forecasts, warnings, and aircrew mission briefings to Air Force, Army, Guard, and Reserve forces operating at 350 installations throughout the continental United States. Each OWS has a specified geographical area of responsibility: 15th OWS, located at Scott Air Force Base Ill, is responsible for the Northern and Northeast United States; 25th OWS, located at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., is responsible for the Western United States; and 26th OWS, located at Barksdale Air Force Base, La, is responsible for the Southern United States. These squadrons also provide initial qualification and upgrade training for new apprentice forecasters and weather officers.

The 2nd Weather Group (2 WXG) delivers timely, relevant and specialized terrestrial, space and climatological global environmental intelligence to Joint warfighters, DoD decision-makers, national agencies, and allied nations for the planning and execution of missions across the complete spectrum of military operations through the operation, sustainment and maintenance of Air Force Weather's $277M strategic center computer complex, production network, and applications. The 2nd WXG consists of Offutt Air Force Bases' 2nd Systems Operations Squadron (2nd SOS) and 2nd Weather Squadron (2nd WS), plus the 14th Weather Squadron (14th WS) in Asheville, N.C. There are four solar observatories that also fall under the 2nd WXG: Det. 1, Learmonth, Australia; Det. 2, Sagamore Hill, Mass.; Det. 4, Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.; and Det. 5, Palehua, Hawaii

Manpower and Personnel Directorate (A1) provides the full spectrum of manpower, organization, personnel and training support for AFWA.

The Air and Space Operations, Plans and Requirements Directorate (A3/5) assists Air Staff in managing AFW career field training requirements process, and obtains and implements training to meet those requirements. The directorate helps exploit weather information for warfighting operations and coordinates AFW policy issues and oversees and executes the AFW Standardization and Evaluation Program for Weather Operations (SEPWO). A3/5 also develops and maintains concepts of operations (CONOPS) for how AFW supports the most weather sensitive joint capabilities areas, works with Air Staff to integrate AFW CONOPS with AF plans and programs, and is lead command agent for gathering operational requirements, in conjunction with MAJCOM functional counterparts and users of AFW products, data, and services.

The Communications Directorate (A6) provides policy and planning oversight of command, control, and communications for the Air Force Weather Agency, supporting contingency actions, daily operations and general C4 support.

The Strategic Plans and Programs Directorate (A8) directs the planning, programming, budgeting, development, acquisition, engineering, configuration management, modification, installation, integration, logistics, and life cycle support of all standard weather systems and computer processing equipment.

Subordinate unit

Air Force Combat Weather Center (AFCWC), located at Hurlburt Field, Florida, develops, evaluates, exploits, and implements new tactics, techniques, procedures, and technologies across Air Force Weather to enhance the effectiveness of Air Force, Army, Special Forces, joint, and combined operations.

The agency co-sponsors COMET, the [ Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training] , with the civilian National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The new Air Force Weather Agency Building, valued at $29.7 million, with a total of convert|188000|sqft|m2|-2|abbr=on. The three-story building, designed to support 1,100 people, and is scheduled to become fully operational by 2011 as the AFWA staff relocates in increments. The new facility is a gold certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design structure by the U.S. Green Building Council. The LEED rating is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. Being a LEED-certified building means the facility has been designed to and reached a recognized level of implementation and continuous monitoring of their "green" programs such as energy efficiency, recycling and the use of environmentally friendly products. The new AFWA building is an example of the emphasis the Air Force is placing on responsible use of and preservation of the environment. By becoming LEED certified, the AFWA facility will do its part to accomplish the vision of the Air Force Environmental Strategic Plan - fully supporting Air Force missions with natural infrastructure assets while protecting human health and safety and the environment. Initiatives and concepts incorporated into the AFWA headquarters building are part of the reason the Air Force was recently named number one among the nation's top 10 federal government green power partners.

Designations, stations and assignments


Weather Wing
14 April 1943

Army Air Forces Weather Service
1 July 1945

Air Weather Service
13 March 1946

Air Force Weather Agency
15 October 1997

Washington, D.C.
14 April 1943

Asheville, North Carolina
3 May 1943

Langley Field, Virginia
7 January 1946
Gravelly Point, Virginia
14 June 1946

Andrews AFB, Maryland
1 December 1948

Scott AFB, Illinois
23 June 1958

Offutt AFB, Nebraska
15 October 1997

Flight Control Command
14 April 1943
Hq, Army Air Forces
6 July 1943

Air Transport Command
13 March 1946

Military Air Transport Service(later Military Airlift Command)
1 June 1948
Hq, United States Air Force
1 April 1991


AFWA traces its heritage to the organization of the Meteorological Service of the United States Army Signal Corps during World War I. On July 1, 1937, the Secretary of War transferred responsibility for weather services to the Army Air Corps. U.S. Army surgeons began recording weather observations regularly in the early 1800s as part of the Army's medical studies. In 1870, the United States Congress directed the United States Secretary of War to establish a weather service for the nation. Thus, the Army's first organized military weather service was established in the U.S. Army Signal Corps; however, this service waned after Congress authorized the creation of the U.S. Weather Bureau, today's National Weather Service, in 1890.

America's entry into World War I highlighted once again the need for an organized military weather service. Today's Air Force Weather directly traces its history to the re-emergence of a meteorological section within the U.S. Army Signal Corps in 1917. By the mid-1930s, the Army Air Corps was consuming the majority of the weather data the Signal Corps produced. On July 1, 1937, the Army Air Corps Weather Service, under the leadership of the Chief of the Weather Section in the Office of the Chief of the Army Air Corps, assumed responsibility for all Army weather services from the Signal Corps.

During World War II, the Army Air Forces Weather Service girdled the globe with weather stations. The thousands of newly trained weather personnel fine honed the art and science of military weather services. They armed World War II commanders with vital decision-making tools. Many of the war's critical operations were predicated upon weather forecasting.

The official lineage of AFWA began April 14, 1943, when the Army Air Forces organized and activated the Weather Wing. On May 3, 1943, the headquarters of the Weather Wing relocated from Washington, D.C., to Asheville, North Carolina, where it quickly established itself. On July 1, 1945, the Army Air orces redesignated the Weather Wing the Army Air Forces Weather Service and on January 7th, 1946, the service moved to Langley Field, Virginia. On March 13, 1946, it was redesignated the Air Weather Service and assigned to the Air Transport Command, followed soon thereafter with a move to Gravelly Point, Virginia.

With the formation of the United States Air Force in 1947, Air Weather Service assumed the responsibility of worldwide weather reporting and forecasting for both the Air Force and the Army. In 1948, Air Weather Service moved to Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, and was assigned to the newly activated Military Air Transport Service, which was later redesignated Military Airlift Command. Air Weather Service relocated to Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, in 1958, where it remained for nearly four decades.

Air Force Weather, organized as the Air Weather Service from 1947 to 1991, continued to provide environmental awareness for both the Air Force and the Army. By 1991, Air Weather Service had divested itself of its major field structure and the bulk of Air Force Weather was realigned under the direct administration of the supported commands.

Air Force Weather has been essentially instrumental in the protection of life and property at home as well. Since World War II, Air Force Weather personnel have provided hurricane reconnaissance. In 1948 two Air Force weather officers issued the first tornado warning. Air Force Weather participated in the development of the nation's severe storm forecasting centers.

With its early adoption of emerging computing and communications technologies, Air Force Weather was at the fore of the Space Age. In the 1960s Air Force Weather began assimilating weather data collected from meteorological satellites. At the same time, Air Force Weather, as the single agent for all of the United States Department of Defense, began solar observations and forecasting.

Air Force Weather endorsed the Information Revolution early in the 1980s with tools that provided state-of-the art computing at the lowest echelons to gather, process, and disseminate weather data. In concert with Air Force communicators, Air Force Weather constructed communications networks that enabled weather information to be disseminated around the world in moments. Today, Air Force Weather employs the Internet to rapidly disseminate weather data around the globe.

Working with the other national agencies, Air Force Weather has been instrumental in the development of modern meteorological technologies, such as the deployment of NEXRAD, the Next Generation Radar, in the 1990s. Air Force Weather continues to refine and develop forecasting models relevant for modern military operations.

In April 1991, the Office of the Director of Weather was created on the Air Staff to provide policy and guidance for Air Force Weather. During the later half of the 1990s and continuing into the 21st century, Air Force Weather has re-engineered itself to better meet the demands of modern military operations.

The Air Force designated Air Weather Service a field operating agency and re-assigned it to Headquarters United States Air Force in 1991. On Oct. 15, 1997, Air Weather Service was redesignated the Air Force Weather Agency and relocated to Offutt AFB, Nebraska.

Awards and honors

* 2000 Air Force Association Theodore Van Karman Award
* Air Force Organizational Excellence Award
** May 1, 1984 - Apr. 30, 1986; May 1, 1986 - Apr. 30, 1988; Sep. 1, 1993 - Sep. 30, 1995; Oct. 1, 1995 - Sep. 30, 1996; Sep. 1, 1996 - Sep. 30, 1998; Oct.1, 1998 - Sep. 30, 1999; Oct. 1, 1999 - Sep. 30, 2001; Oct. 1, 2001 - Sep. 30, 2003
* World War II American Theater Service Streamer

See also

1st Weather Group

9th Operational Weather Squadron

15th Operational Weather Squadron

25th Operational Weather Squadron

26th Operational Weather Squadron

External links

* [ Official website]
* [ Official factsheet]
* [ AFWA History]
* [ more AFWA History]
* [ AFWA new building article]
* [ Aviation Weather Center]
* [ Storm Prediction Center]
* [ Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center]
* [ Space Environment Center]
* [ National Center for Environmental Prediction] .
* [ The COMET program]

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