Air Force Drops 'Space,' 'Cyber' from Mission Statement as Space Force Gains Momentum

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U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors  fly in formation over the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex.
FILE -- U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson fly in formation over the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, July 18, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/ Staff Sgt. James Richardson)

For the first time in more than a decade, the U.S. Air Force has a new mission statement.

The service on Thursday unveiled its operational goal as, "To fly, fight, and win. … Airpower anytime, anywhere."

"As we developed this new mission statement, we consulted Airmen from across the entire spectrum -- enlisted, officers, reservists, guardsmen and civilians," Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles "CQ" Brown said in a release accompanying the announcement.

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The Air Force added "cyberspace" to its mission statement in 2005, citing growing threats to the nation's network security. That year, the service changed the wording to, "Deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests -- to fly and fight in air, space and cyberspace."

Then in 2008, it updated its mission statement again to, "Fly, fight and win... in air, space and cyberspace." It wasn't immediately clear how long "space" has been a part of the Air Force mission.

But the U.S. Space Force was created in December 2019, taking over the space mission.

"The Air Force can now focus solely on Airpower and maintain a sustained focus on core air domain missions," the release states.

The Space Force does not have an official mission statement, but does have a description of its responsibilities. Its motto, "Semper Supra," translates to "always above."

An Air Force spokesperson told Military.com that "cyber" was also dropped from the mission statement because "it is a joint capability that all the services contribute to."

"The ability to fight and win with Airpower is key to facing emerging competitors and near-peer adversaries," the release states.

Leaders said the 689,000 Air Force personnel worldwide contribute to airpower through the service's five core missions: air superiority; global strike; rapid global mobility; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and command and control.

"Delivering airpower for our nation requires more than just aircraft," Brown said in the release. "It requires total force Airmen -- active-duty, Guard, Reserve, civilians -- in all Air Force specialties working together as a seamless team to operate, maintain, and enable our mission and bring the unique capabilities and effects of airpower to bear."

"As the new mission statement was formulated, it was important to us that all Airmen see where they fit in," added Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne Bass. "Every Airman, from every career field, is directly responsible for delivering, supporting, launching and driving Airpower, which is the culmination of our diverse specialties, expertise and capabilities that make up our great Air Force."

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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