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Air Force Safety Center
Air Force Safety Center.png
Air Force Safety Center Shield
Active 1 August 1991 - Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Garrison/HQ Kirtland Air Force Base
Major General Margaret H. Woodward

The Air Force Safety Center is a Field Operating Agency with headquarters at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.


Prevent Mishaps - Preserve Combat Capability. The Air Force Safety Center develops, implements, executes and evaluates Air Force aviation, ground, weapons, space and system mishap prevention and nuclear surety programs and policy. The center oversees mishap investigations, evaluates corrective actions, ensures implementation and maintains the mishap database Air Force-wide. It also conducts research to promote safety awareness/mishap prevention and develops and directs safety and risk management education and media programs for all safety disciplines. It also develops and directs safety and operational risk management education.[1]


There are approximately 150 people assigned to the Air Force Safety Center, split with 60 percent civilians and 40 percent military.


The Air Force Chief of Safety, who also holds the title of commander, Air Force Safety Center, heads the organization and is located at the Pentagon with an Air Staff liaison division. The Air Force Safety Center is composed of the Deputy Chief of Safety/Executive Director and 10 divisions at its Kirtland AFB location.

The Analysis and Integration Division is responsible for a complex, but user-friendly, Air Force Safety Automated System (AFSAS). This web-based program provides mishap reporting capability for all safety disciplines throughout the Air Force. This system provides a reporting, analysis and trending capability and maintains a comprehensive Air Force safety database. This database enables the safety center to rapidly respond to both internal and external customer requirements for mishap safety data. It is also responsible for the Safety Analysis Team process, which provides specific targeted safety studies and recommends courses of action to Air Force senior leadership. Other functional areas within the division are operations research analysis; Air Force Operational Risk Management Program; Air Force Safety Awards Program, including secretary of the Air Force and chief of staff of the Air Force-level awards; Senior Safety Advisory Council coordination and administration of the Air Force Safety Strategic Plan.

The Aviation Safety Division consists of safety-trained professionals spanning the domain of flight. The division preserves warfighting capability by establishing Air Force aviation safety policy, promoting mishap prevention programs for all aviation assets and through the establishment of proactive safety programs. It oversees the aviation mishap investigative process, the collection and accuracy of flight safety data and the disposition of risk-mitigating actions. It provides proactive and reactive engineering and operational analyses of flight safety issues. Additionally, the division directs the Aircraft Information Program, the Hazardous Air Traffic Report Program, the Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard Program and the Mishap Analysis and Animation Facility.

The Ground Safety Division manages the Air Force on- and off-duty ground safety program, including operational, occupational, sports and recreation and traffic safety. It oversees integration of Air Force safety inspections and policy in conjunction with the Air Force inspector general, as well as integration of risk management processes in on- and off-duty activities. The division manages Air Force safety standards and interprets Department of Labor and industry standards for implementation throughout the Air Force. The division conducts evaluations of service-wide ground safety mishap investigations and provides advice to investigators in the field through their parent major commands. The division is responsible for the development and content of formal ground safety-related training courses for supervisors and safety professionals. It develops and oversees ground safety policy, programs and procedures to provide a safe work environment and enhance the safety of Air Force personnel while off duty to help maintain combat capability and readiness.

The Human Factors Division, organized in 2008, comprises experts from fields including operations, medicine, physiology, psychology and behavioral science, all focused on the human element in mishap prevention. The division supports aviation, ground, weapons and space safety divisions in investigating, assessing and analyzing the single most prevalent factor in all mishaps: the human factor. It analyzes data sources to identify root human factor hazards and provides research-based policy recommendations on mitigation strategies. It is responsible for the quality control of Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS) coding in all Class A mishaps. The division also develops and administers a suite of safety culture and organizational performance surveys and provides on-site Organization Safety Assessments (OSA) which provide feedback to commanders on the safety culture of their units. The division also supplies consultation and oversight on aircrew flight equipment safety and human factors.

The Space Safety Division is responsible for the assured safe access to space through the oversight of launch, range, orbital and end-of-life safety programs. As the Department of Defense lead for space safety, the division is responsible for overseeing the safe development, operation and maintenance of Air Force space assets to include ground-based systems. This includes coordination of space safety principles and policies among national and international space-faring entities. The division is also the DOD representative to the Inter-Agency Nuclear Safety Review Panel, advising the president on all space launches that carry nuclear material. The Weapons Safety Division establishes and defines Air Force nuclear surety and safety policy for the development and operational use of all nuclear, conventional and directed energy (DE) weapons systems. The division oversees the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Surety Program, delegated from the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff of the Air Force. The division provides nuclear, conventional and DE weapons systems safety design certification, Hazard of Electromagnetic Radiation to Ordnance certification, Air Force explosives safety standards, explosive siting reviews, weapons safety consultation and Federal Department of Agriculture waivers for DE systems. The division also performs radiation safety oversight, explosives hazard classifications, mishap prevention programs, mishap investigation, and staff assistance in its areas of responsibility. The division leadership chairs several multi-agency boards performing safety oversight for all nuclear, conventional and DE (laser and radio-frequency) weapons. The Training and Force Development Division serves as the foundation of excellence in ensuring the continuous professional development of all personnel assigned to safety staffs and/or supporting safety Air Force-wide. The program develops, teaches and manages the requisite safety education and training to enhance safety knowledge, skills and abilities that enhance aerospace power by eliminating mishaps through proactive hazard identification and risk management. The education and training encompasses all safety disciplines: aviation, ground, weapons, space and missiles; ensuring mission-ready capabilities are preserved for the U.S. Air Force, and is delivered to approximately 2,400 students through nine professional courses in 60 sessions, ranging from three days to seven weeks. The program ensures current and future mishap prevention requirements and opportunities are addressed by providing interactive education and training through on-site classroom course offerings, web-based course offerings and distance learning courses. The division chief serves as the safety civilian career field manager, establishing policy and serving as the day-to-day advocate for issues and concerns, and as the functional manager for the Air Force safety manpower standard and variances. The Personnel and Resource Division is responsible for complex administrative services for the center including manpower, civilian personnel, military personnel, facilities management, acquisition/program management and budget/finance. It provides support to all of the center's divisions, as well as the Safety Executive Issues Division and the office of the Air Force Chief of Safety, located at the Pentagon. The division manages all acquisitions and life cycle contracts for the center. The Office of the Staff Judge Advocate provides legal advice and general counsel on all aspects of Air Force mishap prevention programs and safety investigations. The office ensures proper controls are maintained on safety reports and privileged information. It also provides effective coordination on legal and safety issues with the DOD, other federal agencies and international safety programs. The office maintains the Air Force Safety Center Records Library, ensuring efficient and timely retrieval of safety investigation reports for review and analysis. In addition, it responds to requests for safety information under the Freedom of Information Act, Congressional requests and other functional requests.

The Public Affairs Division conducts a comprehensive, active public affairs program to provide service members, the public and news media timely, accurate and authoritative information contributing to awareness and understanding of the Air Force Safety Center mission. The Division manages the center's official website and social media sites, generates and edits articles and photos for Air Force-wide distribution via the Internet, produces video and audio public service announcements and facilitates the Air Force Chief of Safety Airman-to-Airman Safety Advisory Program. The Division also coordinates and responds to media queries and manages the security and policy review program to ensure material submitted for print complies with appropriate Department of Defense and Air Force policies.


After the Air Force became a separate department, the Air Force Chief of Staff designated the Office of the Inspector General to oversee all inspection and safety functions. These functions were consolidated in an inspector general group at Norton AFB, Calif., in the 1950s. On Dec. 31, 1971, the Air Force Inspection and Safety Center was activated, replacing the 1002nd Inspector General Group. The center was then divided into the Air Force Inspection Agency and the Air Force Safety Agency in August 1991. Reorganization of the air staff in 1992 created the Air Force Chief of Safety position, reporting directly to the Air Force Chief of Staff. The Chief of Safety became dual-hatted as the commander of the Air Force Safety Agency. In July 1993, the agency moved to Kirtland AFB due to the closure of Norton AFB.

Following The Blue Ribbon Panel on Aviation Safety in 1995, the Air Force Safety Center was activated on Jan. 1, 1996, when the Air Force Chief of Safety and support staff moved from Washington, D.C., to consolidate all safety functions at Kirtland AFB. The Chief of Safety position was changed from a brigadier general to a major general. The Deputy Chief of Safety/Executive Director position was created in October 2003 to oversee the daily functions of the center. The Chief of Safety and support staff moved back to the Pentagon in April 2004. [2]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Airforce Safety Center, Kirtland AFB, N.M." (pdf). Airman Magazine: The Book 2011. p. 19. http://www.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-110914-024.pdf. Retrieved August 6, 2012. 
  2. "Factsheets: Air Force Safety Center". Air Force Historical Research Agency. March 12, 2009. http://www.afhra.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=14041. Retrieved August 6, 2012. 

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