Air Force Flight Standards Agency

The Air Force Flight Standards Agency is a field operating agency responsible to Air Force A3 and headquartered at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.

Provide strategic support to enable global combat power for the joint warfighter. As the lead agency for Airfield Operations, AFFSA focuses on the systems, software, and strategic support given to operational commanders. Subject matter experts at AFFSA maintain service level flying and AO publications, training regulations, and equipment. The Regional Maintenance Center is housed at AFFSA, which provides 24/7 Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems support. Terminal Instrument Procedures, Advanced Instrument School, Airfield Automation System, and RMC technician formal training is conducted by members of the AFFSA team. The goal of the agency is to advance the warfighter’s need to be lighter and leaner, enabling a fast and agile footprint to respond to contingency operations and the U.S. Air Force competition strategy.

The AFFSA workforce is made up of 216 Total Force personnel, including civilian and contractor support, from 26 Air Force specialty codes spread across three continents. The vast majority of AFFSA personnel are stationed at the Oklahoma City headquarters, while the satellite locations in Germany, Japan, Belgium and Washington, D.C., employ the remaining team members.

AFFSA is composed of a commander, deputy commander, executive director, and seven directorates at its Tinker AFB location.

Flight Operations and Policy Standards
The Flight Operations and Policy Standards Directorate (XO) provides U.S. Air Force / Department of Defense-level subject matter expertise on flight operations policy and standardization, and TERPS. The directorate is made up of Flight Directives (XOF), Safety of Navigation (XOS), Navigation Systems (XON), and the Advanced Instrument School (XOT). Flight Directives serves as the DoD lead agency for military flight data policy and procedures, Air Force Instructions, Air Force Manuals, flight directives, and approves exemptions and waivers to policy. Navigation Systems organizes and leads Cockpit Working Groups and serves as a storehouse for aircraft operational approvals. Safety of Navigation ensures aeronautical database accuracy and compliance with international specifications to ensure obstacle and terrain clearance. Furthermore, XOS manages U.S. Air Force Flight Information Publications and facilitates the employment of Electronic Flight Bag capabilities. XOT administers the Advanced Instrument School, which provides graduate-level training in civil and international instrument flight procedures to joint and international aviators. Moreover, XOT assists with the integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems into worldwide airspace structures with other cooperating participants. Finally, XOT recognizes outstanding contributions to the art or science of aerospace instrument flight by presenting the Col. Joseph B. Duckworth Instrument Award to a unit, team, or individual making the greatest contribution in the previous calendar year.

Airfield Operations
The AO Directorate functions as the subject matter experts for U.S. Air Force AO, airfield management, air traffic control and radar, airfield, and weather systems. The AO directorate oversees standards for 160 AO facilities and airfields, over 9,000 worldwide AO personnel, and 7.3 million annual aircraft operations. Staffed by 13Ms, 1C1s, 1C7s, 1C8s, and civilian equivalents, XA is the most visible directorate to unit-level AO personnel because they provide expertise and technical advice to the major command and unit levels as well as national and international agencies. The AO Directorate establishes U.S. Air Force policy, training, and procedural guidance through the publication of Air Force instructions, Air Force manuals, forms, and visual aids, and additionally reviews and approves MAJCOM supplemental AO guidance. Likewise, XA reviews U.S. Air Force, joint, cross-departmental (e.g., civil engineer, safety, security, weather, etc.) and international standards, doctrine, and tactics, techniques, and procedures, as well as processing of AO waivers. In addition, XA develops U.S. Air Force inspection system communicators and criteria for AO, augments MAJCOM Inspector General teams, validates U.S. Air Force-level deficiencies, and provides corrective action replies for valid actionable deficiencies to the U.S. Air Force Inspection Agency. Moreover, XA manages U.S. Air Force AO Trends and Analyses, manages the U.S. Air Force Obstruction Evaluation/Airport Airspace Analysis Program, and provides Mishap Board expertise. Finally, XA recognizes outstanding Airmen by conducting quarterly Lt Gen Gordon A. Blake Aircraft Save/Aircraft Assist Awards Boards and annual U.S. Air Force AO Awards Boards.

ATCALS Maintenance
The ATCALS Maintenance Directorate (XM) provides subject matter expertise and system maintenance for over 153 sites around the world. It is composed of radar, airfield and weather systems military/civilian Airmen, with an AO officer as the deputy director. Three RMCs – located in the U.S., Japan, and Germany perform remote and physical maintenance on all U.S. Air Force-owned remotely monitored navigational aids. RMCs provide 24/7 remote maintenance on the Instrument Landing System, Tactical Air Navigation, and Very High Frequency Omnidirectional Range, as well as “9-1-1” equipment repair support for ATC Radios, Airport Surveillance Radar, Digital ASR, Precision Approach Radar, ILS, TACAN, VOR, and Enhanced Terminal Voice Switch. Furthermore, ATCALS provides quality assurance on site surveys for new ATCALS equipment installations, moves, and reconfigurations. Finally, ATCALS provides radar evaluations to include new construction mitigation and Systems-of-Systems optimization.

Plans and Readiness
The Plans and Readiness Directorate coordinates across key AO stakeholders to capture readiness requirements. It gathers data from multiple sources, primarily the Defense Readiness Reporting System, which provides a holistic view of AO readiness, as well as from AFFSA, MAJCOMs, and HAF to develop a complete readiness picture for airfields, personnel, and equipment to support OPLANs and Agile Combat Employment. Readiness encompasses amount and status of equipment, personnel, and airfields in order to provide leadership at all levels an accurate snapshot of AO assets. In order to tie this data into readiness, XP engages in OPLAN rewrites, DRRS updates, ACE developments, as well as high-level strategic guidance so that AO capabilities are appropriately up-channeled, leveraged, and evolved to meet demands.

Cyber Operations
The Cyber Operations Directorate innovates, develops, and sustains software solutions to automate the administration and management of a myriad of tasks associated with the conduct and management of U.S. Air Force AO. Additionally, XC oversees cybersecurity requirements for ATCALS and other programs managed by AFFSA. The Cyber Operations Directorate comprises the Cybersecurity and the Cyber Technology divisions. The two divisions manage Assessment and Authorization requirements, Authorization to Operate accreditation, automation technology for AO prescribed tasks such as Airfield Operations Data Management System, Airfield Information Management System, Air Traffic Activity Reports, Terminal Advisory Service, and the Proficiency Time Tracker. Additionally, XCS and XCT provide support and maintenance to the Airfield Automation System and the Flight Data Input/Output.

The Sustainment Directorate serves as the liaison between MAJCOMs and other sustainment offices on fielded ATCALS. The AFFSA life cycle logistics mission directly touches all U.S. Air Force MAJCOMs and ATCALS programs. Life cycle logistics encompasses the entire system’s life cycle including acquisition (design, develop, test, produce, and deploy), sustainment (operations and support), and disposal. The directorate is the lead for developing the ATCALS Centralized Asset Management Weapon System Sustainment Program Objective Memorandum, executing ATCALS CAM WSS funds, and approving Depot Programmed Equipment Maintenance for all ATCALS. The Sustainment Directorate is assigned two divisions, Program Management and System Management.

Programs and Requirements
The Programs and Requirements Directorate leads the capability development process for the U.S. Air Force AO enterprise, including analyzing capability gaps, documenting requirements using the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System process, staffing JCIDS documents for approval, and advocating for funding. In addition, XR manages the POM for ATCALS and the National Airspace System. The directorate consists of 13Ms, 1C1s, 1C8s, civilian equivalents, and the POM (XRP) and AO Requirements divisions.

AFFSA was established after Gen. Merrill McPeak, the 14th Air Force Chief of Staff, implemented major force structure changes. Gen. McPeak reduced the number of major air commands that existed in the Air Force at the time. The Air Force Communications Command transitioned to a Field Operating Agency and ultimately impacted the staffing capability of Air Force operations. AFFSA was designed to maintain a continued focus on flight operations, despite the service’s fluctuating organizational blueprint. AFFSA was approved for operations in October 1991 and originally managed mission duties related to air traffic services, ATCALS, flight inspection, flight operations standards, Air Force Representatives, Notices to Air Missions, career field functional managers, and airspace management. The original unit was primarily comprised of AO professionals and grew over the next 30 years to become a U.S. Air Force Lead Agent responsible for fixed and deployable AO capabilities as well as earning the responsibility to provide training to AIS, TERPS, Automation, and RMC Technician students. Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) actions prompted a move from the National Capital Region to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in July 2006, where its headquarters now resides adjacent to Tinker AFB. AFFSA members, past and present, are proud to be celebrating the agency’s heritage as part of its 30-year anniversary in 2021.

Point of Contact
Air Force Flight Standards Agency; 5316 S. Douglas Blvd, Oklahoma City, Okla. 73150; DSN 312-884-7586 or 405-734-7586

(Current as of June 2021)