The Department of the Air Force (DAF) 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 vice commander and 10 divisions at its Kirtland AFB location.
The Aviation Safety Division consists of safety-trained professionals spanning the domain of flight. The division preserves warfighting capability by establishing DAF 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 Occupational Safety Division manages the DAF occupational safety program, including operational, industrial, occupational, sports and recreation, and traffic safety. This division has oversight responsibility for the safety risk management program and epidemiology efforts for the DAF mishap prevention program. It oversees integration of safety inspections, assessments and evaluation policy in conjunction with the DAF inspector general. The division manages Air and Space Forces safety standards and interprets Department of Labor and industry standards for implementation throughout the DAF. The division conducts evaluations of service-wide occupational safety mishap investigations and provides advice to investigators in the field through their parent major and field commands. The division is responsible for the development and content of formal occupational safety-related training courses for supervisors and safety professionals. It develops and oversees occupational safety policy, programs and procedures to provide a safe work environment and enhance the safety of Airmen and Guardians while off duty to help maintain combat capability and readiness. It is the DAF office of responsibility for all OSHA-related guidance and processes for dealing with the Department of Labor in regards to inspections, investigations, and recordkeeping.
The Space Safety Division is responsible for assuring safe access to space through the oversight of pre-launch, launch and range, orbital, reentry, ground-based space systems, and end-of-life safety programs. As the Department of Defense (DOD) lead for nuclear space safety, the division evaluates said payloads and provides results to the President of the United States for launch approval. As the Air and Space Forces space safety lead, the division strives to optimize spacepower in all mission areas. Specifically, the division’s mission is to safeguard U.S. spacepower via mishap prevention and above all, provide for and protect space.
The Space Safety Division accomplishes its mission through a number of different methods. It develops, executes, and evaluates the department’s space mishap prevention programs and executes Interagency Nuclear Safety Review Board responsibilities on behalf of the Department of Defense. The division also codifies space safety via department-level instructions, manuals, and guidance. It oversees mishap investigations, conducts evaluations, and ensures application of corrective actions and mishap inclusion to the Air Force Safety Automated System (AFSAS). Critical is their focus to promote safety awareness and mishap prevention via interface with DOD, civil, commercial, academic, international partners, and media programs. The division also provides the chair for the department’s Space Safety Council and has space safety privilege responsibility for information exempt by statue or case law from disclosure outside the department’s space safety community.
The Weapons Safety Division establishes and defines DAF 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 DAF 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, DAF explosives safety standards, explosive siting reviews, weapons safety consultation and Federal Department of Agriculture waivers for DE systems. The division ensures application of corrective actions and mishap inclusion to the AFSAS for weapon-related mishaps. 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 Human Factors Division supports the DAF safety mission to safeguard Airmen/Guardians, protect resources and preserve combat capability by addressing the number one cause of Air and Space Forces mishaps: human error. The division includes experts from medicine, physiology, psychology, aircraft operations, and aircraft maintenance. These experts help investigators examine how human behavior contributes to mishap risks and causes. They further analyze mishap data and provide policy recommendations to commanders. The division administers the Air Force Combined Mishap Reduction System (AFCMRS) survey and can provide commanders an On-site Safety Assessment (OSA). The division trains DAF safety professionals in human factors principles and in the DOD Human Factors Analysis and Classification System. The Human Factor Division is home to the AF Safety Fellowship training programs for physiologists and psychologists providing medical doctors.
The Analysis and Cyberspace Operations Division mission is to leverage information technology, in a cost effective manner, to support the safety mission for the Air and Space Forces. The division develops and sustains the unique safety reporting system called the Air Force Safety Automated System which collects and maintains safety related data, used by the DAF and DOD safety communities to investigate mishaps and mitigate hazards for all safety disciplines. This system also provides an analysis and trending capability through its comprehensive safety database. This database enables the safety center to rapidly respond to both internal and external customer requirements for mishap safety data. The division also supports all cyber security, communications, and information technology systems for the entire safety center.
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 throughout the Air and Space Forces. 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, occupational, weapons, space and missiles; ensuring mission-ready capabilities are preserved for the Air and Space Forces, and is delivered to approximately 2,000 students through 11 professional courses in 70 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 also serves as the safety civilian career field manager, establishing policy and serving as the day-to-day advocate for issues and concerns.
The Personnel and Resource Division is responsible for complex managerial services for the center including all personnel, manpower, program management, knowledge operations, and facilities management, as well as planning, programming, budget and execution. The division provides support to the DAF chief of safety and the entire Air Force Safety Center. It is the backbone for mission and infrastructure support to ensure continuity and efficiency across the enterprise.
The Office of the Staff Judge Advocate provides legal advice and general counsel on all aspects of the Air and Space Forces 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 supports the chief of safety’s communication program by providing service members and the general public timely and accurate information to raise awareness and improve understanding of the Air Force Safety Center mission and its role in mishap prevention, and to promote mishap prevention DAF-wide. The division manages the center’s public website and social media programs; generates news releases, infographics, photos and video products for distribution throughout the Air and Space Forces; and engages with the news media to ensure the accurate reporting of safety programs and mishap prevention efforts.