The Twenty-Fifth Air Force (25 AF), headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio—Lackland, Texas, first activated Oct. 20, 1948, as the United States Air Force Security Service. It has had a number of organizational realignments and redesignations throughout its history, and today reports as a Numbered Air Force to Air Combat Command.
The Twenty-Fifth Air Force provides multisource intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) products, applications, capabilities and resources, to include cyber and geospatial forces and expertise. Additionally, it is the Service Cryptologic Component responsible to the National Security Agency/Central Security Service for Air Force matters involving the conduct of cryptologic activities, including the full spectrum of missions directly related to both tactical warfighting and national-level operations.
We execute worldwide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to protect and defend the United States and its global interests.
Nearly 29,000 Airmen, located across the globe, are assigned to 25 AF under its subordinate units: the Air Force Technical Applications Center, 9th Reconnaissance Wing, 55th Wing, 70th ISR Wing, 480th ISR Wing, 319th ABW and 363rd ISR Wing, and more than 60 Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units with ISR responsibilities.
Air Force Technical Applications Center
The Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC), based at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, performs nuclear treaty monitoring and nuclear event detection. AFTAC provides national authorities quality technical measurements to monitor treaty compliance. It also performs research and development of new proliferation detection technologies to enhance or assist treaty verification to limit the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. AFTAC began as the 1035th Field Activities Group July 7, 1959 and after several organizational changes, redesignated the Air Force Technical Applications Center Oct. 1, 1980. AFTAC’s slightly more than 1,000 Airmen perform its worldwide nuclear event detection missions.
9th Reconnaissance Wing
The 9th Reconnaissance Wing (9 RW), headquartered at Beale Air Force Base, California, is responsible for providing national and theater command authorities with timely, reliable, high-quality, high-altitude reconnaissance products. The wing proudly carries out one of the five enduring Air Force core missions – Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance. To accomplish this mission, the wing is equipped with the nation's fleet of U-2 Dragon Lady, RQ-4 Global Hawk, and T-38A Companion Trainers and associated support equipment. The wing also maintains a high state of readiness in its expeditionary combat support forces for potential deployment in response to theater contingencies. Activated as the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing on May 1, 1949, it is composed of approximately 7,000 Airmen in four groups at Beale, one group at Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota, and multiple overseas operating locations. The 9 RW Airmen pride themselves on having a strong relationship with their community in Northern California. The installation, along with the nearly 12,000 active duty, Guard, Reserve, civilian and dependents in the area, makes up over $600 million in annual economic impact.
The 55th Wing (55 WG), headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, is 25 AF’s largest wing composed of six groups and 31 squadrons located worldwide, employing 44 aircraft, including five different RC-135 variants, and employing a workforce of more than 7,000 Airmen. The 55 WG, constituted on Nov. 20, 1940 and activated Jan. 15, 1941, at Hamilton Field, California as the 55th Pursuit Group, conducts a global flying mission with worldwide reconnaissance and treaty verification tasked by our nation's highest levels. Additionally, it provides installation support to more than 50 associate units, including U.S. Strategic Command, and a military community of more than 57,000.
70th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing
The 70th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing (70 ISRW), headquartered at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, has 34 operating locations worldwide. The wing’s more than 1,400 Airmen conduct global ISR operations in air, space and cyberspace to enable strategic, operational and tactical effects for the National Command Authority, the Joint warfighting team, air component operations, and Air Force mission partners. The 70 ISRW serves as the Air Force's designated lead wing for National-to-Tactical Integration (NTI) operations and synchronization, and executes global ISR missions supporting combatant command and air component operations via the Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS) and the Global Cryptologic Enterprise (GCE). Additionally, the 70 ISRW is the Air Force's designated lead wing for ISR operations enabling both cyber effects and space superiority operations. The wing provides expeditionary force protection capabilities, delivers tailored adversary tactics and Integrated Air Defense System (IADS) analyses, executes federated and delegated missions with Intelligence Community partners, provides information protection and assurance services, and deploys advanced engineering and infrastructure installation capabilities globally. First activated as the 70th Observation Group on Sept. 13, 1941, the wing underwent several organizational changes until being designated as the 70 ISR Wing Jan. 1, 2009.
480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing
The 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing (480 ISRW), headquartered at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, is the Air Force leader in globally networked ISR operations. The wing's comprehensive ISR missions include lead wing designation for the AF Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS), as well as national cryptologic, information technology, cyber ISR, tactical analysis, Combined Forces Air Component Commander (CFACC) support, and national-to-tactical signals intelligence (SIGINT) integration. The wing’s almost 6,000 Airmen are assigned around the globe, and their missions span the full spectrum of ISR operations from humanitarian assistance to major theater conflict, integrating with federated mission partners to provide timely, relevant intelligence that is regionally aligned in support of Major Command/Combatant Command theater operations. Activated June 21, 1943, as the 480th Antisubmarine Group, after several redesignations it later became the 480th ISR Wing.
363rd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing
The 363rd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing (363 ISRW), headquartered at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, is the Air Force's premier precision targeting production, special operations ISR, and full-spectrum analytical support to the tactical warfighter unit, enabling combat power in air, space and cyberspace. The wing’s more than 1,400 Airmen provide operations planning and execution support to Major Commands, Component Numbered Air Forces and theater Air and Space Operations Centers. The 363 ISRW is the only entity solely focused on content-dominant multi-intelligence analysis and targeting for five distinct mission sets: Air Defenses, Counter-Space, Counter-ISR, TBM/Cruise Missile Threat, and Air Threat. The 363 ISRW produces tailored geospatial and comprehensive threat analysis products to Air Force units employing airpower worldwide. Additionally, it organizes, trains, equips and deploys airborne/ground tactical ISR professionals to conduct sensitive operations in response to national taskings.
319th Air Base Wing
The 319th Air Base Wing (319 ABW), headquartered at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota, is responsible for the infrastructure and operational support to the 69th Reconnaissance Group’s RQ-4 Global Hawk mission. The 2,000 Total Force Airmen assigned to the 319 ABW provide rapid combat support through mission support functions, mobility preparedness, and continuous security to GFAFB, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Cavalier Air Force Station located in Cavalier, North Dakota. Communication professionals with the 319th Communication Squadron maintain one of two high-frequency global communications systems in the Air Force, offering 24/7 global continuity for command and control in support of the Department of Defense, Executive Branch of the U.S. Government, and Department of Homeland Security. Additionally, the wing’s innovative enhanced-use leasing initiatives provide access to unmanned aerial partnerships with community and industry professionals.