Note from the President
Thank you for your support of AFA! The Air Force Association continues to be the Air Force’s premier military support organization, and this would not be possible without you. Your involvement through advocacy on behalf of our Air Force, educating others, and participation in your local chapter, state, and region is valued and appreciated.
Our AFA Field chapters remain a strong driving force in advancing our mission throughout the country. This year has not been without its challenges, but the heart of a volunteer is strong and our Field leaders have stood up to the challenges. Chapters throughout the country are providing scholarships, holding fundraisers for our Wounded Airman Program, operating Teacher of the Year programs, and, most importantly, taking care of our Air Force family.
AFA’s 2016 Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition, attracted 2,325 total registrants, which was a remarkable 30% increase from 2015. Further, symposium registrants grew by 42% compared to 2015. Total revenue for this event between registrations, exhibits, sponsorships, and program ads exceeded budget by close to 21%.
Likewise, the 2016 Air, Space & Cyber Conference also saw strong growth this year and reached record participation of more than 7,300 registrants. Total revenue for this event between registrations, exhibits, sponsorships, and program ads also exceeded budget projections. The success of this conference was a testament to the continuing strong relationship between AFA and our Air Force leadership, and it speaks to the hard work of our staff and volunteers.
CyberPatriot, the National Youth Cyber Education Program, experienced another year of strong growth. The ninth season of CyberPatriot's National Youth Cyber Defense Competition ended registration in October 2016 with 4,404 teams registering from all 50 states and DOD dependent schools in both the Pacific and Europe. Eighty-five AFA CyberCamps were hosted nationwide in the summer of 2016 (up from 26 the year before), and over 4,000 kits of AFA's Elementary School Cyber Education Initiative (ESCEI) have been distributed since it was launched. The program also continues to garner support from top-tier sponsors including our generous presenting sponsor, Northrop Grumman Foundation.
StellarXplorers, the National High School Space Challenge, and AFA’s newest STEM program, completed its first full season in April with ten teams attending the National Finals. Twenty-seven teams registered for the season, a 440% increase over the initial proof of concept. The new season saw 131 teams register, another tremendous increase, demonstrating the interest and excitement the competition engenders. Students in the program gain fundamental support and valuable knowledge from the expertise of its many sponsors, including the USAF and DoD STEM Programs, United Launch Alliance, Orbital ATK, Blue Origin, Kratos Defense, and SpaceX, as well as its educational partners, Analytic Graphics, the Space Foundation, Coyote Enterprises, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
The Mitchell Institute wrapped up a terrific third year of operations. In 2016, Mitchell produced over 13 major publications. This included 7 Mitchell Forum papers on key aerospace issues. Such growth is critical as we work to increase the scale and scope of AFA’s positive impact. Looking ahead, 2017 promises even more impressive results. Whether testifying on Capitol Hill, serving as a resource for reporters from outlets like The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times, releasing detailed reports, engaging with rising talent, or hosting an educational forum, this component of the Air Force Association is an integral asset furthering the AFA mission of education and advocacy. AFA’s Mitchell team is having a major impact on the aerospace defense discussion—not just in Washington, DC, but across the nation.
Additionally, AFA’s Wounded Airman Program has continued to grow this year as we provide much needed support to our wounded Airmen and caregivers. This year we co-hosted a panel with Air Force leadership where our wounded Airmen and caregivers told their stories to an audience that had a hard time keeping a dry eye. With the help of local chapters, we continue to support all Air Force Wounded Warrior CARE events throughout the country. AFA is honored to operate the Wounded Airman Program which has provided more than $300,000 in direct support to wounded Airmen and their families.
This year we celebrated the Air Force Memorial’s 10th Anniversary with the Secretary, Chief of Staff, and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force as well as AFA and Air Force Sergeants Association leadership providing wonderful remarks about the history and successes of the Memorial. At the event, there were more than 500 people in attendance who enjoyed The USAF Band, a heritage flight flyover and a Tuskegee Airmen Red Jacket presentation to Secretary James. More than 3,200 buses visited the Memorial in 2016. Additionally, 107 promotion, retirement, re-enlistment, and other military ceremonies were hosted at the Memorial. There were also over 170 Honor Flights of WWII, Korean, and Vietnam War veterans who toured the grounds. The Summer Concert series continued to be a rousing success as The USAF Band performed 11 concerts for military personnel and community patrons. The next time you are in the Washington D.C. area, we encourage you to stop by and visit the magnificent Air Force Memorial.
We are happy to announce that, for the first time ever, our award-winning Air Force Magazine will be available for sale on newsstands beginning in January. We have made arrangements for Barnes & Noble to carry Air Force Magazine. AFA’s flagship product will now be available to an entirely new audience of airpower enthusiasts and potential AFA members and supporters.
I am happy to announce that General Mark A. Welsh III, USAF (Ret.), former Chief of Staff of the Air Force, will be the newest member of AFA’s Board of Directors. Chairman Whit Peters and I look forward to having his guidance and expertise help shape the future of AFA. A listing of all members on our distinguished Board can be found here.
In a couple of weeks, we will ring in another new year. It will offer many new opportunities and will undoubtedly present us with new challenges. We look forward to the year knowing that the devoted efforts of our members, volunteers, staff, and leadership will meet every challenge as we strive to Educate, Advocate, and Support, and to maintain our place as a highly respected military support organization. Thank you for your efforts and generosity in carrying out AFA’s vital mission. Without you, AFA could not exist. And, in a dangerous and complex world, our Air Force needs AFA more than ever.
With warmest wishes for a happy holiday season,
Larry O. Spencer