AFA’s New Name: Questions & Answers
Why is AFA changing its name?
AFA was founded in February 1946, more than a year before the Air Force itself became an independent service in September 1947. Its purpose was to advocate for air power and to educate on why air power was the foundation of a strong national defense. In short order, our Air Force looked beyond the air domain and into space. The Air Force developed America’s rocket systems both to launch satellites and to power intercontinental ballistic missiles, produced nearly half our nation’s astronauts, and developed breakthroughs like GPS. Within a year after Congress authorized President Trump to establish the U.S. Space Force on Dec. 20, 2019, AFA changed its mission to include the Space Force; now, just over two years later, AFA has changed its name, as well.
Who made the decision to change AFA’s name? How was this decision determined?
AFA appointed a Space Advisory Group in 2020 to recommend changes to the organization to best support both the Air Force and the new Space Force. Among the group’s recommendations was a name change. AFA Chairman Gerald Murray offered a motion seeking approval of the Delegates to AFA’s annual National Convention in September 2021 authorizing the Board of Directors to approve such a change after further investigation. The Board voted March 5, 2022, to approve the name change, retain the AFA acronym, and adopt a new logo representing the interests of both services. Final decision authority over the logo was delegated to the Board’s Executive Committee which approved the design March 30, 2022.
If you changed the name to Air & Space Forces Association, why didn’t you adopt new initials and a new web address? Why are you still AFA?
There are few things more valuable than a well-recognized brand name. AFA’s brand name resonates throughout Air Force and Space Force leadership, across the force, and among the industry that supports the association with sponsorships for events, STEM programs, research, and more. AFA’s Air Space and Cyber Conference and its annual Warfare Symposium are known to attendees and sponsors not by their names but by those three letters. The web address, likewise, is easily recalled by those three letters AFA.org. Rather than give up that familiarity, we chose to build on it.
What happened to the iconic old “Wee Wings” logo?
AFA’s iconic brand had its roots, like the Air Force itself, in the Army Air Corps of World War II. The original “Wee Wings” built on the “Hap Arnold Star” and embodied a classic, period look. The Air Force itself adopted its own modern logo two decades ago. Now the time has come to recall that original logo fondly, but to move forward into the future. Just as we no longer fly propeller-driven fighter aircraft, the look, feel, and vision conveyed by the original brand no longer reflects the modern Air and Space Forces of today. Retiring that logo to make way for something new is appropriate for our times and supportive of today’s more complex Department of the Air Force.
What is the meaning of the new logo?
AFA’s new Star-Delta Logo embraces the heritage and heraldry of our original logo, and its Air Force roots and the innovation and originality of the new Space Force logo design. The Star is derived from the original “Hap Arnold” Army Air Corps Star that has long been evident in our historic “Wee Wings” logo. The Delta and Polaris draw from the distinctive Space Force logo unveiled two years ago. Together, they form a unique interlinked design that reflects the ties that bind the two, the dynamism of each, and the unique dependence on the Space Force for navigation and timing by each and every one of the other services, symbolized by Polaris, the North Star.
How does changing AFA’s name help Airmen and the Air Force?
AFA has since 1946 been the leading advocate for the Department of the Air Force. Today, that Department is no longer synonymous with a single military service. Effective advocacy demands a full view of the department and forceful support for the entire department. Focusing on only one or the other service pits one against the other in a zero-sum fight for resources; focusing on both ensures balanced and effective advocacy for the entire department, the needs of both services, and what’s best for both Airmen and Guardians.
How do AFA's name and branding changes affect AFA’s chapters?
AFA’s chapters will be expected to revise their branding in keeping with the parent organization. AFA will provide design support, including design execution, for new chapter-, state-, and region-specific brands. The old logo must be replaced by the new logo on all websites and digital and printed materials by the end of calendar year 2022. (AFA recognizes, however, that more time may be needed in some cases to replace more expensive or long-lead-time items such as manufactured signs, flags, and banners.) Further guidance will be forthcoming.