AFA Delegates Approve More Foundational, Modernized Governance Bylaws

After more than two years of refinement, a historic set of new Air & Space Forces Association governance bylaws were voted into effect by delegates from around the world at the Association’s annual convention on Sept. 18. The new bylaws look to ensure the Association’s structure and governance remain compliant with non-profit laws; modernize the organization’s procedures and policies by making it more relevant to members of all ages, ranks, and profession; and clarify governance as a foundational element in AFA’s mission.

“Modernizing our bylaws is no different than modernizing our Air and Space Forces,” said former Chairman of the Board Gerald Murray, who moved to establish new bylaws when he took the Board’s helm in 2019. Murray’s term ended on Sept. 30. “You can’t fight tomorrow’s wars with yesterday’s technology. Nor can you run a modern 501(c)3 non-profit under a governance model conceived for a different era.”

The new governance bylaws replace the AFA Constitution, ensuring that the bedrock of the Association remains consistent even as AFA operations evolve over time. 

Among the historic changes is the introduction of options for electronic voting and virtual meetings to reflect modern business operations and to give delegates from around the globe a voice at the National Convention and other summits. The change also eliminates proxy voting to promote clear and direct involvement by leadership.

To clarify governance responsibilities and maintain the Association’s relevance, the bylaws state that the Board of Directors will establish the following required committees: an empowered Education Council, an empowered Field Council, a Finance Committee, an Audit Committee, and a Nominating and Governance Committee. The latter committee is now chaired by Murray.

Historically, the immediate past retired Chief of Staff of the Air Force; the immediate past retired Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force; and the immediate past retired Air Force Chairman or Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff serve as full voting members of the AFA Board. The new bylaws have added the immediate past retired Chief of Space Operations; the immediate past retired Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force to this list, providing the Space Force with equal representation in Board deliberations and votes. The immediate former Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has also been added.  

Additionally, the President’s title has been changed to “President-CEO” to align with other military non-profit organizations.

The committee responsible for developing the new bylaws was composed of members who represent AFA itself, including a member of AFA’s Emerging Leader Program, the Field Council, the Education Council, the Board, Active-duty and reserve component members, and industry partners. The committee consulted closely with AFA members and field leaders to ensure the new bylaws would uphold the organization’s heritage while supporting AFA’s present and future relevance.