Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, Chief of Air Force during a visit to RAAF Base Williamtown

Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, AO, DSC was appointed Chief of Air Force in July 2019. He has outlined his intentions for the Air Force during his tenure.

The five key lines of effort through which we will measure our success are:

  • Delivering air and space power as a component of the joint force
  • Developing an intelligent and skilled workforce
  • Deepening relationships and strengthening our engagement
  • Evolving our culture
  • Building agile and coherent governance



Chief of Air Force Intent

Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, AO, DSC

Realising the integrated Air Force

CAF Intent Update


2021 is a momentous year for the Royal Australian Air Force, one in which we celebrate our 100th year of service to the Australian people. It is timely then for us to reflect on all who have served, all who have supported those who serve, and those of us fortunate to be serving in this centenary year. We will mark this extraordinary achievement with a number of events, including a parade of a new RAAF Queen’s Colour, Squadron Standards and Governor-General Banners – only the second occasion in 20 years that the entire suite of RAAF battle honours and Standards have been on parade at the same time.

While 2021 will be a year of celebration, we will also continue preparing for the Air Force’s future. Since I published my Intent in July 2020, we have made substantial progress in embedding the AFSTRAT lines of effort into our day-to-day business. In my remaining tenure as Chief, I intend to focus on the following goals as necessary first steps on the journey that will be our second century:
  • Mature the Space domain - Air Force is leading the review to determine Defence requirements for the efficient and effective use of space as a warfighting domain in support of the joint force. This body of work will ensure the next evolution of Defence is appropriately resourced in support of our national interests.
  • Focus on Indo-Pacific engagement – We will continue to advance and prioritise the delivery of tangible engagement from Air Force contributions throughout the north-eastern Indian Ocean, through maritime and mainland South East Asia to Papua New Guinea and the South West Pacific. This will be in concert with allies and key strategic partners such as India, Japan and South Korea.
  • Examine Airbases and ICT Infrastructure – We will prioritise investment in our Airbases and Networks to ensure they are robust, fit for purpose, and support the resilient generation of Air & Space Power.
  • Prioritise workforce – Air Force needs a workforce that is responsive to the rapidly changing demands of an uncertain world. We will continue to pursue innovative approaches to workforce management that recognise the importance of our people and structures.
The Air Force Strategy (AFSTRAT) is the key to ensuring that our culture evolves to deliver on what our nation expects of us. We must embed this culture into everything we say and do to make Air Force truly ready for the future, including finding novel ways to treat the risks we face. The future of Air Force belongs to all of us, and no one individual has a monopoly on the great ideas, creative thinking and leadership required to seize opportunities. The effects Air Force contributes to the joint force requires enthusiastic and productive disruption, removal of barriers to creativity and a continued evolution to a culture of resilience. At the same time, we need to ensure those ideas that can progress air and space power are appropriately identified, explored and resourced to become part of our business. We may not be able to pursue all of the good ideas presented and will have to prioritise, but I need you to continue offering your thoughts and efforts – this is the essence of ‘fail fast, learn fast’. Just because an idea does not get used does not mean it wasn’t helpful and I require command teams to provide feedback and to reward those people that are contributing to this important body of work.
Our people remain our most important asset. Transforming to more appropriate, contemporary and responsive methods of leading and managing our people will be critical to ensure we select, promote and reward those people who best fit the strategic imperatives outlined in AFSTRAT. Work on this is already underway and supervisors at every level have a critical role in ensuring that reporting goals are grounded in my direction. Commanders must ensure that our strategy informs every aspect of our organisational performance - our workforce structures and development, governance and accountability systems, priorities and decisions, risks and opportunities.  All Air Force personnel must be fully aware that they are accountable for realising the cultural change and organisational movement I demand in our strategy.
It is an exciting time to be in Air Force, with extraordinary opportunities available to those who seek and embrace it. In the coming weeks I intend to release a ‘CAF Q&A’, in which I will expand on this intent, frame the year ahead and outline both the expected challenges and opportunities. I thank every member of the Air Force family, especially those who do not wear a uniform but support us every day. We are all the guardians of a proud heritage of service and sacrifice established over the last 100 years, our task now is to build on that legacy and define the second century of Air Force together.
Air Force - Then. Now. Always.

Mel Hupfeld, AO, DSC

Air Marshal

Chief of Air Force