10 USC 8062 - Policy; composition; aircraft authorization

(a) It is the intent of Congress to provide an Air Force that is capable, in conjunction with the other armed forces, of
(1) preserving the peace and security, and providing for the defense, of the United States, the Commonwealths and possessions, and any areas occupied by the United States;
(2) supporting the national policies;
(3) implementing the national objectives; and

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(4) overcoming any nations responsible for aggressive acts that imperil the peace and security of the United States.
(b) There is a United States Air Force within the Department of the Air Force.
(c) In general, the Air Force includes aviation forces both combat and service not otherwise assigned. It shall be organized, trained, and equipped primarily for prompt and sustained offensive and defensive air operations. It is responsible for the preparation of the air forces necessary for the effective prosecution of war except as otherwise assigned and, in accordance with integrated joint mobilization plans, for the expansion of the peacetime components of the Air Force to meet the needs of war.
(d) The Air Force consists of
(1) the Regular Air Force, the Air National Guard of the United States, the Air National Guard while in the service of the United States, and the Air Force Reserve;
(2) all persons appointed or enlisted in, or conscripted into, the Air Force without component; and
(3) all Air Force units and other Air Force organizations, with their installations and supporting and auxiliary combat, training, administrative, and logistic elements; and all members of the Air Force, including those not assigned to units; necessary to form the basis for a complete and immediate mobilization for the national defense in the event of a national emergency.
(e) Subject to subsection (f) of this section, chapter 831 of this title, and the strength authorized by law pursuant to section 115 of this title, the authorized strength of the Air Force is 70 Regular Air Force groups and such separate Regular Air Force squadrons, reserve groups, and supporting and auxiliary regular and reserve units as required.
(f) There are authorized for the Air Force 24,000 serviceable aircraft or 225,000 airframe tons of serviceable aircraft, whichever the Secretary of the Air Force considers appropriate to carry out this section. This subsection does not apply to guided missiles.

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(1) Effective October 1, 2008, the Secretary of the Air Force shall maintain a total aircraft inventory of strategic airlift aircraft of not less than 299 aircraft.
(2) In this subsection:
(A) The term strategic airlift aircraft means an aircraft
(i) that has a cargo capacity of at least 150,000 pounds; and
(ii) that is capable of transporting outsized cargo an unrefueled range of at least 2,400 nautical miles.
(B) The term outsized cargo means any single item of equipment that exceeds 1,090 inches in length, 117 inches in width, or 105 inches in height.