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10 U.S. Code § 9017 - Secretary of the Air Force: successors to duties

If the Secretary of the Air Force dies, resigns, is removed from office, is absent, or is disabled, the person who is highest on the following list, and who is not absent or disabled, shall perform the duties of the Secretary until the President, under section 3347 [1] of title 5, directs another person to perform those duties or until the absence or disability ceases:
The Under Secretary of the Air Force.
The Assistant Secretaries of the Air Force, in the order prescribed by the Secretary of the Air Force and approved by the Secretary of Defense.
The General Counsel of the Department of the Air Force.
The Chief of Staff.
The Chief of Space Operations.

[1]  See References in Text note below.

Historical and Revision Notes

Revised section

Source (U.S. Code)

Source (Statutes at Large)





Sept. 19, 1951, ch. 407, § 102 (less (a)), 65 Stat. 327.

In subsection (a), the word “person” is substituted for the words “officer of the United States”. The words “until a successor is appointed” are omitted as surplusage.

Subsection (b) is substituted for 5:626–1(c) and states the effect of section 8544(b) of this title.

Editorial Notes
References in Text

Section 3347 of title 5, referred to in text, was repealed and a new section 3347 was enacted by Pub. L. 105–277, div. C, title I, § 151(b), Oct. 21, 1998, 112 Stat. 2681–611, and, as so enacted, no longer contains provisions authorizing the President to direct temporary successors to duties. See section 3345 of Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.


2021—Par. (5). Pub. L. 116–283 added par. (5).

2018—Pub. L. 115–232 renumbered section 8017 of this title as this section.

1994—Pars. (3), (4). Pub. L. 103–337 added par. (3) and redesignated former par. (3) as (4).

1986—Pub. L. 99–433 struck out subsec. (a) designation, substituted in par. (2) “, in the order prescribed by the Secretary of the Air Force and approved by the Secretary of Defense” for “in order of their length of service as such”, and struck out subsec. (b) which read as follows: “Performance of the duties of the Secretary by the Chief of Staff or any officer of the Air Force designated under section 3347 of title 5 shall not be considered as the holding of a civil office within the meaning of section 973(b) of this title.”

1968—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 90–235 substituted “section 973(b) of this title” for “section 8544(b) of this title”.

1966—Pub. L. 89–718 substituted “section 3347 of title 5” for “section 6 of title 5” wherever appearing.

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Effective Date of 2018 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 115–232 effective Feb. 1, 2019, with provision for the coordination of amendments and special rule for certain redesignations, see section 800 of Pub. L. 115–232, set out as a note preceding section 3001 of this title.

Executive Documents
Order of Succession

For order of succession in event of death, permanent disability, or resignation of Secretary of the Air Force, see Ex. Ord. No. 12909, Apr. 22, 1994, 59 F.R. 21909, listed in a table under section 3345 of Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.