Laboratories (and equivalent)
The only laboratory, or lab, in the USAF today is the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), a scientific research organization operated by Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) that is dedicated to leading the discovery, development, and integration of aerospace warfighting technologies, planning and executing the Air Force science and technology program, and providing warfighting capabilities to United States air, space, and cyberspace forces. It controls the entire multi-billion-dollar Air Force science and technology research budget. This lab was formed in 1997 as a consolidation of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research with four Air Force “superlabs” (Wright, Phillips, Rome, and Armstrong) that had been created in 1990. Prior to 1990, the Air Force laboratory system spread research out into 13 different labs and the Rome Air Development Center, each of which reported up two separate chains of command. When the four superlabs were formed, these earlier organizations were consolidated as follows: the Avionics, Electronics Technology, Flight Dynamics, Material, Aero Propulsion and Power, and Armament Labs were merged to form Wright Lab; the Weapons, Geophysics, and Astronautics Labs were merged to form Phillips Lab; the Human Resources, Harry G. Armstrong Aerospace Medical Research, Drug Testing, and Occupational and Environmental Health Labs merged to form the Armstrong Lab; and Rome Air Development Center became Rome Laboratory. The single laboratory concept was developed and championed by Maj Gen Richard Paul, who was Director of Science and Technology for AFMC, and General Henry Viccellio Jr, commander of AFMC, who then appointed Paul as the first commander of AFRL. With the merger of the laboratories into a single entity, the history offices at each site ceased to maintain independent histories and all history functions were transferred to a central History Office located at AFRL HQ at Wright-Patterson AFB. In homage to the predecessor laboratories, the new organization named four of the research sites after the laboratories and gave assurance that each laboratory's history would be preserved as inactivated units. In addition to the labs named above, there have been other labs, some of them numbered rather than named. Also, patches of the National Labs are included in this album.