The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (CMSAF) is a unique non-commissioned rank in the United States Air Force. The holder of this rank and post represents the highest enlisted level of leadership in the Air Force, and as such, provides direction for the enlisted corps and represents their interests, as appropriate, to the American public, and to those in all levels of government. The CMSAF is appointed by the Air Force Chief of Staff (AF/CC) and serves as the senior enlisted advisor to the Air Force Chief of Staff and the Secretary of the Air Force on all issues regarding the welfare, readiness, morale, and proper utilization and progress of the enlisted force. While the CMSAF is a non-commissioned officer, the billet is protocol equivalent to a lieutenant general.
On November 1, 2004, the CMSAF's rank insignia was updated to include the Great Seal of the United States of America and two stars in the upper field. This puts the insignia in line with those of the Army and Marine Corps who have similar insignia to denote their senior enlisted servicemen. The laurel wreath around the star in the lower field remained unchanged to retain the legacy of the Chief Master Sergeants of the Air Force.
The CMSAF wears distinctive collar insignia. Traditionally, enlisted airmen's collar insignia was silver-colored "U.S." within a ring. The CMSAF's collar brass replaced the standard ring with a silver laurel wreath. The CMSAF also wears a distinctive cap device. Enlisted airmen's cap device is the Coat of Arms of the United States, surrounded by a ring, all struck from silver-colored metal. Much as with the position's distinctive collar brass, the ring is replaced with a laurel wreath for the CMSAF. The Sergeant Major of the Army wears an identical cap device, albeit of gold-colored metal.
The Sergeant Major of the Army, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force and the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman are the only members of the United States armed forces below the rank of brigadier general/rear admiral, lower half to be authorized a positional color (flag). First considered in 1992, the SMA's color has been authorized since 22 March 1999. The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force colors were authorized in January 2013.
The official term of address for the CMSAF is "Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force" or "Chief."