The Office of the General Counsel serves its client, the Department of the Air Force, by providing members of the Secretariat and Air Staff with actionable, candid, and independent legal advice and counsel, effective advocacy, and creative problem solving, in furtherance of the Air Force mission to "fly, fight, and win . . . in air, space, and cyberspace." The General Counsel is the chief legal officer and chief ethics official of the Department of the Air Force, and works in close collaboration with the Judge Advocate General to provide legal advice to the Department. The Office of the General Counsel performs the functions and duties assigned to the General Counsel by order of the Secretary of the Air Force.
The General Counsel is a Presidential appointee, requiring Senate confirmation. Secretary of the Air Force Order (SAFO) No. 111.5, dated July 14, 2005 sets forth the functions and responsibilities of the Office. That Order states in part:
"The General Counsel is the chief legal officer and chief ethics official of the Department of the Air Force. Legal opinions issued by the Office of the General Counsel shall be the controlling opinions of the Department of the Air Force. The General Counsel provides advice in accordance with applicable statues on any legal subject and on other matters as directed by the Secretary." The Office of the General Counsel renders legal advice and assistance to all elements of the Air Force, but the cornerstone of its functions and responsibilities is a close relationship with the Secretary and his principal assistants. As the law office of the Secretary, the Office takes a broad view of its responsibilities. The Office provides carefully considered, practical advice, aimed at producing effective solutions. Work products within the Office of the General Counsel take many forms. Much of its advice and counsel is given orally. Written communications can involve formal legal opinions, draft correspondence, draft directives or policy statements, or guidance or decisions on individual cases.