The Air Force Organizational Excellence Award (AFOEA) was created in August, 1969 to provide recognition for noteworthy achievements of Air Force organizations that are internal entities within larger organizations, typically unnumbered
Some of the types of units that are eligible for the award are MAJCOM Headquarters, Direct Reporting Units (USAF Academy, USAF Operational Test and Evaluation Center, and Air Force District of Washington), Field Operating Agencies (outside the purview of MAJCOMs), and other unnumbered organizations above the squadron level. Also eligible are Air Force-level schools (examples include the Test Pilot School and the Combat Ammunitions Center) and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Detachments.
Recent examples of units that were awarded the AFOEA include HQ Air Mobility Command, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), and the Civil Air Patrol. In July, 2015, the Headquarters, AMC was recognized for the work it had done over a two-year period in developing a basing program for the KC-46 Pegasus, as well as other research into air refueling designed to reduce costs and streamline procedures.
Although it is operated by Materiel Command, the AFRL’s purview extends across the service as it is responsible for the Air Force’s entire technology research budget; its 2016 AFOEA was for numerous products such as an Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (which was credited with saving a pilot and an aircraft just months after initial deployment) and its work on Adaptive Versatile Engine Technology to maximize aircraft fuel efficiency and performance.
Additional AFOEAs are denoted by oak-leaf clusters.