SAB History


The Scientific Advisory Board, first known as the Scientific Advisory Group (SAG), established by General Henry Harley "Hap" Arnold during World War II, was organized and chaired by Dr. Theodore von Kármán, his scientific advisor. The SAG provided a long range forecast of research and development needs for the Army Air Corps. Originally, the SAG consisted primarily of those within the field of academia.

At the end of World War II, when the SAB transitioned to the USAF Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), the Board included a Secretariat that would be considered part of the Air Staff. The Board also expanded its membership to include engineers and scientists from academia, government and industry.

Originally, the SAB was organized around panels dedicated to different technical areas, and these panels provided regular reports. Cross cutting ad hoc and special committee studies were also performed, starting with the renowned study, "Toward New Horizons," that set forth many of the early research and development goals pursued by the early Air Force. By the early 1980s, standing technology panels were set aside, and studies were performed by the more agile study teams still used today. Along the way, the SAB also began performing regular reviews of science and technology work at the Air Force's research laboratories.

The SAB is a Federal Advisory Committee and continues to promote the exchange of the latest scientific and technical information to enhance the Air Force mission. The Board's function is solely advisory, and provides findings and recommendations to the Air Force senior leadership, namely the Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

Dr. Von Kármán SAB creation letter
The USAF Scientific Advisory Board Its First Twenty Years, 1944-1964
The USAF Scientific Advisory Board 50th Anniversary, 1944-1994