Military Base Guide: Los Angeles AFB, California
Los Angeles Air Force Base in Los Angeles, California is home to Headquarters, Air Force Space Systems Command (SSC), which is a subordinate unit of the United States Space Force. The base hosts the Space and Missile Systems Center and serves as a center of technical excellence “for developing, acquiring, fielding and sustaining military space systems” according to the DoD. SSC also manages space launch sites under the control of the United States.
Los Angeles Air Force Base (LA AFB)
- Surrounding Area
- In-processing Procedures
- Child Care
- Vehicle Policies
- PCS & TDY Lodging
- Colleges and Universities
Los Angeles Air Force Base History
Los Angeles Air Force Base began in 1954. It was known then as Air Research and Development Command’s Western Development Division. The command’s Space Systems Division moved to El Segundo Boulevard in the earliest days of the 1960s, and that facility was designated Los Angeles Air Force Station on April 10, 1964.
The Air Force would take many steps to consolidate operations in the Space Systems Division and the Research and Development Center in 1961–the first of multiple efforts in the 1960s. These helped to form the entity that would eventually become known as the Space and Missile Systems Center.
The Air Force would buy more land in the area and eventually begin construction of Los Angeles Air Force Station in El Segundo. The station ran until it was redesignated as Los Angeles Air Force Base in 1987. The Space Systems Division operating during the tenure of LA Air Force Station would be redesignated as the Space and Missile Systems Center and it operates as such in the present day. The center employs more than 6000 military members, civilian employees, and contractors.
Los Angeles AFB Surrounding Area
Do you want to discover fine dining, Hollywood, Cali beaches, and U.S. history? The Los Angeles area provides all this and much more, but living here requires more financial resources. Los Angeles AFB welcome documents include reminders about this saying that housing and transportation can be major expenses in ways you may be unfamiliar with if you aren’t a California native.
Operating a motor vehicle in the state requires compliance with strict emissions standards, and owning a home means being subject to uniquely Californian property tax issues you may not have experienced elsewhere. Ask your sponsor about Proposition 13 to get an earful about California taxes.
California is typically expensive as a high-demand housing market and you should assume monthly rent and mortgages will be between 15% to a whopping 40% higher than the national average here.
To offset these costs, the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for LA AFB is higher than usual but even this may not be sufficient to completely offset your housing costs. Being assigned to LA AFB will require additional thinking time about your monthly budget and living expenses.
Los Angeles AFB Units
Important missions and units at Los Angeles Air Force Base include but are not limited to:
- 61st Air Base Group
- 61st Civil Engineering & Logistics Squadron
- 61st Communications Squadron
- 61st Force Support Squadron
- 61st Medical Squadron
- 61st Security Forces Squadron
- Range and Network Division
- Space Superiority SPO
LA AFB In-processing Procedures
Some military bases require you to check in upon arrival at a 24-hour center or office. Los Angeles Air Force Base does not operate a 24-hour check-in, so those who arrive after duty hours or over a weekend should discuss arrival options with their sponsor.
You may be required to check in and/or begin in-processing the next duty day after arrival. If you plan to use permissive TDY for house hunting, you may need to check in with your gaining unit and/or the housing office to get started.
Child Care at Los Angeles AFB
The Los Angeles AFB Child Development Center at El Segundo provides child care services for LA AFB for children ages six weeks to five years old. This base features high demand for child care and you should expect waiting lists. It is best to contact the CDC as soon as you know you have orders to Los Angeles AFB.
Do not expect full availability of part-time care or drop-in care due to demand. If you need such services, discuss your options with your sponsor in advance. As soon as you know you are PCSing to Los Angeles AFB, it is strongly encouraged that parents visit MilitaryChildCare.com, create a user profile, and sign up for the Child Development Center waiting list.
Los Angeles AFB Housing
Military housing for LA AFB is privatized and offered at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro. This installation is roughly 20 miles from Los Angeles AFB and is offered to all ranks. The off-base housing market in California is expensive; you may need to discuss your housing options with your sponsor before arriving in the local area.
Contact the Housing Management Office at 310-653-8460 or phone Tierra-Vista Communities at 310-241-6184 for information on current waiting lists, availability of housing off-base, etc. Depending on your housing needs, waiting lists may apply and you can visit sites like In My Area to get an idea of utility costs in the area.
This high-cost housing market features rents and purchase prices above what you might be used to from other military assignments, be ready to run the numbers on your housing budget and make adjustments.
Los Angeles AFB Transportation
If you are traveling to LA Air Force Base, it is very important to make prior arrangements with your sponsor or gaining unit. If you are unfamiliar with the area, don’t try to navigate the Los Angeles airport and highway without discussing your plans with your sponsor.
Rush hour, peak travel times, weather, and other variables may all affect your ability to get to the base. The Los Angeles highway system can be challenging for newcomers, don’t expect a typical commute in this area.
Los Angeles AFB Vehicle Policies
When entering or leaving Los Angeles AFB, all vehicles must have valid state registration, all drivers must have a current driver’s license, and proof of liability insurance as required under California law.
Base decals are not required and drivers are not required to register their privately owned vehicles on base at LAAFB. All non-California resident military are required to submit form REG 5045, side A and submit to the State of California following instructions on the form.
Spouses who are registered in the same state as the active duty member must complete REG 5045, side B. and California state law adds that military spouses not registered in the same state must obtain a California Driver’s License.
Overnight parking is allowed at LAAFB but you will be required to get approval from the base parking manager.
PCS and TDY Lodging at LA AFB
If you have orders to LA AFB, contact the Temporary Living Facility (TLF) located on Fort MacArthur in San Pedro.
If you need reservations while traveling on PCS orders, you have priority booking. If space is not available in TLF, the Lodging Office will provide commercial contract lodging and you may be required to obtain a statement of non-availability or equivalent. Call 888-AF-LODGE.
Los Angeles AFB Schools
There are no Department of Defense schools on LA AFB. Children will attend school based on the location of housing on or off base. If you plan to live in base housing (in San Pedro) your school-age children will attend Leland Street Elementary School in Fort MacArthur and White Point Elementary School for those living in the Crest or the Heights.
Other options include Dana Middle School and San Pedro High School, These are part of the Los Angeles Unified School District.
If you are assigned to Los Angeles AFB you have the option of applying for an inter-district transfer if there is another school district you prefer, but these are considered on a first-come, first-served basis and there are no guarantees.
Learn more by calling the LA AFB School Liaison Office, at 310-653-8631.
Los Angeles AFB On-Base College and Universities
For adults, there are on-base university options provided by Webster University, offering degrees including:
- MBA in Management and Leadership
- MA in Management & Leadership
- MA in Business & Organizational Security Management
- MA in Procurement & Acquisitions Management
- Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management
- Certificate in Government Contracting
Los Angeles Air Force Base Contacts
Los Angeles Air Force Base
483 N. Aviation Boulevard
El Segundo, CA 90245-2808
- DSN: 312-633-5428
- Airman and Family Readiness Center (310) 653-5428
- Base Operator (310) 653-1110
- Child Development Center (310) 653-6800
- Emergency 911
- Family Child Care (FCC) (310) 653-6802
- ID and CAC Card Processing (310) 653-6556
- Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (310) 653-5789
- Suicide Prevention Hotline (800) 273-8255
- Dental Clinic (310) 653-6844
- Fort MacArthur Clinic (310) 653-2873
- Health and Wellness Center (310) 653-6640
- TRICARE (310) 653-6866
- Housing Office (310) 241-6184
- Tierra Vista Communities (888) 658-4630
- Education Office (310) 653-5105
- School Liaison Officer (310) 653-8631
About the author
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.