The Air Force would like to restructure the Civil Air Patrol’s governing board to include a mixed bag of elected and appointed officials, including four named by the president.
The plan is spelled out in draft legislation.
Like a July proposal from the Civil Air Patrol, the Air Force proposal would create an 11-member board of directors that would include presidential and congressional appointees.
But where the patrol called for a board largely advisory in nature, the Air Force wants the board to have genuine authority to manage patrol programs and operations, according to Air Force Secretary Whit Peters.
The patrol plan would leave in place a national board much smaller than the current group– cutting it from 67 to 17 — to actually run the organization. But it also would reduce the number of patrol wing commanders serving on it, something that Peters opposes.
In an Aug 9th letter to patrol Commander Brig Gen James Bobick, Peters said that arrangement would “consolidate power in an even smaller number of non-elected officials.”
The Air Force has been trying to gain greater control of the volunteer civilian force since an audit of 1996 patrol spending turned up evidence of questionable spending, poor management and a declining safety record.
Patrol officials have steadfastly denied any wrongdoing and in May successfully lobbied Congress to stave off legislation that would have increased Air Force authority over the patrol. Afterward, the two sides agreed in principle to set up an independent board of directors and increase the Air Force’s role.
The patrol-generated plan submitted in July called for a board composed of four members of Congress, two congressionally appointed civilians and two civilians named by the president. The remaining three directors would be patrol members elected by the patrol.
Peters noted in his letter to Gen Bobick that congressmen have full schedules already and likely would not be able to participate in patrol board meetings. That would make it difficult for the board to properly do its job, he wrote.
The Air Force proposal calls for a governing board of directors made up of two civilians named by the Senate president, two appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, four presidential appointees and three elected by the patrol from among its membership.
The existing board of directors would continue to serve until the new board is created.
The plan also calls for an inspector general that would report directly to the Air Force inspector general through the new board, as well as a corporate executive director and other officers the board deemed necessary, the legislation states.