[Editor’s Note: Following FBI raids of Civil Air Patrol National Headquarters that took place this time last year, members and critics of CAP are highlighting the many problems both listed and omitted from the latest GAO Report to Congressional Requesters.]
Civil Air Patrol Deficiencies Included in GAO Report
‣ A series of Air Force and Department of Defense audits and inspections since 1998 have raised concerns about Civil Air Patrol’s financial management and inventory control practices as well as Air Force oversight of the Patrol.
‣ Civil Air Patrol commanders do not have much incentive to aggressively enforce the regulations, and they have not exercised their authority sufficiently to ensure that all units follow regulations intended to ensure flying safety and accountability for assets. As a result, the Patrol lacks assurance that all assets have been used safely and appropriately.
‣ Civil Air Patrol leaders recognized the need to maintain adequate accountability over assets but are concerned that if the accountability requirements became too burdensome, some volunteers might quit, since most joined to participate in aviation-related or youth development-related activities, not to do the paperwork sometimes necessary to manage assets.
‣ …most of the personnel who monitor the Patrol’s activities for the Air Force are Civil Air Patrol employees who are at the Patrol’s operating locations and receive their annual performance appraisals from the commanders whose operations they monitor. This raises questions about the independence of the officers.
‣ …even when problems are brought to the attention of the Air Force, it has not always been able to enforce corrective action. Air Force officials believe that they have limited authority over Civil Air Patrol because it is a private corporation, although they can refuse to reimburse the Patrol for certain missions and restrict the purchase of new equipment or parts when the Patrol has not corrected problems.
‣ Conflict in the financial relationship with the Air Force includes the Civil Air Patrol’s practice of lobbying Congress for more funding if the Patrol disagrees with the amount supported by the Air Force.
‣ …some wings did not always follow Patrol policies and regulations regarding flying safety and asset management. Furthermore, the Civil Air Patrol has not determined how many aircraft and vehicles it needs to accomplish its missions. This raises questions about whether it has too few or too many aircraft or vehicles and whether they are located where needed most.
‣ …flight release officers sometimes authorized flights and then flew as passengers, in violation of the regulations.
‣ Fifty-five percent of the wings could not demonstrate that they did all the annual no-notice inspections required by Civil Air Patrol regulation to ensure compliance with safety regulations, and another 14 percent did not provide sufficient records for analysis.
‣ A Civil Air Patrol consultant concluded that to fulfill additional responsibilities, Patrol headquarters would need to hire about 60 individuals at a cost of about $6.4 million a year. Their responsibilities would include financial management, planning, information technology management, procurement, accounting, inspections, operations, professional development, and administrative and operational support; about half would be at headquarters and the other half at the wings. The Air Force and Civil Air Patrol had not agreed on the actual implementation costs and who would pay for these officials as of May 2000.
Civil Air Patrol Deficiencies Omitted from GAO Report
‣ No mention is made of the July 1999 FBI Raid.
‣ No mention is made of Civil Air Patrol’s many accidents.
‣ No mention is made of the cost to taxpayers for lawsuits filed against Civil Air Patrol regarding discrimination, accidents and child molestation.
This gentle, sugar-coated report only begins to expose the growing iceberg of accidents, fraud, waste, child grooming and molestation and other commander abuses that are still mostly concealed at this time. Who will speak the truth for the members who have been exiled and defamed by Civil Air Patrol commanders using the organization as a political tool and source of government cheese?
In 2005, five years after this creme-puff was released, former CAP-USAF Inspector General Lt Col Allan Stein published his biography in which the magnitude of Civil Air Patrol abuses were exposed along with the source of support for those abuses.
Here’s the money-shot from Into the Wild Blue Yonder: My Life in the Air Force:
It finally came to me why the Wing Commander, a CAP colonel who was an obscure air force reserve captain, had a mobilization assignment in Washington D.C. He was the senator’s “number one boy” who was buying votes for the senator with the misappropriated air force property. I contacted my commander and explained the situation to him…. the senator was too powerful… I left with political thieves openly stealing from the air force. While there have undoubtedly been some changes in the operations and control of the CAP, the principle is still the same: Get all you can from the government.
The full June 2000 GAO Report on Civil Air Patrol is here: