[Editor’s Note: We received this today from a CAP member. Thank you for your contribution.]
The walling off of Civil Air Patrol from the U.S. Air Force and making it a private corporation has encouraged the ugliest qualities of both types of organizations.
1. As CAP mimics USAF – it has allies in high places who think themselves unpatriotic and disloyal if they question the status quo. This goes for members too. They are drones. They are used by CAP as a body of voters, loyal members, activists, and lobbyists. CAP uses us in this context more than using us as responders. As such we are a feather-bedded anachronism.
When I was in the USAF, there were over 1 million airmen. Now there are less than 500K. However, the AF is a much more effective organization because of training, equipment, and technology.
CAP is NOT. It is effective because its members are a political force. Not in over-all numbers, but in uniforms worn doing good deeds, presentation, cadet rearing, avocation, and public relations.
The Air Force has a hierarchy with the President at the top. However, it isn’t closed to political pressure as moms and dads of airmen can be enlisted to advocate on behalf of their USAF kids (through their Congress-person) for better healthcare, benefits, food, etc, etc.
However, since CAP is independent of the Air Force we advocate and support them, funnel our cadets into their programs, but don’t really make much of a difference as a SAR organization. Aerial robots/drones will supplant our last vital mission sooner than later.
So CAP is politics more than service. CAP is more uniform than mission. CAP is a pretender.
I don’t think CAP is bad. I do think it isn’t much good. It is kind of like graffiti. Some of it is pretty artistic. Some of it isn’t anything more than announcing the presence of an otherwise invisible person, and some of it is destructive.
2. As CAP mimics corporations – Self preservation is part of all strategic planning. For the sake of shareholders that is good. For the sake of misbehaving management that is bad. Often management will confuse these two characteristics as they think themselves more important than the organization.
When this occurs the management surrounds itself with yes men. It becomes insular. It becomes defensive. It loses its dynamic presence. It is no longer making customers, friends, or providing value. It is hanging on for dear life. It isn’t much good for anything, but surviving.
So that is what CAP looks like today.