12:00 PM

CAP Making Annual Trek to Capitol Hill for Legislative Day

Before Civil Air Patrol’s Command Council convenes in the nation’s capital this week for its annual winter meeting, CAP senior leaders and cadets will gather Thursday on Capitol Hill for Legislative Day to share with members of Congress some of the organization’s outstanding accomplishments in the past year and thank them for their continued support.

Delegations from each CAP's 52 wings -- the 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico -- use their meetings with federal lawmakers to deliver CAP’s 2018 Report to Congress and brief them on CAP’s primary missions of emergency services, aerospace education and cadet programs.

“Civil Air Patrol’s over 61,000 members provide outstanding service to America on a daily basis,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, CAP’s national commander and CEO.

As the U.S. Air Force auxiliary performing missions for federal government agencies and a nonprofit helping states and communities, CAP is an organization of “national interest” to Congress. Fiscal 2018 was a record year for CAP, with 158 lives saved and over 89,000 hours flown on a wide range of Air Force-assigned missions, including emergency response and disaster relief, homeland defense and homeland security, support for state and local programs and youth orientation flights.

In addition, the organization helped 320,000 cadets and non-CAP students learn more about aerospace and STEM careers. Eighty percent of those young people have expressed greater interest in seeking STEM careers because of CAP’s efforts.

“Civil Air Patrol saves the government tens of millions of dollars when supporting these critical missions with its own aircraft that average $165 per hour versus thousands for military aircraft,” said Smith, adding that CAP’s volunteer service to communities, states and the nation in the past year was valued at more than $187 million. “Overall, CAP’s return on the government’s investment is more than 4-to-1, which is an exceptional value.”

Smith will lead CAP’s Command Council meeting on Friday and Saturday. In addition to the national commander, the council consists of CAP’s national vice commander, executive officer and CAP’s eight region commanders, as well as its 52 wing commanders. CAP’s chief operating officer and the CAP-U.S. Air Force commander, the command chief master sergeant, national inspector general and national chief of chaplains serve as advisers to the council.

The council’s agenda features a presentation Friday by Damon Penn,  the assistant administrator for FEMA’s Response Directorate. Also on the agenda are reports from the national commander’s working groups plus updates on operational missions, aerospace education/STEM, cadet programs and information technology.

Throughout the week, the focus will be on the organization’s many accomplishments over the past year. During fiscal 2018, CAP members:

  • Assisted in 96 disaster relief and other state support missions across the country, from small storms to major events like hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and even volcano eruptions.
  • Served as “tracks of interest” for air defense intercept training and evaluations, flying 1,636 hours on 861 sorties as part of 251 missions.
  • Expanded Remote Piloted Aircraft (RPA) escort operations to include Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Texas. Crews from across the country flew in New York and Texas two to six days a week as needed by the Air Force units conducting RPA operations.
  • Continued support for Joint Task Force North and Customs and Border Protection along the southern border, amassing 3,540 hours on 1,447 sorties.
  • Increased CAP’s capacity to respond to emergencies and missions for the Air Force by conducting 1,101 training missions in which 19,217 sorties were flown for 24,508 hours. This resulted in 34,732 CAP airmen becoming qualified or maintaining qualification, an increase of 1,972 personnel qualified to federal standards to support operations.
  • Reached 637 teachers and 34,225 students in 48 states and 210 schools through the Aerospace Connections in Education’s K-6 grades STEM lesson plans.
  • Increased aerospace education member enrollment from 3,100 to 4,200, significantly expanding CAP’s STEM curriculum outreach nationwide to over 400,000 non-CAP students.
  • Built cadet membership to an 18-year high, with more than 26,000 youth now enrolled.
  • Inspired youth interest in aviation through powered and glider orientation flights for not only CAP but also Air Force ROTC and Junior ROTC cadets. Almost 32,000 orientation flights were flown for CAP cadets, as well as 1,043 for ROTC cadets and 2,437 for Junior ROTC cadets for an all-time high of 35,316 cadets flown.
  • Implemented a new evidence-based physical fitness initiative, aligned with the Presidential Youth Fitness Program standards.

More information is available in individual wings’ Legislative Day reports.