By Peter Van Dyke
[Editor’s Note: The following information was received from a reliable source within the CAP who would only speak on condition of anonymity. It is of interest as the opinion expressed by this author contrasts so sharply with Col Greenhut‘s recent statement that, for example, the DOD/IG report was “nothing to be concerned about.”]
This is Update #1 from the mid-term National Board (NB) meeting that began on Friday, 25 February 2000, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Virginia, telephone 703-920-3230. The meeting runs through Saturday. This data is current as of 1300 Eastern Time and is gleaned from telephone reports received from NB members at the hotel. These NB members who are reporting on events at their meeting believe in open communication, accountability by CAP National Leaders, and defeating CAP Brig Gen James Bobick’s proposal to abolish the National Board, reduce Wing Commander participation in national business, and assume unheard-of powers as CAP’s CEO.
The biggest concern at the Crystal Gateway Marriott is Bobick’s change to disband the National Board. Many NB members feel that Bobick has used poor judgement in his dealings with the Congress and the Air Force. In the opinion of many in Washington and throughout CAP, his leadership has critically injured the CAP. It has put the CAP in Intensive Care. It has placed the CAP on Life Support. It is now life-threatening to the CAP by “pulling the plug” on the Board of Directors that has governed Civil Air Patrol since World War II.
For weeks, Bobick has justified the disbanding of the National Board by saying that “the Air Force and Congress want it and we must comply if we are to survive.” NB members who are in contact with officials in Washington tell us that this is false. It is an effort by Bobick to assume total power for himself and avoid consulting the Wing Commanders. It also includes a Bobick suggestion at the last National Executive Committee Meeting that his three year term as National Commander re-start after passage of legislation and changes to the CAP Constitution and Bylaws.
National Board members report that the Air Force frustration with Bobick has slowed talks between the CAP and the Air Force for a year. This fits in with insider reports that the Bobick strategy would center around “waiting the Air Force out and wearing them down.” The Air Force thinks in private that Bobick should resign for the good of CAP, but has not publicly said so. They have confined such observations to private discussions because the Air Force is professional enough to not permit the dialogue to be filled with personal venom as was done by Bobick and his inner circle in early 1999.
NB members report to us that Bobick has misled the NB by withholding information over the last year. NB members have received scant information in the last year and doubt the accuracy of his reports.
Example Number One: In early 1999, he agreed with the Air Force to go under Office of Management and Budget Circulars. This was without the approval of the National Board. In April at our Emergency Board Meeting in Dallas, NB members remember the desperate look on his face when he wanted approval to make good on his promises to the Air Force. He could not tell the Board that he made unapproved agreements. At the same time, he could not withdraw the agreements he made to the Air Force. This is known to be true because of talks by NB members with people who attended these meetings with Bobick.
Example Number Two: Bobick withheld the true story of Executive Director Albano’s resignation. He failed to inform Senator Harkin and the NB, even though federal investigations are underway. Board members feel he has done so in a dozen cases. Bobick was aware of the reason for the resignation but chaired a vote of confidence for Albano and gave him the CAP’s two highest honors (Lifetime Membership in Civil Air Patrol and the Distinguished Service Medal). An emerging opinion on the NB is that both honors must be revoked.
On Thursday evening, Bobick spent much time attacking the CAP Advisory Committee. The Committee (ten ex-National Commanders) wrote the National Board on February 17th to warn about Bobick’s proposals. Bobick now claims two things.
First, he labeled the ex-National Commander letter as a hoax. When this was reported by telephone to other CAP generals on Thursday evening, many of them conferred by phone and issued a letter to the NB at the hotel. This letter certified the validity of the original letter.
Second, Bobick is now claiming that he does not agree with his own Constitution Committee. NB members report that Bobick told several of them weeks ago that he wants to dissolve the National Board because the Air Force and Congress want it done (AF and Congress deny this claim). Several members of the Constitution Committee have privately confirmed that almost every detail was ordered by Bobick. Bobick will probably put the National Board in Closed Session (his tactic in the past) and try to discredit members who disagree with him.
More updates will follow as the situation develops and NB members report results of the meeting at the Crystal Gateway Marriott. This situation is developing fast.
End NB Meeting Update #1.