CAP Headquarters & USAF Liaison Officers Reorganize

CAP Brig Gen Richard L. Anderson
CAP Brig Gen Richard L. Anderson

By CAP National Headquarters News

MAXWELL AFB, AL – Reorganization is alive! Following several years of preparation and planning the Congress provided the needed legislation to make CAP’s and CAP-USAF’s reorganization a reality. Both groups view the reorganization as a positive change in their relationship.

Civil Air Patrol and CAP-USAF, the Air Force active duty headquarters staff for CAP, began a reorganization program on Jan. 1, 1995. The Air Force will trim about 66 positions (10 officers, 24 enlisted, and 32 civilian) from CAP headquarters staff, eight Air Force positions from the region liaisons, and 104 military positions from the state liaison structure.

In place of the reduced Air Force staff, CAP will receive funds from the Air Force to hire a CAP or “corporate” headquarters staff. All restructuring actions are scheduled to be completed by Sept 30, 1996.

“This new staff of about 90 personnel can more effectively respond to our membership needs and program changes. Another major advantage of the reorganization is that we now have the opportunity to market our vast aviation resources and capabilities to more customers,” Col Paul J. Albano Sr, the new national administrator, said.

The Air Force has provided CAP with a National Headquarters staff and liaison representatives in each state, the District of Columbia, and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico since 1947.

Under the reorganization, the Air Force will drawdown most of the active duty and DoD civilian staff and transfer the headquarters functions and funding to CAP.

After restructuring, CAP will assume responsibility for daily program development and management, financial management and long range plans. A staff of 27 active duty military and DoD civilian personnel will remain at National Headquarters CAP at Maxwell AFB, Ala. They will continue liaison duties with CAP, provide program oversight, initiate major equipment purchases, audit CAP activities and support the remaining staff and field personnel.

The revised wing liaison structure converts all active-duty Air Force personnel in CAP Wings to retired Air Force positions under new statutory guidance authorized by Congress. The program is modeled after the high school Junior ROTC concept. The new retiree positions will continue to provide oversight, through technical advice and assistance, and a broader interface with daily CAP Wing operations. This new structure should also provide improved continuity as liaison personnel would not be subject to normal Air Force movements and retirements.

During a recent interview, Air Force Col Ronald T. Sampson, CAP-USAF Commander commented, “We (Air Force) listened when you (CAP Wing Commanders and members) said you could use more assistance and less advice. We believe that this new support structure will provide that assistance to the daily operation at the Wing Headquarters.”

“We took a long look at the Air Force liaison structure and these changes represent a good balance between the need for Air Force oversight and the more hands-on role of the liaison personnel requested by CAP Wings.”

Colonel Sampson said the reorganization is also a cost saving measure but that Air Force support should remain at the same level. It is estimated that the Air Force will save about $2.5 million a year in changes to the wing liaison structure, and an additional $200,000 per year in changes to its headquarters.

CAP National Commander Brig Gen Richard L. Anderson voiced his support for the changes. “Civil Air Patrol remains committed to serve as the Air Force auxiliary, continuing its primary missions of emergency services, aerospace education and cadet programs. The Air Force staff has served CAP admirably and now we have the golden opportunity to shape the destiny of our organization….I am convinced we are ready for the challenge!”

Last July, General Anderson announced the creation of a National Commander’s Select Working Group for Headquarters CAP Reorganization. The NCSWG, comprised of Colonels Andrew Skiba, chairman; Richard Bowling, Tennessee Wing Commander; Nicholas Knutz, North Central Region Commander; Robert Payton, Great Lakes Region Commander and Paul J. Albano, Sr, then-Southeast Region Commander was tasked to propose the structure for the revised HQ staff.

In November 1994, the National Executive Committee approved the group’s plan that is described as basically a flat organization with eight directors tasked for the functions. Directorships include: operations; cadet programs, education and training, finance, personnel and human resources, plans and requirements, marketing and public affairs, and mission support services. All the directors are expected to be on-board for the February National Board Meeting.

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