The Root of the Problem in CAP

By James K. Massey | Yahoo News

The real issue, not recognized by most, is that the CAP as currently constituted is a volunteer staffed, aviation oriented, community service organization. Whenever you have volunteer staffed organizations, the governance is always filled with those who said “Yes”. It is not, and can never be, a meritocracy. And when the investigative body is staffed in the same manner, then that body will automatically be filled with those who said “Yes” to the appointing authority.

Thus, it will be a rare thing to find an “uncorrupt” investigative arm (i.e. the IG). A truly independent and impartial investigative body would need to be chosen from professionals outside the volunteer staffed command line, and trained in and understanding of the volunteer staffed organization limitations (so most USAF retired or active duty staff could not just be called to the positions, sans training, because they do not understand the volunteer staffed structure).

In volunteer staffed organizations, people say “Yes” for a myriad of reasons. Nearly all of them are not due to a simple desire to “be of service to my community, state, and nation.” In CAP, with its USAF style uniforms, awards, and rank structure, egos often play a BIG part. And egotism in the hands of the incompetent often results in the petty tyrannies we have all experienced at one time or another.

At some point this leads to MOST of the competent and sane simply voting with their feet to spend their “volunteer” time elsewhere. I saw it dozens of times. I have recruited many highly competent members and watched the result. I have let the pettiness and incompetence slide because I knew those working with me were performing great works.

But eventually, those in command, driven by ego and fear, see all the competent as threats and do what they can to “drive” them out if they won’t leave of their own free will. The result is some trying their hardest to do good work in an organization they can see has great potential but from which they can only see failed leadership and incompetence. The ones who try hardest start out trying to “change from within”, but if there is enough incompetence in the command chain they then try to exert external forces for change.

When that fails, even the best accept the situation and either stop trying or leave. So nothing changes, and no sane individual should expect any such change except in very limited geographic and/or temporal contexts.

That is the root of the problems in CAP.

James K. Massey, Lt Col, CAP
Spaatzen #188, Retired

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