A Happy New Year From The National Commander

Dear Fellow CAP Volunteer,

Happy New Year to you! 2017 was an exciting and highly successful year for CAP. We have been praised by the Air Force, federal, state, and local agencies for our outstanding service. Our membership is growing, as is awareness and use of our capabilities by many existing and new customers. Our cadets and senior members alike have impressed a wide cross section of people, from local communities to the Secretary of the Air Force. 2018 looks to be an exciting year for CAP as well.

I wanted to take a little time to share with you what areas we are emphasizing in CAP at the national level, and what you can do to help us to be successful as an organization. Last September we rolled out six top‐level areas of emphasis for CAP. I’ve included them at the end of this message for your reference. What they all really boil down to are two related items – excellence and professionalism. You can’t have one without the other. At the national level, several cross‐functional working groups have been established to help us in different parts of these six areas of emphasis. Two examples are examining how we do aircraft maintenance, and how we can grow our in‐school cadet program. The working groups will finish their work in 2018, which will help us to move CAP to even higher levels of excellence.

What is even more important is what you can do, whether cadet or senior member, to help CAP to reach these higher levels of excellence. Again, the key words are excellence and professionalism. What are some practical things that you can do to help me, your fellow volunteers, and CAP as a whole? Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Be an active contributor in your squadron, group or wing, to the extent that your time allows. I know that, as a volunteer, your time is both limited and precious. We must not waste it. But your active participation will help your unit to be all the more effective.
  • Support your local squadron commander. I’m reminded of an old Western movie entitled “Support Your Local Sheriff,” starring James Garner. It’s a funny movie, and maybe you’ve seen it. I’d like to play with the title and ask you to “support your local squadron commander.” Squadron commanders have an essential job, but a tough one as well. Pitch in and help her or him and you’ll find that the many squadron‐level jobs can be done more effectively. Please don’t expect your squadron commander to do it all by herself or himself. The same holds true for cadet commanders.
  • Help us to have a healthy climate in each local squadron. Are visitors welcomed, or ignored? Are new members, or members new to their position, mentored so they can be successful? Does the squadron have a welcoming climate of inclusiveness, or is it cliquish? Every member plays a role in establishing a squadron’s climate. Do your part to help ensure that the climate is a healthy one.
  • Practice self‐improvement. For cadets, that means staying engaged and progressing through the cadet program milestones to the best of your ability. For senior members, that means advancing in your chosen technical field specialty tracks as well as professional development. Becoming more highly qualified helps you as an individual performer, helps your squadron, group, wing, region, and CAP as a whole.

Finally, be professional in everything you do and strive to perform your assigned duties to the highest level of excellence possible. That will help not only your local unit, but will also help CAP to achieve the higher levels of excellence we are working towards.

Again, Happy New Year! I hope that 2018 is a wonderful year for you in all your endeavors. And thanks for all you do for CAP.


Major General Mark E. Smith, CAP
Chief Executive Officer/National Commander
U.S. Air Force Auxiliary

One Civil Air Patrol, excelling in service to our nation and our members!

“Remain grateful and teachable. Be on guard for careless choices or comments. Listen well. Lead courageously.” Janine Metcalf