Civil Air Patrol:

Proposed Agreements With the Air Force Are Intended to Address Identified Problems

NSIAD-00-136: Published: Jun 5, 2000. Publicly Released: Jun 5, 2000.

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Norman J. Rabkin
(202) 512-3000


Office of Public Affairs
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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO provided information on the Civil Air Patrol, focusing on the: (1) nature of the relationship between the Air Force and the Patrol; (2) Air Force's oversight of the Patrol; (3) Patrol's management and oversight of its own activities; and (4) plans to resolve identified problems.

GAO noted that: (1) the Air Force includes the Patrol in its internal budget process to determine what the Patrol needs and how much money will be available to support the Patrol; (2) the Air Force also provides technical advice to ensure flying safety; (3) the Patrol performs search and rescue and other flying missions for the Air Force, and the Air Force reimburses the Patrol for this service; (4) the Air Force oversees the Patrol to ensure that federal funds provided are used appropriately; (5) at times, the relationship involves conflict; (6) the Air Force and the Patrol initially disagreed over plans to reorganize the Patrol's board and could not even agree on a means for the Air Force to explain its position to the Patrol's volunteers; (7) conflict in the financial relationship includes the Patrol's practice of lobbying Congress for more funding if the Patrol disagrees with the amount supported by the Air Force; (8) nonetheless, the Air Force and the Patrol believe each get benefits from the relationship and want to continue it; (9) the Air Force monitors activities of the Patrol by reviewing its flight, financial, and logistics operations; (10) most of the personnel who monitor the Patrol's activities for the Air Force are Patrol employees who are at the Patrol's operating locations and receive their annual performance appraisals from the commanders whose operations they monitor; (11) when problems are brought to the attention of the Air Force, it has not always been able to enforce corrective action; (12) Patrol commanders do not have much incentive to aggressively enforce the regulations, and they have not exercised their authority sufficiently to ensure that all units follow regulations intended to ensure flying safety and accountability for assets; (13) as a result, the Patrol lacks assurance that all assets have been used safely and appropriately; (14) to improve accountability and oversight, the Air Force and the Patrol have proposed legislation to establish a new governing board for the Patrol; (15) the proposed legislation would also allow the Air Force to use personal service contractors to monitor the Patrol's operations at its various operating locations and to end reliance on Patrol employees for monitoring; (16) the Air Force and the Patrol also plan to implement a cooperative agreement to comply with the requirements of the Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act of 1977, which requires the use of a formal funding agreement; and (17) the agreement would also implement a statement of work that provides new flying safety and asset accountability requirements.

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