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April 12, 2006



The Iowa Wing is appreciative of MG Dardis for recognizing our partnership in the State of the Guard address to the Iowa Legislature. He is correct! We have a very close relationship with the National Guard and Iowa's Homeland Security Emergency Management Division (HLSEM)

Three years ago we realized that if we were to do missions other than routine ELT's we needed to foster a close working relationship with the Army National Guard and Iowa's HLSEM.

Others have commented, and they are correct, that emergency services and disaster relief are best handled at the local level. In studying NIMS you will learn that this is Cardinal Rule No. 1. Unfortunately USAF or CAP-HQ is not at the local level but your state national guard and emergency management division is.

I won't bore you with the details but suffice it to say that through our three year strategic effort we are now partners and major players with the Iowa National Guard and HLSEM in the delivery of emergency services. As chief of staff,I reguarily meet with and brief the joint chiefs of staff of the Iowa National Guard as well as meet and liase with the Guard's JA; other CAP officers sit on the HLSEM planning committees, the SAR Task Force and the Governor's Task Force on Communication Inter-Operabiity.

With the help of the Guard and HLSEM we have special legislation that provides us with the state tort claims and workers compensation; the Guard houses us and maintains and funds our HQ at the Guard HQ and provides us with two liaison officers.

We have a "seat" in the State Emergency Operations Center and can and have activated it when necessary.

Last year we received $100K in funding from the legislature. This year we are in the Guard's budget before the Legislature for another $100K and additional special legislation tht would require employers to give our officers (notice I didn't say "senior members") mandatory leave of absence when we are activated. HLSEM has put numerous equipment grants for us.

What do they want in return? Simple! They want us to be what we say we are. A highly trained and professional body that donates its time and talent (and occassional treasure) to providing efficient emergency services and disaster relief to Iowans at an economically advantageous cost. They want us to train their people, law enforcement and local emergency managers. They want our training to not only meet CAP standards, but NIMS, NASAR and Coast Guard standards...and they are willing to pay for it. In essence they want us to be their alter ego so they have the confidence to know that the job is being done professionally and correctly. It's a VERY BIG expectation.

This is not unique to Iowa. You can do the same thing in your state All you have to do is deveope a strategic plan for your Wing that includes National Guard and Emergency management initiatives. Your JA is the KEY person. As lawyers we know the system and who the high level players are in state government. If not we know those who do.

Obviousy the IAWG is ready to advise any Wing that wants our assistance.

The goal is to provide high quality and efficient emergency service to the public at an economically advantageous cost. The only way to accomplish the goal is to leverage CAP. While USAF may be charged nationally with SAR, SARs don't occur nationally...they occur locally and that's where the National Guard comes in.

Lt.Col. Nick Critelli CAP
Chief of Staff
Iowa Wing


Colonel Nick:

I know you didn't want to bore us with details, but I assume that the core of the CAP-Iowa Guard relation is an MOU. I'm curious as to how you are able to incorporate Homeland Security missions into CAP and still not run afoul of the Posse Commitatus Act.

I'm not a lawyer, (but I play one on TV) so I'm not sure that an MOU with the Guard would make CAP enough of a Guard asset so that the PCA would not apply to our operations.

Or, maybe it would.

Lamh Dearg

Lt Col. Critelli, many thanks for your comments and heads-up on your activity with the Guard in Iowa. Perhaps your strategy can be adopted as "best practice" across all wings, and then this type of relationship becomes common-place, rather than the exception.

Since Col. Hodgkins was so gracious to blog with us here recently maybe CAP-USAF (State LOs) can become involved in at least a "cheer leader" role to support and talk up this initiative nationwide.

Major Carrales

I don't want to rock any boats, but I think this "temporary" Air Force Auxiliary/ Corporate Identity status may have opened an unexpected "can of worms."

If CAP is "chartered" by a State government as the "Corporation," what exactally does that mean?

We may need to draft more regulations to deal with that growing changing role.


Major C:

We are Federally chartered as a corporation, so we do not need to be chartered in individual states. The Wing Commander, as a corporate officer, has the authority to sign agreements, contracts, leases, MOU's and other documents on behalf of the corporation as they affect his wing.

I think we can use the corporate structure and identity to our benefit in this case. Since I was informed that a complete reorganization of CAP placing NHQ under the National Guard Bureau won't happen, we can still accomplish 80 to 90 percent of the benefits by entering into MOU's with state Adjutant Generals.

That's why I was asking if CAP, when operating pursuant to an MOU with the guard would be considered a "Guard Asset" and therefore exempt from the Posse Commitatus Act.

An MOU could also provide for access to ANG bases and Army NG armories for meetings. States would be free to pass state laws making CAP members a part of the "Organized Militia" and therefore extend state-level employment protection for CAP members called up to assist the National Guard in emergencies.

Hmmmm... It seems that gradually, a "Plan B" is starting to develop!

(ATTENTION: Any of you guys at NHQ smart enough to read this blog: Why not call Iowa, and I think Kentucky to get the MOU's they have with their state NG, and start developing a "Model" MOU for the rest of the country?)

The whole idea of placing CAP under the NG was NOT just to get around the Posse Commitatus Act, but rather to maintain unity of command in an emergency. All military assets should be under one military commander, and that commander, by law in all 50 states, is the Adjutant General.

We have entered into MOU's with State EMA's and FEMA, but I think we should distance ourselves from them. We were broken off from Civil Defense in 1943 (I think) for a reason. We should not voluntarily return under the umbrella of their administrative successors. Also, in most cases they are even MORE screwed up than we are!


OK you asked for "boring" here it is. Load up on caffine, try to stay awake and begin to read:

1. Like many Wings we tried to determine why we were not used or were an afterthought. While were on everyone's "list" with MOU's in place no one ever called. The problem was one of perception. State government operates on MOU's with third party vendors. It was considering CAP in that light, a secondary resource rather than a prime player in SAR, ES or DR. We needed to change this perception to be considered part of the primary respose "team". To do that we needed a fundamental change in the law that governs how state government responds to ES and DR. And that's what we did.

2. Changing law is a complex, expensive and time consuming endeavour. We approached it as we would a mission. We developed a two part strategic plan. The keystone of part one was a 2003 Senate Resolution honoring the Iowa Wing. (Google: Iowa Senate Resolution 39) This gave us legislative presence. The second part began in the fall of 2004 prior to the 2005 Legislature session. It consisted of the actual legislative initiative, i.e. drafting the law the way we wanted it to read (yes we cleared it with NHQ-JA in advance) discerned the people and process necessary to accomplish the legal change, defined tactics designed to educate the people about CAP, the value-added we bring to the state and the professionalism of our that corps, created a task force of our members from different disciplines to work with the various state departments and agencies that may have use of our services and and deployed a strike force to meet the governor, TAG and key legislative leaders. At the same time we also had to deal with appropriations. So we ran two pieces of legislation: the "Core" legislation regarding the state's use, maintenance and support of CAP and the "Appropriations" or funding. The Core legislation is Chapter 29A.3A of the Iowa Code.

3. However all the new law did was give us a "ticket to play." It elevated our status within the State and legitimatized our use by the guard and HLSEM. Remember it's people that make things happen. Working off of the contacts that we made during phase two of our strategic plan (the legislative initiative) we began firming up those relationships. Face time is all important. When faced with a crisis, duty officers will automatically default to who they know to try to get things under control. Only after that do they consult their "flip charts". In essence, to be a player you have to be in the inner-circle. Once you are there you are better placed to determine how best to fill their wants and needs and tailor our service to meet them.

4. Keep in mind all this comes with a great deal of responsibility. They place trust in confidence in CAP and you simply cannot let them down. They'll let you play ---but only if you play to their standards.

5. Lastly perception is everything. We were constantly fighting ghosts from the past. As one Col. put it to me last week, a whole year of "atta-boys" can be lost with one "oh sh_t." Migrating our personnel and operations to co-exist with theirs is a delicate operation. It has nothing to do with our volunteer status; it has everything to do with our state of mind. We do not consider ourselves "volunteers" or "senior officers". We consider ourselves unpaid professionals who donate our time, talent and treasure back to our communities. We are a patrol composed of "officers" and "cadets." We are proud of our patrol 131 of whose initial members gave their lives doing duty for the AAC in WWII. And we are proud of the fact that we are older than the USAF. Why the hype? Because that's what it takes to motivate our people to train to a high professional standard and to generate the appreciation of our hosts: the national guard and HLSEM. Our image is wrapped up in how we view and think about ourselves.

6. Our latest experiment is with "embedded" squadrons. One of our newest squadrons is actually embedded with an Air Guard Wing. At THIER request we drill and train with them. It has exciting potential.

7. Regarding the PCA, we do no law enforcement work. Other than CD, our work is limited to ES and DR. As you know the PCA is in a state of confusion. The Attorney General has issued a legal opinion that is interpreted to mean that it does not apply to organizations such as CAP. However CAP has pre-empted the statutory PCA adopting its concepts in our CAP regulations. I suspect that the National Board will be looking into that soon.

The PCA issue arises in the context of Amber Alerts. Just when we can be of the most value, we are not able to deploy. Our relationship with the NG and HLSEM has caused our state government leaders to begin discussing an effort to eliminate PCA as a prohibition in this type of situation.

8. My view is that CAP works best at the state level. We are culturally aligned with the National Guard. Like us they wear two hats: a Title 32 and a Title 10 hat. We, of course wear a Title 10 and a corporate hat. Like the Guard our mission is community service based: floods, tornadoes, SAR, etc.

9. Lastly...( wake up Col. Hodgkins this one's for you) our relationship with CAP-USAF is an extremely important element of our relationship with the National Guard and HLSEM. We are NOT just another do gooder organization. CAP-USAF inspections and assistance give us the mark of quality assurance that brings comfort to state government. We need to learn to leverage and market those SAVs and CIs to our advantage. they are valuable currency to our credibility.

OK anyone still awake out there? Lesson No. 1 never, never ask a lawyer for more information. Remember we sell words for a living. Lesson No. 2. Never ask a braggart to brag about hisself...and for that I apologize and extend an offer of help as recompense.

Lt.Col. Nick Critelli CAP
Chief of Staff
Iowa Wing


Infantry Rules for Gunfighting:# 3 and 4,

3. Have a plan.
4. Have a backup plan, because the first one probably won't work.

Plan B is looking up.

Colonel Critelli, you are the king.

On a serious note, it is somewhat disturbing that this model has not become SOP from NHQ. It has been what amounts to a closely guarded secret to the rest of us.

Lamh Dearg

Col. Critelli - not boring at all, Sir!! All fantastic stuff as far as I am concerned - Thank you for taking the time to present how your strategic plan played out and some background on it.

With this type of arrangement in place in each wing we will be in a much better position to tailor training towards specific real-life scenarios; in other words be able to more closely define what our training mission profiles should be, to be more able to more effectively (and confidently) execute when the real thing happens and we are called upon.

What I have found over time is that members typically are keen to train, but to what specific end (ie mission objective & rationale - SAR/DR, HLS????) can be harder to define - longer term this unfortunately can lead to disallusionment and then, attrition - This type of initiative will help address that and I believe would lead to a swelling of our ranks, as opposed to the recent contraction.



I am awake.

For details on a "shell" MOU where your wing fills in the blanks, contact either the CAP/GC or the CAP-USAF/JA.

Col Russ Hodgkins

Jim Quinn


Now THIS is what I signed up for about fifteen years ago! Kudos to the IAWG and the other involved parties!

You guys have my utmost respect and admiration for a "job well did!"

Jim Quinn
Roberts' Raiders/Tyler Composite Squadron
Tyler, TX


Kudos to Col Critelli. A very well thought out plan and well executed. Like others, this was why I joined. I commend IAWG for the hard work invested to become a viable asset that is respected. Like was said.. image and appearance is what will make inroads and garner for us the respect so many of us have worked hard to earn. We are professionals and need to convey that to those who would use us as a resource.


So... When's the boring part?

Amber Alerts ARE important and should be a valid part of CAP-NG cooperation. But...

What about spotting looters and other ne'er-do-wells while on a DR mission?

Maybe I'm interpreting the law a bit simplisticly (Cops tend to do that), but if you are working for the NG, and the NG is not covered by PCA, then it seems to be a stretch that CAP would fall under the PCA.

Now IF the NG were to ask USAF Northern Command for CAP assistance, then we would be responding in our USAF Aux role, and yes, the PCA would restrict our actions. Being corporate in this case means we are a Guard asset, I think, maybe.

But now, we are about to unsheath a double-edged sword by going this way. It seems to me a short trip from spotting looters and Amber Alerts to actual security and law enforcement operations, especially in the environment of the War on Terror. I'm putting my Defense Information School-trained PAO hat on now. An unkind news media outlet like al-Jazeera, or CBS, MIGHT try to characterize employment of CAP assets as an indication of how desperate the condition of Amerca's defenses are that we have to resort to "Old men and the Hitler Youth" to see to defense of our Homeland.

I DO believe, and I've made the point before, that we belong as an asset of the National Guard for such reasons as unity of command in a domestic emergency, and proper coordination of air assets. But we must be careful and deliberate, and not allow our zeal to overwhelm good judgement.

Lamh Dearg

Iowa National Guard Responds to Tornado Disaster

Did Iowa CAP get any activity from this NG call up?

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