oversight

Homeland Security: Civil Air Patrol Involved in Certain Missions, but DHS Should Assess the Benefits of Further Involvement

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2012-11-01.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                United States Government Accountability Office

GAO             Report to Congressional Committees




November 2012
                HOMELAND
                SECURITY
                Civil Air Patrol
                Involved in Certain
                Missions, but DHS
                Should Assess the
                Benefits of Further
                Involvement




GAO-13-56
                                            November 2012

                                            HOMELAND SECURITY
                                            Civil Air Patrol Involved in Certain Missions, but
                                            DHS Should Assess the Benefits of Further
                                            Involvement
Highlights of GAO-13-56, a report to
congressional committees




Why GAO Did This Study                      What GAO Found
Homeland security partnerships may          The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) has performed certain homeland security missions for
grow increasingly important as fiscal       federal, state, and local customers, but devotes the majority of its flying hours to
constraints provide impetus for federal     training and youth programs. Several of CAP’s mission areas fit within the
agencies to look to partners for mission    Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) definition of homeland security, as
support. One partner is CAP, a              found in the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Report (QHSR)—a strategic
congressionally chartered, federally        framework for homeland security. For example, CAP disaster assistance and air
funded, nonprofit corporation with          defense activities relate to the QHSR mission areas of ensuring resilience to
approximately 61,000 volunteer              disasters and preventing terrorism and enhancing security, respectively. CAP
members that can function as the
                                            has performed some of these activities in support of DHS components, including
auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. CAP
                                            the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Customs and Border
conducts missions throughout the
United States, including counterdrug,
                                            Protection (CBP), and the Coast Guard, as well as state and local governments.
disaster relief, and search and rescue,     For example, CAP has provided disaster imagery to FEMA, performed certain
using mostly single-engine aircraft. The    border reconnaissance for CBP, and assisted the Coast Guard in providing air
conference report accompanying the          support during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. CAP has also performed
fiscal year 2012 DHS appropriations         homeland security-related activities for other customers, such as the U.S. Air
act directed that GAO study the             Force. For example, 9 of the 10 CAP wings GAO spoke with had participated in
functions and capabilities of CAP to        military readiness exercises where CAP aircraft provided mock targets for military
support homeland security missions. In      interceptor aircraft or ground-based radar. CAP’s participation in homeland
response to the mandate, this report        security activities accounted for approximately 9 percent of its fiscal year 2011
addresses (1) the extent to which CAP       flying hours, but the majority of its flying hours (approximately 63 percent) were
has been used to perform homeland           devoted to training and flying orientation, with the remaining devoted to other
security missions to date at the local,     activities such as counterdrug and maintenance.
state, and federal levels, and (2) the
factors that should be considered in        Several factors affect CAP’s ability to support homeland security missions, and
determining CAP’s ability to support        DHS and its components have not yet assessed how CAP could be used to
additional homeland security missions       perform certain homeland security missions. These factors—including legal
and the extent to which DHS has             parameters, mission funding, existing capabilities, and capacity—were issues
assessed CAP’s capabilities and             cited by the DHS components and Air Force and CAP officials GAO contacted
resources to accomplish such                that could affect CAP’s suitability for additional homeland security missions. For
missions. GAO reviewed laws and             example, as an Air Force auxiliary, CAP is subject to laws and regulations
guidance; analyzed fiscal year 2011         governing the use of the military in support of law enforcement, which, among
CAP flight data; and interviewed            other things, allow CAP to conduct aerial surveillance in certain situations, but
officials from DHS, the Air Force, CAP,     preclude its participation in the interdiction of vehicles, vessels, or aircraft.
and a nongeneralizable sample of 10         Similarly, while CAP’s existing operational capabilities—aircraft and vehicles,
of 52 state-level CAP wings.                personnel, and technology—position it well to support certain homeland security
                                            missions, they also limit its suitability for others. For example, FEMA officials
What GAO Recommends                         cited the role of CAP imagery in providing useful situational awareness during the
GAO recommends that DHS, in                 initial stages of some past natural disasters, while, in contrast, officials from CBP
coordination with the Air Force, cost-      and the Coast Guard noted limitations such as inadequate imagery capabilities
effectively assess the extent to which      and insufficient detection technology. Although the components we contacted
CAP can further assist DHS with future      provided varying opinions regarding CAP’s suitability for certain homeland
homeland security missions. DHS             security activities, DHS has not assessed CAP’s capabilities and resources or
concurred with the recommendation.          determined the extent to which CAP could be used to support future homeland
                                            security activities. By assessing the ability of CAP to provide additional homeland
                                            security capabilities in a budget-constrained environment, DHS in coordination
View GAO-13-56. For more information,       with the Air Force could position itself to better understand, and potentially utilize,
contact Carol R. Cha at (202) 512-4456 or   another resource to accomplish its homeland security missions.
chac@gao.gov, or Brian J. Lepore at (202)
512-4523 or leporeb@gao.gov.
                                                                                      United States Government Accountability Office
Contents


Letter                                                                                          1
               Background                                                                       4
               CAP Has Performed Certain Homeland Security Missions for
                 Federal, State, and Local Customers                                            9
               Key Factors Affect CAP’s Ability to Support Homeland Security
                 Missions; Assessment of CAP Capabilities and Resources Could
                 Inform Decision-Making                                                       14
               Conclusions                                                                    24
               Recommendation for Executive Action                                            24
               Agency Comments, Third-Party Views, and Our Evaluation                         25

Appendix I     Comments from the Department of Homeland Security                              27



Appendix II    Comments from the Civil Air Patrol                                             29



Appendix III   GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments                                         31



Tables
               Table 1: CAP Appropriations since Fiscal Year 2007                              7
               Table 2: CAP Imagery Platforms                                                 20


Figures
               Figure 1: CAP Cessna 182                                                         6
               Figure 2: CAP Fiscal Year 2011 Air Force Auxiliary Flying Hours by
                        Type of Mission                                                       10
               Figure 3: Examples of Homeland Security Missions Conducted by
                        Selected CAP Wings from Fiscal Years 2007 through 2012                12




               Page i                        GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
Abbreviations
CAP                Civil Air Patrol
CAP-USAF           Civil Air Patrol-United States Air Force
CBP                U.S. Customs and Border Protection
DHS                Department of Homeland Security
FEMA               Federal Emergency Management Agency
QHSR               Quadrennial Homeland Security Review


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Page ii                              GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
United States Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20548




                                   November 1, 2012

                                   The Honorable Mary Landrieu
                                   Chairman
                                   The Honorable Dan Coats
                                   Ranking Member
                                   Subcommittee on Homeland Security
                                   Committee on Appropriations
                                   United States Senate

                                   The Honorable Robert Aderholt
                                   Chairman
                                   The Honorable David Price
                                   Ranking Member
                                   Subcommittee on Homeland Security
                                   Committee on Appropriations
                                   House of Representatives

                                   The events of September 11, 2001, emphasized the concept of homeland
                                   security as a shared responsibility across a variety of federal, state, local,
                                   and private entities. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—in its
                                   2010 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Report (QHSR)—specified
                                   five homeland security mission areas: (1) preventing terrorism and
                                   enhancing security, (2) securing and managing our borders, (3) enforcing
                                   and administering our immigration laws, (4) safeguarding and securing
                                   cyberspace, and (5) ensuring resilience to disasters. 1 The QHSR report
                                   highlights the importance of partnerships among federal, state, local,
                                   tribal, territorial, nongovernmental, and private sector entities in
                                   accomplishing these missions, and, more broadly, in ensuring the safety
                                   and security of America and the American population. Such partnerships
                                   may assume increasing importance as fiscal constraints provide impetus
                                   for federal agencies to look to community partners to provide more
                                   support for homeland security activities.


                                   1
                                    DHS, Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Report: A Strategic Framework for a
                                   Secure Homeland (Washington, D.C.: February 2010). The Quadrennial Homeland
                                   Security Review Report outlines a strategic framework for homeland security to guide the
                                   activities of homeland security partners including federal, state, local, and tribal
                                   government agencies; the private sector; and nongovernmental organizations. For the
                                   purposes of this report, we have used the five mission areas in the Quadrennial Homeland
                                   Security Review Report to determine what constitutes a homeland security activity.




                                   Page 1                              GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is a congressionally chartered, private,
nonprofit corporation that functions as an auxiliary to the United States Air
Force when providing support to a federal agency. In fiscal year 2012,
Congress appropriated approximately $38 million to fund CAP. 2 CAP’s
membership includes approximately 61,000 volunteer members spread
across 52 wings located in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and
Puerto Rico. 3 Using mostly single-engine aircraft, CAP conducts a variety
of missions in support of federal, state, local, and nongovernmental
entities, including search and rescue, counterdrug, disaster relief, air
defense training, and communications support, among others. The
conference report accompanying the DHS appropriations act for fiscal
year 2012 directed GAO to study and report on the functions and
capabilities of CAP to support homeland security missions. 4 In response
to this mandate, this report addresses

    1) the extent to which CAP has been used to perform certain
       homeland security missions to date at the local, state, and federal
       levels, and

    2) the factors that should be considered in determining CAP’s ability
       to support additional homeland security missions and the extent to
       which DHS has assessed CAP’s capabilities and resources to
       accomplish such missions.

To determine the extent that CAP has been used to perform homeland
security missions, we analyzed CAP flight hours to determine the number
and type of homeland security missions conducted by CAP based on the
five homeland security missions outlined by DHS’s QHSR. Specifically,
we analyzed flight data from fiscal year 2011, as the most recent full year
of flight data available at the time of our review, and spoke with CAP wing
officials regarding their participation in missions over the last few years to
determine any trends in CAP’s participation in homeland security
missions for federal, state, and local customers. To assess the reliability
of these data, we spoke with CAP officials to gain an understanding of the


2
Pub. L. No. 112-74, § 8022, 125 Stat. 786, 809 (2011).
3
 A wing represents the state-level organization of CAP (including the District of Columbia
and Puerto Rico). A wing is composed of the wing headquarters and all units within its
geographical boundaries, including individual squadrons.
4
H.R. Rep. No. 112-331, at 963 (2011) (Conf. Rep.).




Page 2                               GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
processes and databases used to collect and record flight data and to
understand existing quality control procedures and known limitations. For
the purposes of our report, we found these data to be sufficiently reliable.
We also interviewed officials from DHS and its components, CAP
headquarters, 10 out of 52 CAP wings, and the U.S. Air Force. We
selected the 10 CAP wings based on their involvement in homeland
security activities in the National Capital Region, along the border, and in
disaster-prone areas. 5 While these interviews are not generalizeable to all
CAP wings across the country, they provided a range of perspectives
related to CAP operations and homeland security missions. Finally, we
also interviewed officials from the Department of Justice’s Drug
Enforcement Administration to discuss CAP’s role in counterdrug
operations as well as their views on CAP’s effectiveness during these
missions.

To determine the factors that should be considered in determining CAP’s
ability to support additional homeland security missions, and the extent to
which DHS and its components have assessed the capabilities and
resources of CAP to accomplish such missions, we reviewed pertinent
laws, regulations, and internal CAP guidance for any restrictions on
CAP’s activities, as well as selected mission paperwork and current and
past agreements between CAP and other organizations to identify
common parameters for CAP operations. In addition, we interviewed CAP
and Air Force officials regarding any specific mission approval criteria and
funding requirements, and analyzed flight data to determine any trends
that might reflect on CAP’s capacity to assume additional missions.
Further, we interviewed DHS components regarding their past
experiences with CAP during homeland security-type operations, their
overall assessment of CAP’s performance during these operations, and
their willingness to continue to use CAP for these missions based on past
experiences. We also interviewed DHS and component officials to identify
any assessments DHS or its components have conducted related to
CAP’s role in homeland security. Specifically, we spoke with officials from
DHS’s Office of Policy, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Coast Guard
to discuss their experiences and relationships with CAP as well as their
views on expanding CAP’s role in other homeland security missions. We



5
 Specifically, we spoke with officials from the Alabama; Arizona; Florida; Georgia;
Maryland; New Mexico; Texas; Virginia; Washington; and Washington, D.C. wings.




Page 3                               GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
                also interviewed Air Force and CAP officials and reviewed relevant
                documentation to identify past or ongoing efforts to develop formal
                agreements between CAP and DHS related to future homeland security
                assistance. We compared DHS’s efforts to assess CAP’s capabilities and
                resources with our past work on effective collaboration and on conducting
                assessments to determine the extent to which DHS had assessed CAP
                as a potential homeland security partner. 6

                We conducted this performance audit from March 2012 through
                November 2012 in accordance with generally accepted government
                auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the
                audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable
                basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We
                believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our
                findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.



Background

DHS’s Mission   In early 2010, DHS defined its mission and strategy for responding to
                homeland security threats. The result of this effort was the completion of
                the QHSR report––a strategic framework to guide the activities of
                participants in homeland security toward a common goal. One of the key
                themes of the QHSR report is the importance of sharing homeland
                security responsibilities across a variety of actors including federal, state,
                local, tribal, territorial, nongovernmental, and private sector entities.
                Emphasizing this shared responsibility, the QHSR report notes that in
                some areas—such as border security or immigration management—DHS
                possesses unique capabilities and responsibilities that are not likely to be
                found elsewhere. However, in other areas, such as critical infrastructure
                protection or emergency management, DHS mainly provides leadership
                and stewardship because the capabilities for these areas are often found
                at the state and local levels.



                6
                 See, for example GAO, Catastrophic Disasters: Enhanced Leadership, Capabilities, and
                Accountability Controls Will Improve the Effectiveness of the Nation’s Preparedness,
                Response, and Recovery System, GAO-06-618 (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 6, 2006), and
                Results Oriented Government: Practices That Can Help Enhance and Sustain
                Collaboration among Federal Agencies,GAO-06-15, (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 21, 2005).




                Page 4                             GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
History and Administrative   In December 1941, CAP was established out of the desire of civil airmen
Structure of CAP             of the country to be mobilized with their equipment in the common
                             defense of the Nation. Under the jurisdiction of the Army’s Air Forces,
                             CAP pilots were active during World War II, performing border patrol,
                             search and rescue, and emergency transport, among other missions. In
                             1946, CAP was established as a federally chartered organization. 7 In
                             1948, shortly after the Air Force was established, CAP was designated as
                             the civilian auxiliary of the Air Force, 8 and later, in October 2000, CAP
                             was designated as the volunteer civilian auxiliary of the Air Force when
                             CAP provides services to any department or agency in any branch of the
                             federal government. 9 CAP has three missions: aerospace education,
                             cadet programs, and emergency services.

                             As a nonprofit organization, CAP has a unique relationship with the Air
                             Force, which may use CAP’s services to fulfill its noncombat programs
                             and missions. The Secretary of the Air Force governs the conduct of CAP
                             when it is operating as the auxiliary of the Air Force and prescribes
                             regulations governing the conduct of CAP. CAP is embedded in the Air
                             Force’s command structure under the Air Education and Training
                             Command. 10 The Air Force includes CAP in its internal budget process,
                             provides technical advice to ensure flying safety, ensures that CAP’s
                             federal funds are used appropriately, and provides building space, among
                             other things. 11 CAP also has its own administrative structure governed by
                             a volunteer national commander, national vice-commander, and an 11
                             member Board of Governors. A paid chief operating officer manages
                             CAP’s headquarters at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama.



                             7
                              60 Stat. 346, 347 (1946).
                             8
                              62 Stat. 274, 275 (1948).
                             9
                              10 U.S.C. § 9442.
                             10
                               The Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command provides basic military training,
                             initial and advanced technical training, flight training, and professional military and degree-
                             granting professional education.
                             11
                               In October 2000 and October 2001, the Air Force and CAP finalized a joint Cooperative
                             Agreement and Statement of Work, respectively. The purpose of the cooperative agreement
                             was to clarify the relationship by specifying the Air Force’s and CAP’s responsibilities. The
                             statement of work specifies certain accountability and management requirements under the
                             cooperative agreement and permits the Air Force to temporarily restrict CAP wings from
                             receiving federal funds if the Air Force determines that CAP has inadequate control over its
                             resources.




                             Page 5                                 GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
                         However, the chief operating officer has no command authority over the
                         volunteers and assets spread throughout the United States.


Field Organization and   CAP is divided into eight geographic regions consisting of 52 state wings
Resources of CAP         (the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia). Each state wing
                         is divided into smaller squadrons, of which there are approximately 1,500
                         nationwide. CAP has more than 61,000 members divided between cadet
                         (26,725) and adult (34,693) members. 12 According to CAP officials, of the
                         adult members, there are approximately 3,000 active mission pilots. 13
                         Nonpilot adult members contribute to the organization in various ways,
                         serving as crew members, administering wing operations, and managing
                         cadet programs, among other things. CAP has 550 single-engine aircraft,
                         42 gliders, and 960 vehicles. Figure 1 depicts a CAP aircraft.

                         Figure 1: CAP Cessna 182




                         12
                           Cadet programs are for youth ages 12-20. Cadets are educated in four main program
                         areas: leadership, aerospace, fitness, and character development.
                         13
                           A CAP mission pilot is an individual CAP member authorized to fly CAP missions as well
                         as transport CAP personnel and equipment.




                         Page 6                              GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
CAP Funding and Mission   The majority of CAP’s operating budget comes from funds included in the
Approval Process          Department of Defense’s appropriation and designated by Congress for
                          CAP. CAP is included in the Air Force’s internal budgeting process and
                          submits each year a financial plan to the Air Force for consideration.
                          CAP’s financial plan is reviewed and adjusted by both the Air Education
                          and Training Command and Air Force headquarters. According to an Air
                          Force official involved with CAP’s budget submission, the Air Force
                          attempts to ensure that CAP receives at least the same amount of
                          funding it had the previous year. However, CAP is competing against
                          other Air Force priorities in the normal Air Force budget development
                          process. Still, according to the Air Force official, CAP often receives
                          additional funding from Congress above the Air Force’s request. For
                          example, in fiscal year 2011, Congress provided an additional $4.2 million
                          of funding above the Air Force’s request. See table 1 for CAP’s
                          appropriations since fiscal year 2007.

                          Table 1: CAP Appropriations since Fiscal Year 2007

                          (Dollars in millions)
                           Fiscal Year                                                                       Appropriations
                           2007                                                                                       $36.0
                           2008                                                                                       $33.7
                           2009                                                                                       $34.9
                           2010                                                                                       $33.8
                           2011                                                                                       $30.4
                           2012                                                                                       $37.7
                          Source: GAO analysis of U.S. Air Force data.



                          The funds in table 1 are used to reimburse CAP for some Air Force-
                          assigned missions, cover the costs associated with maintenance, and
                          fund aircraft and other procurement, including vehicles. For example,
                          these funds cover mission costs associated with some Air Force-
                          assigned missions, such as air intercept exercises and counterdrug
                          activities. CAP also receives mission reimbursement from other federal,
                          state, and local agencies. For example, in fiscal year 2011, FEMA
                          reimbursed CAP approximately $155,000 for a variety of disaster-related
                          missions. In addition, CAP receives funding from other sources
                          throughout the course of the year, including state appropriations,
                          membership dues, and member contributions. In fiscal year 2011, CAP
                          received approximately $3.2 million in appropriations from 37 states.
                          State funding is sometimes earmarked for a specific state activity, such
                          as disaster response. CAP also received in fiscal year 2011 $3,076,925 in
                          membership dues.



                          Page 7                                         GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
CAP can conduct missions either as an auxiliary of the Air Force or in its
corporate status. 14 Approximately 75 percent of CAP’s missions are
conducted in Air Force auxiliary status. While all missions in support of
federal agencies must be conducted in its Air Force auxiliary status, CAP
may conduct missions in its corporate status on behalf of state and local
agencies and nongovernmental organizations. CAP pilots are not
afforded federal protections when they fly in corporate status. 15

All requests for CAP operational missions––with the exception of
corporate missions and those for Alaska and Hawaii––are coordinated
through CAP’s National Operations Center and approved by 1st Air
Force. 16 Agencies requesting CAP support contact the CAP National
Operations Center with a formal request for support. The National
Operations Center works with the requesting agency and the CAP wing to
develop an operations plan, budget, and funding documents for the
mission. These are then forwarded to 1st Air Force, which conducts legal,
funding, operations, and risk management reviews to ensure that the
mission meets CAP requirements. Once these reviews are complete, the
Air Force can approve the mission and CAP can task its wings with the
assignment. CAP corporate missions undergo a similar review process—
wherein legal, funding, and risk reviews are conducted—but are not
routed through the Air Force for approval.




14
  Missions flown as the Air Force auxiliary must have a “federal interest.” According to Air
Force officials, the definition of “federal interest” was expanded after Hurricane Katrina and
can include such justifications as providing situational awareness to the Air Force,
monitoring of state situations by the federal government, or checking on the status of federal
buildings or land.
15
  When flying as members of the Air Force auxiliary, CAP pilots are covered by certain
federal protections, such as the Federal Employees Compensation Act. See 5 U.S.C.
§ 8141.
16
  These missions are flown under the authority of U.S. Northern Command, the joint
command responsible for the continental United States. CAP receives taskings from the
air component of Northern Command, 1st Air Force, located at Tyndall Air Force Base,
Florida. Missions in Alaska and Hawaii follow the same process, but are approved by 11th
Air Force (Alaska) or 13th Air Force (Hawaii).




Page 8                                GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
                            Our review of fiscal year 2011 CAP flight hour data and discussions with
CAP Has Performed           officials from 10 CAP wings show that CAP has performed missions that
Certain Homeland            fit within three of the five QHSR homeland security mission areas: (1)
                            preventing terrorism and enhancing security, (2) securing and managing
Security Missions for       borders, and (3) disaster response. 17 CAP missions related to these
Federal, State, and         areas have accounted for 9 percent of CAP’s flying hours; however, CAP
Local Customers             has devoted the majority of its flying hours (approximately 63 percent) to
                            training for these and other missions and cadet and Reserve Officer
                            Training Corps flying orientations. The remaining 28 percent of CAP’s
                            missions consisted chiefly of assistance to law enforcement for domestic
                            drug interdiction activities, such as marijuana crop identification, and
                            maintenance-related flights.


Air Force Auxiliary         CAP flight hour data for fiscal year 2011 show that CAP participated in a
Missions Include Some       variety of homeland security activities, but that a majority of the
Homeland Security           organization’s Air Force-assigned flying time was devoted to training and
                            flying orientation for cadets and Reserve Officer Training Corps members.
Activities, but Consist     Specifically, CAP devoted about 63 percent (46,132 hours) of its total Air
Primarily of Training and   Force-assigned mission flying hours to training and flying orientations. 18
Flight Orientation          Of the remaining 37 percent of Air Force-assigned flight hours, 9 percent
                            (6,575 hours) were dedicated to homeland security-related missions. For
                            example, CAP reported 2,583 Air Force-assigned hours devoted to air
                            defense, which includes CAP’s participation in the Department of
                            Defense’s low-flying aircraft readiness exercises and exercises for
                            training military pilots to intercept low-flying aircraft. These missions relate
                            to the homeland security mission area of preventing terrorism and
                            enhancing security. CAP also devoted 2,314 Air Force-assigned flight
                            hours to defense support to civilian authorities/disaster relief,
                            corresponding to the homeland security mission area of ensuring




                            17
                              The other two homeland security categories are enforcing and administering our
                            immigration laws and safeguarding and securing cyberspace.
                            18
                              Training includes flights to train CAP personnel in conducting operational missions.
                            Orientation flights for CAP cadets and Reserve Officer Training Corps members include
                            those in both powered and glider aircraft.




                            Page 9                              GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
                                         resilience to disasters. Figure 2 provides a breakdown of CAP fiscal year
                                         2011 flight hours by mission. 19

Figure 2: CAP Fiscal Year 2011 Air Force Auxiliary Flying Hours by Type of Mission




                                         Notes: Maintenance includes flights in support of aircraft delivery and pickup.
                                         For Surrogate Predator training, CAP employs modified aircraft to carry special full-motion in-flight
                                         video equipment that is used to help train U.S. military ground personnel in remotely piloted aircraft
                                         operations before they deploy overseas.
                                         Other homeland security missions includes flights CAP performed for federal, state, and local entities
                                         such as escorting naval vessels and reconnaissance flights related to safety planning (e.g.,
                                         determining potential evacuation routes) for various events.
                                         Some CAP drug interdiction missions, such as certain border reconnaissance, may relate to the
                                         QHSR homeland security mission areas of terrorism prevention and border security. However, most
                                         of CAP’s drug interdiction missions support inland crop detection efforts and are therefore presented
                                         separately in the figure from the homeland security–related missions.


                                         CAP headquarters and officials from all 10 CAP wings we spoke with
                                         generally concurred that the fiscal year 2011 flight hours are reflective of
                                         their activities in recent years—that is, training and cadet activities have
                                         accounted for the majority of their missions. CAP intends for its training


                                         19
                                           CAP reported a total of 102,565 total flying hours for fiscal year 2011. Of this amount,
                                         73,435 hours—or 72 percent—were Air Force auxiliary missions, depicted in figure 2. The
                                         remaining 29,130 flying hours consisted of CAP corporate missions, such as cadet flights
                                         and pilot proficiency and check rides (26,706 hours), and flights where Air Force
                                         personnel flew CAP aircraft (2,424 hours).




                                         Page 10                                    GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
                            and pilot certification missions to prepare its pilots and other volunteers to
                            perform homeland security-related missions. In addition, CAP wing
                            officials told us that they have modified training schedules to
                            accommodate the demand for real-world missions when they have
                            occurred—including those related to homeland security—and will
                            continue to do so in the future.


All 10 Select CAP Wings     Officials from all 10 CAP wings we spoke with said their wings had
Performed Homeland          performed missions related to at least one of the three QHSR mission
Security Missions for       areas covered by CAP for a variety of federal, state, and local customers.
                            For example, 9 of the 10 wings had contributed to preventing terrorism
Federal, State, and Local   and enhancing security by participating in military readiness exercises
Customers                   where CAP aircraft acted as mock targets for airborne interceptors or
                            ground-based radar. In most cases CAP aircraft acted as slow-moving,
                            potentially hostile targets that were identified, tracked, and escorted by
                            active-duty, reserve or state Air National Guard radar or airborne fighters.
                            Figure 3 shows examples of these and other homeland security missions
                            conducted by the 10 CAP wings during fiscal years 2007 through 2012.




                            Page 11                         GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
Figure 3: Examples of Homeland Security Missions Conducted by Selected CAP Wings from Fiscal Years 2007 through 2012




                                       As part of efforts to secure and manage the nation’s borders, 3 of the 4
                                       CAP wings shown in figure 3 that share a land border with Mexico or
                                       Canada were involved in various reconnaissance activities for federal
                                       customers that included flights over border regions to identify suspicious




                                       Page 12                         GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
activity. 20 For example, as shown in figure 3, the Arizona CAP wing
conducted reconnaissance for suspicious persons and vehicles in the
Barry Goldwater Air Force Testing Range, which is located on the border
with Mexico. Similarly, Texas CAP officials stated that they had
conducted border reconnaissance missions in support of CBP operations
along the state’s border with Mexico. According to CBP officials, these
reconnaissance missions were for monitoring, detection, and reporting of
any suspicious border activity observed. New Mexico CAP officials stated
that they had not performed any specific border-related missions in recent
years, but that they were interested in doing so and in the process of
conducting outreach to potential federal, state, and local customers to
offer their services in this area.

As part of efforts to ensure resilience to disasters, officials from 7 of the
10 CAP wings stated they had engaged in disaster assistance operations
for a variety of federal, state, and local customers. CAP wings provided
imaging technology for post storm damage assessments for the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, FEMA, and state and
local emergency management officials. Two of the 7 CAP wings that
indicated involvement in disaster assistance also stated that they had
engaged in reconnaissance for wildfires in response to requests from
both federal and state officials.

Officials from all 10 of the wings we contacted also told us they have
provided support to local governments (i.e., counties and municipalities),
including search and rescue missions. While search and rescue does not
strictly fit within the QHSR homeland security mission areas, DHS has
noted that search and rescue activities are often intertwined with and
mutually supporting of homeland security activities.




20
 The 4 border wings we met with included 3 along the border with Mexico (Arizona, New
Mexico, and Texas) and one along the border with Canada (Washington).




Page 13                            GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
                               There are several factors that may affect CAP’s ability to support existing
Key Factors Affect             and emerging homeland security missions, including legal parameters,
CAP’s Ability to               mission funding and reimbursement, existing capabilities, and capacity.
                               While some of these factors were cited by the DHS components we
Support Homeland               contacted as issues that could affect CAP’s suitability for additional
Security Missions;             homeland security missions, neither DHS nor the components have
Assessment of CAP              assessed how CAP could be used to perform certain homeland security
                               missions.
Capabilities and
Resources Could
Inform Decision-
Making

Several Factors May Affect
CAP’s Ability to Support
Homeland Security
Missions

Legal Parameters Guide CAP’s   As a volunteer auxiliary of the Air Force, CAP is subject to laws and
Mission Involvement            regulations governing the use of the military in support of law
                               enforcement and is thus limited in the types of support it can provide.
                               Specifically, the Posse Comitatus Act prohibits the Air Force and Army
                               from playing an active and direct role in civilian law enforcement except
                               where authorized by the Constitution or an act of Congress. 21 However,
                               federal law authorizes the military—and by extension, CAP—to provide
                               limited support to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. For
                               example, Department of Defense and CAP personnel made available to a
                               civilian law enforcement agency may conduct aerial reconnaissance, and




                               21
                                18 U.S.C. §1385.




                               Page 14                        GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
detect, monitor, and communicate on the movement of certain air, sea,
and surface traffic. 22

In providing support to civilian law enforcement agencies, CAP is
precluded from participating in the interdiction of vehicles, vessels, or
aircraft, or in search, seizure, arrest, apprehension, surveillance, pursuit,
or similar activity. 23 CAP is also unable to transport prisoners, contraband,
and law enforcement officers in direct support of an ongoing mission, or
when hostilities are imminent. 24 CBP officials told us that because of
these restrictions, CAP is unable to provide the type of support that is
necessary for some law enforcement activities. In addition, officials from
the Coast Guard noted concerns with CAP’s access to classified
information that may further limit the range of missions CAP can
support. 25 According to Air Force officials, the approval process for law
enforcement support activities involving the monitoring of air, sea, or
surface traffic is lengthy, requiring consent from the Office of the
Secretary of Defense. 26 Air Force and CAP officials noted that developing
standing agreements with law enforcement agencies could help enable
CAP to support such requests on shorter notice.




22
  The Department of Defense and CAP are limited to conducting these activities for air
and sea traffic within 25 miles of and outside the geographic boundaries of the United
States. For surface traffic, these activities may occur outside the geographic boundaries of
the United States and within the United States not to exceed 25 miles of the boundary if
initial detection occurred outside the boundary. Pub. L. No. 101-510, § 1004, 104 Stat.
1485, 1629 (1990) (codified as amended at 10 U.S.C. § 374 note).
23
  U.S. Air Force, Air Force Instruction 10-2701, Organization and Function of the Civil Air
Patrol (Jul. 2005, Incorporating Change 1, September 2006).
24
  CAP, Civil Air Patrol Capabilities Handbook: A Field Operations Resource Guide,
August 2010. There are some exceptions for contraband as long as a law enforcement
officer maintains the chain of custody.
25
  Air Force–assigned missions may require CAP personnel to have a security clearance
and the Air Force is to validate the number and levels of security clearances needed to
meet Air Force–assigned mission requirements. CAP members that have a valid and
current Department of Defense clearance from military or government service may also
use them when performing Air Force–assigned missions.
26
  Approval criteria for defense support to domestic law enforcement agencies are
specified by Deputy Secretary of Defense Memorandum Department Support to Domestic
Law Enforcement Agencies Performing Counternarcotic Activities (Oct. 2, 2003).




Page 15                               GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
Additional Homeland Security   CAP’s ability to provide support is often contingent on its customers’
Missions May Require           ability and willingness to pay CAP for its services—making the availability
Reimbursement                  of mission funding a key consideration in determining whether CAP can
                               support additional homeland security missions. Per Air Force guidance,
                               CAP ordinarily conducts missions on a cost-reimbursable basis. Typically,
                               any federal agency requesting CAP assistance through the Air Force
                               must certify that its request complies with the Economy Act, which
                               requires that requesting agencies have available the monies necessary to
                               cover the expense of the service being requested, among other things. 27
                               CAP’s reimbursement rate as of October 2012 was $160 per flying hour,
                               covering fuel and maintenance. 28 According to CAP and Air Force
                               officials, formal agreements between CAP and requesting
                               organizations—such as those that exist between some CAP wings and
                               state-level entities—can expedite the approval process by identifying
                               funding mechanisms prior to CAP support.

                               While CAP typically requires reimbursement for its support activities,
                               some of CAP’s missions are financed through federally appropriated
                               funds. 29 Some of these missions were identified by officials from CAP or
                               DHS components as areas in which CAP could provide further support.
                               For example, CAP has received since 2004 in its annual operations and
                               maintenance budget an allotment for counterdrug activities, and therefore
                               conducts many of its counterdrug missions at no expense to the
                               customer. Additionally, the Air Force funds through the CAP appropriation
                               a range of activities deemed to be of interest to the Air Force, including
                               inland search and rescue. According to CAP officials, CAP’s current
                               funding levels are sufficient to support these activities. However, an
                               increase in such unreimbursed activities could affect CAP’s ability to
                               respond to other missions supported by appropriated funds. For example,
                               CAP officials told us that, because of the counterdrug nexus, border
                               reconnaissance missions in support of CBP are also typically funded by


                               27
                                 31 U.S.C. § 1535.
                               28
                                 Several factors are important to consider when comparing CAP’s $160 per hour flying
                               rate with the operating costs of other federal air assets. These include (1) the capabilities
                               of CAP’s aircraft may differ considerably from those of other federal air assets; (2) CAP
                               pilots are unpaid volunteers; and (3) a higher operational tempo could affect CAP’s overall
                               maintenance costs and thereby increase the reimbursable amount.
                               29
                                 About 77 percent of CAP wings have consistently received state funding over 6 or more
                               of the last 10 years that is sometimes earmarked for specific purposes, including certain
                               missions, programs, or procurements.




                               Page 16                               GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
                                  the CAP operations budget instead of reimbursed by the customer.
                                  Consequently, an increase in such unreimbursed border reconnaissance
                                  missions—which relate to the homeland security area of securing and
                                  managing our borders—could diminish CAP’s ability to support other
                                  unreimbursed activities, such as counterdrug activities for the Drug
                                  Enforcement Administration and others.

Existing Capabilities May Limit   According to CAP and DHS officials, CAP’s existing operational
CAP’s Suitability for Some        capabilities—aircraft and vehicles, personnel, and technology—have
Homeland Security Missions        been sufficient to support certain homeland security missions, yet they
                                  may not be suitable for other types of missions. Recognizing this, officials
                                  from CAP headquarters told us that if DHS identified additional homeland
                                  security missions for CAP, it might be necessary to pursue additional
                                  resources or technologies.

                                  Aircraft and Vehicles
                                  According to CAP officials, the number and locations of CAP’s assets—
                                  which include 550 aircraft and 960 vehicles across 52 wings—could be
                                  conducive to conducting additional homeland security missions, which
                                  can originate at the local, state, and federal levels. CAP’s aircraft,
                                  primarily consisting of Cessna 172s and 182s, are capable of performing
                                  aerial reconnaissance and damage assessment, search and rescue
                                  missions, and air intercept exercises. FEMA officials told us that because
                                  CAP’s assets are geographically dispersed across the country, it has
                                  proven to be a flexible and timely resource to capture imagery in the first
                                  hours or days of an event. As an example, FEMA officials cited CAP’s
                                  support of the agency’s operations in response to Hurricane Isaac in
                                  2012, specifically stating that CAP’s imagery helped to establish
                                  situational awareness. CAP’s vehicles are capable of light transport of
                                  personnel and equipment, mobile communications, and ground damage
                                  assessment. Many vehicles are also equipped with radios that are able to
                                  communicate with CAP aircraft, which could enable a coordinated
                                  approach to air and land missions. CAP and Air Force officials stated that
                                  they would be open to repositioning aircraft and vehicles in order to meet
                                  demands associated with an increased homeland security workload and
                                  the needs of their customers.

                                  CAP’s standardized fleet does have functional limitations. For example,
                                  CAP’s single-engine aircraft have limited transport capacity. Additionally,
                                  CAP guidance prohibits sustained flight at an altitude of less than 1,000
                                  feet during the day or 2,000 feet at night. This limitation was also cited by
                                  Coast Guard officials, who specifically stated that during the Deepwater



                                  Page 17                         GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
Horizon incident, CAP was unable to fly certain oil tracking missions
because of altitude restrictions. A Coast Guard official further noted that
the range of CAP’s aircraft was limited over water—with aircraft being
required to stay within gliding distance of shore. CAP officials told us,
however, that CAP aircraft are able to operate up to 50 nautical miles
from shore under normal conditions, and that this range can be extended
for special missions.

Personnel
CAP officials stated that, since CAP is a volunteer organization, its
membership—consisting of 61,000 volunteers, including approximately
35,000 senior members and 11,000 crew members—constitutes its most
critical asset. According to CAP officials, CAP has standards and
qualifications for its member pilots and maintains online systems that
train, test, and track all aspects of crew qualifications. For example,
CAP’s mission pilots must possess a private pilot’s license with 200 flight
hours, and are required to complete training courses specific to search
and rescue and disaster response. Those performing specialized
missions are also subject to more stringent requirements. For example,
counterdrug mission pilots must (1) be qualified for emergency services
flights; (2) be current in a skill that has application to the counterdrug
program; (3) complete a national counterdrug orientation course and,
biennially, a refresher course; and (4) maintain a minimum of 20 hours of
participation in the program yearly. Many of CAP’s members have also
completed training in the National Incident Management System in order
to allow CAP personnel to integrate operationally with local, state, and
federal incident command structures. 30 Officials from some of the
customer organizations we spoke with cited the professionalism of CAP’s
personnel as a factor contributing to their success during past operations.
For example, the Coast Guard Director of Air Operations during the
Deepwater Horizon oil spill told us that CAP personnel conducting high
profile shoreline and oil boom patrols were well-organized.

However, limitations in the quantity and expertise of mission pilots exist
that may hinder CAP’s ability to support some activities. For example,
CAP’s membership includes 3,000 mission pilots, representing



30
  The National Incident Management System standardizes the process for integrated
emergency management and incident response operations by establishing organizational
incident management structures.




Page 18                            GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
approximately 5 percent of total membership. Although CAP has in the
past demonstrated its ability to temporarily transfer pilots to support surge
missions—such as during the Deepwater Horizon incident—it could face
challenges in increasing its support to sustained, long-term homeland
security missions, particularly if those missions were to occur in areas
with few mission pilots. Officials from CAP headquarters pointed towards
their past successes in supporting surge missions, but they also
recognized that there could be challenges associated with frequently
moving pilots to meet mission demands since the pilots are volunteers.
Coast Guard officials we spoke with questioned whether CAP, because of
its volunteer status, would consistently have pilots available to respond
when needed and raised concerns that CAP pilots have limited expertise
in maritime situations and do not have water survival training—both of
which could be important requirements for many Coast Guard missions.
According to CAP officials, however, 521 CAP crew members have
completed water survival training consisting of classroom instruction and
a swim test. 31

Technology
CAP’s current technological capabilities in terms of imagery and
communications may both enable and limit its ability to support additional
homeland security operations. CAP currently has a variety of imagery and
communications technologies that can be used during some homeland
security operations to provide ground and airborne communications relay
and to capture geographically identifiable still-frame aerial imagery, and,
in some cases, full-motion video. CAP’s nationwide communications
capability includes high frequency and very high frequency AM and FM
fixed, mobile, and repeater systems capable of providing connectivity
during local, regional, and national events. CAP officials told us that these
capabilities have in the past proved essential in maintaining
communications during geographically dispersed operations. Table 2
depicts CAP’s imagery platforms.




31
 These crew members consist of both mission pilots and observers.




Page 19                           GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
Table 2: CAP Imagery Platforms

 Imagery platform                          Description
 Advanced Digital Imagery                  Provides point-to-point transmission of aerial and ground
 System                                    georeferenced digital imagery, primarily via e-mail. The
                                           most widely available imagery system, with approximately
                                           100 units available nationwide.
 Airborne Real-Time Cueing                 Uses non-invasive reflected light technology to identify
 Hyperspectral Enhanced                    targeted objects and detect changes and anomalies in
 Reconnaissance                            images. Wing officials expressed mixed views regarding
                                           this system, noting its effectiveness during past missions,
                                           but also characterizing it as a problematic and aging
                                           technology that CAP no longer intends to support.
 Geospatial Information                    Capable of transmitting high-resolution still and video
 Interoperability Exploitation             imagery from the air over cell phone networks. Select
 Portable                                  wings have been provided this technology by the Air Force
                                           and National Guard.
 Predator Ball Imagery                     Full-motion video turrets found on select military
 Turrets                                   unmanned aerial vehicles. According to CAP officials, this
                                           equipment is currently affixed to two CAP aircraft, and is
                                           used by the Department of Defense for training exercises.
Source: GAO analysis of CAP information.



According to officials at the DHS components with whom we spoke,
CAP’s existing technologies are sufficient to support some of the
homeland security activities we have previously discussed, such as
disaster assessment. Additionally, officials from CBP told us that CAP
technologies could help further with detection and monitoring along the
borders, providing radio relay in remote areas, and gaining situational
awareness in areas not currently supported by other air platforms.
However, officials from CBP and the Coast Guard also commented on
CAP’s limitations in the border and marine environments, citing
inadequate imagery capabilities, incompatible communications, and
insufficient detection technology. Specifically, officials from CBP
commented that CAP is incapable of providing a live video feed to its
customers, capturing nighttime imagery, providing a video downlink of
reconnaissance events, and transmitting information securely. These
same officials emphasized that other technologies not possessed by CAP
nationwide, including radar, forward-looking infrared cameras, and




Page 20                                          GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
                          change detection capabilities, are critical in the border environment. 32
                          Coast Guard officials cited CAP’s inability to relay imagery in near-real
                          time and stated that its systems are not compatible with the Coast
                          Guard’s imagery or communications systems. As a result, the Coast
                          Guard has not coordinated with CAP regarding the expansion of CAP’s
                          role. Air Force and CAP officials recognized that CAP’s current
                          technology may not be suitable for certain missions and told us that if new
                          capabilities are needed to support additional homeland security missions,
                          requirements would be needed from DHS. CAP officials also noted that
                          1st Air Force has developed a requirement to modify or purchase 20
                          aircraft with capabilities including near-real time communications; video
                          and imagery transfer that is interoperable with federal, state, and local
                          responders; and sensors useful for locating distressed persons day or
                          night.

CAP’s Current Operating   According to CAP headquarters and wing officials, CAP has the capacity
Capacity May Allow for    to conduct additional missions, but some Coast Guard officials raised
Additional Missions       concerns about CAP’s readiness. CAP headquarters officials cite CAP’s
                          current operational tempo (i.e., the pace of operations) and overall
                          mission trends as factors that might position it well for an increased
                          homeland security role. According to CAP officials, CAP’s daily
                          operational tempo averages between 10 and 30 percent, leaving some
                          excess capacity. 33 Officials from all 10 of the wings we contacted similarly
                          indicated that their wings had capacity to support additional missions.
                          While capacity may differ by wing depending on the time of year and
                          ongoing operations, CAP officials also pointed to mission trends that may
                          increase CAP’s overall capacity and potentially allow for greater
                          involvement in homeland security activities. For example, as wireless
                          technology has improved, CAP’s participation in search and rescue
                          operations has steadily declined because victims in distress are able to
                          more rapidly and accurately transmit their exact position—through GPS-



                          32
                            CAP does not have radar, but does currently possess one forward-looking infrared
                          system. The Airborne Real-Time Cueing Hyperspectral Enhanced Reconnaissance
                          system, discussed in table 2, has change and anomaly detection capabilities. However,
                          CAP’s seven fully operational systems are nearing the end of their useful life, according to
                          CAP officials.
                          33
                             CAP’s daily operational tempo is the percentage of total possible missions being flown
                          based on the number of available aircraft and pilot availability. CAP’s goal is to have five
                          mission pilots per each available aircraft. CAP has not determined what level constitutes
                          its maximum operating capacity.




                          Page 21                               GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
                           enabled cell phones and locator beacons—to receive other assistance.
                           This shift has freed up additional time for CAP to conduct other missions.

                           Officials we spoke with from the Coast Guard expressed some concern
                           over relying on a volunteer organization like CAP because it does not
                           have the same readiness posture and response standards as the Coast
                           Guard. However, our discussions with these officials and the CAP wings
                           identified no instances in which CAP was unable to respond to a request,
                           or in which CAP was delayed in responding to a request because of a
                           shortage of pilots or other personnel. According to CAP officials, CAP has
                           also demonstrated an ability to surge in support of other agencies and to
                           perform continuous operations for a sustained period of time. For
                           example, CAP provided continuous support over 118 days during the
                           Deepwater Horizon incident. A Coast Guard official involved in this
                           operation corroborated CAP’s account of this operation, speaking highly
                           of its organization and ability to conduct missions. Also, while the Drug
                           Enforcement Administration is not a DHS component, officials from this
                           agency told us that they rely on CAP aerial communications and imagery
                           for approximately 2,500 counterdrug sorties per year and that they have
                           received positive feedback regarding CAP’s ability to conduct these
                           operations from their field agents. CAP officials stated that large
                           operations such as Deepwater Horizon do not necessarily affect CAP’s
                           ability to provide support in other areas throughout the year, but do
                           significantly reduce their operations and maintenance funds because
                           reimbursement does not cover these expenses. Further, while many of
                           CAP’s missions are preplanned, CAP and Air Force officials stated that
                           wings are tested biennially in a no-notice exercise, such as the
                           Department of Defense’s Ardent Sentry, to ensure that personnel can
                           assemble and deploy quickly to no-notice events.


DHS Has Not Assessed       DHS has not assessed CAP’s capabilities and resources or determined
CAP’s Ability to Support   the extent to which CAP could be used to support future homeland
Additional Homeland        security activities. The DHS concept of homeland security, as articulated
                           in the QHSR, is that of a national enterprise, requiring the collective
Security Missions          efforts and shared responsibilities of federal, state, local,
                           nongovernmental, and private sector partners, among others. As we have
                           reported in the past, ensuring that capabilities are available for such
                           efforts requires effective planning and coordination in which capabilities
                           are realistically tested in order to identify and subsequently address




                           Page 22                       GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
problems in partnership with relevant stakeholders. 34 Additionally, we
have also reported that achieving results for the nation increasingly
requires collaboration among many different entities, and that because of
the nation’s long-range fiscal challenges, the federal government must
identify ways to deliver results more efficiently and in a way that is
consistent with its multiple demands and limited resources. 35 However,
according to an official in the DHS Office of Policy, DHS has not
conducted a review to determine how CAP might be used by DHS or its
components, and DHS does not have a position on the use of CAP for
homeland security operations. Additionally, of the three DHS components
we contacted, only FEMA had taken steps to consider CAP’s suitability
for future homeland security activities and incorporate CAP in its
operational planning. Specifically, FEMA officials told us that they are
working with the DHS Science and Technology Directorate to develop
requirements for CAP imagery and that they have included CAP in
several of their disaster planning annexes. According to these officials,
simple technological upgrades could improve FEMA’s ability to integrate
CAP’s imagery into its operations. The other two components we
contacted—CBP and the Coast Guard—had not assessed CAP’s ability
to support their operations, but expressed reservations about using CAP
for certain activities, as previously discussed.

Officials we spoke with from CAP and the Air Force expressed support for
FEMA’s efforts to develop imagery requirements for CAP. CAP officials
told us that they were optimistic that this effort would provide insight into
how CAP could better support its DHS customers. Similarly, Air Force
officials stated that, in order to determine whether CAP could support
additional DHS missions, DHS would first need to provide them with
requirements for missions and also obtain a good understanding of CAP’s
limitations—particularly in the area of support to law enforcement. To that
end, CAP and Air Force officials told us that they have performed
outreach to DHS, CBP, and FEMA in an effort to inform these potential
partners of their capabilities and establish formal agreements that would
define CAP’s role in providing support to such entities. By establishing
such relationships and assessing the ability of CAP to provide additional
homeland security capabilities, DHS, in coordination with the Air Force,



34
 GAO-06-618.
35
 GAO-06-15.




Page 23                        GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
                     could position itself to better understand, and potentially utilize, another
                     resource to accomplish its homeland security missions.


                     DHS faces the difficult challenge of securing our homeland through a
Conclusions          wide range of missions from preventing terrorism, to securing our large
                     borders and shorelines, and planning for and responding to natural and
                     man-made disasters. Recognizing this challenge, DHS has emphasized
                     the importance of partnering with other federal, state, local, and private
                     entities to achieve its homeland security missions. Moreover, recent fiscal
                     constraints may compel federal agencies, such as DHS, to partner with
                     other organizations in order to accomplish their missions and achieve
                     their goals. CAP is one such potential partner, having performed various
                     missions since its inception in support of homeland security missions and
                     components. Several factors affect CAP’s ability to conduct these and
                     additional homeland security missions, including legal parameters,
                     mission funding and reimbursement, existing capabilities, and capacity. At
                     the same time, while some concerns exist among DHS components
                     about partnering with CAP, a cost-effective assessment of CAP’s
                     capabilities and resources, in coordination with the Air Force, could help
                     DHS to better identify whether CAP can assist with its future homeland
                     security missions.


                     To determine the extent to which CAP might be able to further assist DHS
Recommendation for   and its components in conducting homeland security missions, we
Executive Action     recommend that the Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with
                     the Secretary of the Air Force, cost-effectively assess how CAP could be
                     used to accomplish certain homeland security missions based on the
                     factors described in this report, including legal parameters, mission
                     funding and reimbursement, capabilities, and operating capacity.




                     Page 24                         GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
                     We provided a draft of this report to DHS, CAP, and the Department of
Agency Comments,     Defense for review and comment. DHS concurred with our
Third-Party Views,   recommendation, citing some challenges and constraints to the expanded
                     use of CAP for DHS missions as well as describing its plan to address our
and Our Evaluation   recommendation. Specifically, DHS stated that its Office of the Chief
                     Financial Officer (Program Analysis and Evaluation Division), along with
                     components such as the Coast Guard will consider how DHS can make
                     efficient and effective use of CAP and other aviation capabilities. In
                     implementing our recommendation, it will be important for DHS to
                     consider all of the factors described in our report, including legal
                     parameters, mission funding and reimbursement, capabilities, and
                     operating capacity, as we recommended. This action would then address
                     the intent of our recommendation. DHS’s comments are reprinted in their
                     entirety in appendix I.

                     CAP also concurred with our recommendation, noting that it is prepared
                     to assist both DHS and the Air Force in assessing how it could be used to
                     support certain homeland security missions. CAP’s comments are
                     reprinted in their entirety in appendix II. The Department of Defense
                     elected to not provide written comments, but did—along with DHS and
                     CAP—provide technical comments that we incorporated into the report,
                     as appropriate.




                     Page 25                       GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
We are sending copies of this report to the Secretary of Homeland
Security, the Secretary of Defense, CAP, appropriate congressional
committees, and other interested parties. This report is also available at
no charge on GAO’s website at http://www.gao.gov.

If you or your staffs have any questions about this report, please contact
either Carol Cha at (202) 512-4456 or chac@gao.gov or Brian Lepore at
(202) 512-4523 or leporeb@gao.gov. Contact points for our Office of
Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last page
of this report. Key contributors to this report are listed in appendix III.




Carol R. Cha
Acting Director
Homeland Security and Justice




Brian J. Lepore
Director
Defense Capabilities and Management




Page 26                        GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
Appendix I: Comments from the Department
             Appendix I: Comments from the Department of
             Homeland Security



of Homeland Security




             Page 27                            GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
Appendix I: Comments from the Department of
Homeland Security




Page 28                            GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
Appendix II: Comments from the Civil Air
              Appendix II: Comments from the Civil Air
              Patrol



Patrol




              Page 29                              GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
Appendix II: Comments from the Civil Air
Patrol




Page 30                              GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
Appendix III: GAO Contacts and Staff
                  Appendix III: GAO Contacts and Staff
                  Acknowledgments



Acknowledgments

                  Carol R. Cha, (202) 512-4456 or chac@gao.gov
GAO Contacts
                  Brian J. Lepore, (202) 512-4523 or leporeb@gao.gov


                  In addition to the contacts named above, key contributors to this report
Staff             were Chris Currie, Assistant Director; Kimberly Seay, Assistant Director;
Acknowledgments   Chuck Bausell; Ryan D’Amore; Michele Fejfar; Mike Harmond; Tracey
                  King; and Dan Klabunde.




(441063)
                  Page 31                                GAO-13-56 Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Missions
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