Civil Air Patrol

Overall Philosophy and Goals for the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program

Mission of Newman Academy 
Cadet Squadron, Civil Air Patrol  

The Civil Air Patrol (C.A.P) Cadet Program at Newman International Academy (NIA) transforms youth into dynamic Americans and aerospace leaders. C.A.P accomplishes its Cadet Program through a curriculum of leadership, aerospace, fitness, and character. The program follows a military model and emphasizes Air Force traditions and values. The NIA C.A.P cadet program is committed to excellence in academics and performance. We are dedicated to pursuing community service with Integrity, adhering to both NIA and C.A.P regulations and virtuous behavior, producing leaders in C.A.P and in life, and displaying the following traits of character: trustworthiness, respect, personal responsibility, respect toward all, and being good members of the community whether we are wearing our uniforms or not. Today’s Cadets are tomorrow’s aerospace leaders. We will model these behaviors as we come alongside our NIA colleagues in building the whole person for the whole world by raising Warriors of Wisdom, Stature and Favor. 

The NIA C.A.P cadet program is based on the premise that cadets are first and foremost students, and that program participation is a privilege rather than a right. NIA Cadets train not only to excel in service to their community, state, and nation, but also to handle success well and overcome adversity. 

The NIA C.A.P cadet program is structured with specific goals in mind for cadets at each level. All Cadets are required to properly represent NIA in and out of uniform in accordance with our Student Handbook and Code of Conduct, or they will not be afforded the privilege of representing NIA at C.A.P activities. 

The C.A.P Cadet Program has five key traits of cadet life that inform the desired look and feel of how cadet activities should be conducted.  

  • The Uniform. CAP promotes teamwork and high standards of personal conduct through the cadets being granted the privilege of wearing an Air Force-style uniform. The uniform and the related traditions of rendering military customs and courtesies distinguish cadets from ordinary youth. These military aspects of cadet life are important motivators. Every activity should allow cadets to wear their uniform and properly render military customs and courtesies. 
  • Aerospace Theme. CAP members often hold in common a love of flying. Aviation is the thread that runs through all three CAP missions, and CAP’s affiliation with the Air Force underscores its identity as an air-minded organization. Whenever possible, every cadet activity should further cadets’ enthusiasm for aerospace, as “aerospace” is broadly understood. With a little imagination, even fitness and character activities can be shown to have an aerospace connection. 
  • Opportunity to Lead. CAP develops leadership skills in cadets by giving them opportunities to lead. This includes planning events, making decisions, and teaching and mentoring junior-ranking ca-dets, commensurate with their developmental progress and grade. The cadets’ grade structure and military-style chain of command reinforces this leadership concept. Every activity should allow cadets opportunities to lead, under adult leader supervision. 
  • Challenge. CAP challenges youth. It might be the physical challenge of conquering an obstacle course, an academic challenge to master aerospace and leadership concepts, a moral challenge to live the Core Values, or a personal challenge to know oneself better and gain self-confidence. Because of these challenges, the Cadet Program is intended for young adults, not children. Every activity should challenge cadets in one way or another.
  • Fun. CAP should be fun. New friends and great opportunities are the hallmarks of cadet life. The cadets who work hard in CAP reap the most benefits, but the program should not be another form of school – it needs to be fun, hands-on, rewarding, and exciting. Proper adult supervision, an emphasis on risk management, and teamwork built upon mutual respect create a safe and fun environment. Every activity should be fun, for cadets and their adult leaders alike. 

Cadet Program Elements  

To fulfill its mission, the C.A.P Cadet Program is organized around four main program elements: leadership, aerospace, fitness, and character. Cadets participate in activities relating to these program elements. To advance in the program and earn awards, they must complete one task for each element per achievement, with some exceptions. 


  • Goal. The goal of the C.A.P Cadet Program’s leadership element is to develop in cadets the ability to think independently and lead others in an atmosphere of teamwork and mutual respect. 
  • Methods. CAP introduces youth to Air Force perspectives on leadership through self-paced study, classroom instruction, service learning, and other hands-on opportunities to apply leadership principles to real-world challenges. Adult leaders and ranking cadets acting as mentors and instructors help cadets develop their leadership potential. 
  • Resources. C.A.P Cadets use the Learn to Lead textbook, AFMAN 36-2203, Drill and Ceremonies, and CAPP 60-33, Drill and Ceremonies, as their main resources for completing promotion requirements. Adult leaders and experienced cadets act as instructors and mentors. Additional resources are available at 
  • Test Instruments. C.A.P Cadets must pass multiple-choice tests of their leadership knowledge to complete most achievements and earn milestone awards. Some tests require cadets to perform drill and ceremonies, or complete speech and essay assignments. Cadet officers demonstrate their understanding of organizational leadership through oral and written communication projects in the Staff Duty Analysis program. Cadet performance is compared against leadership expectations, statements describing leadership norms for cadets during each of the Cadet Program’s four phases. 


  • Goal. The goals of the C.A.P Cadet Program’s aerospace element are to inspire in youth a love of aviation, space, and technology; provide them with a foundation in aerospace’s scientific principles; and introduce them to aerospace career opportunities. Cadet “aerospace” includes the separate domains of air, space, and cyberspace. 
  • Methods. CAP introduces cadets to aviation, space, and technology through self-study and group-study methods, classroom instruction, hands-on learning, and career exploration. 
  • Resources. C.A.P Cadets study the Aerospace Dimensions modules during Phases I and II of the Cadet Program, and Aerospace: The Journey of Flight during Phases III and IV. Adult leaders and experienced cadets act as aerospace instructors and mentors. Cadets also have opportunities for hands-on learning through a wide range of curricula, activity programs, and orientation flights. A curriculum guide is also available. See 
  • Test Instruments. C.A.P Cadets must pass a multiple-choice test of their aerospace knowledge for most achievements and milestone awards.  
  • Goal. The goal of the C.A.P Cadet Program’s fitness element is to develop in cadets a healthy, active lifestyle. 
  • Methods. The Active Cadet Fitness Program includes classroom academic instruction; fitness activities, drills, and games for individuals and groups; high adventure and outdoor programming; and mentoring. Physical exercise in the Cadet Program will be used only to improve cadets’ physical fitness. Fitness training will not be used as a form of punishment or as a vehicle to teach remedial discipline. 
  • Resources. The primary resource is CAPP 60-50, Active Cadet Fitness Guide. Additional resources are available at 
  • Test Instruments. As new cadets join CAP, unit commanders assign them to the appropriate physical fitness category. CAP expects each cadet to exercise regularly and participate in the unit’s physical fitness program. 

  • Goal. The goal of the C.A.P Cadet Program’s character element is to develop in cadets an ability to think critically about moral and ethical issues and to develop a commitment to live CAP’s Core Values. 

  • Methods. CAP develops character in cadets through academics, service learning, and mentoring.

  • Key Content. Three topics receive special emphasis in the character element. (1) CAP challenges cadets to become ambassadors of a drug free ethic. (2) CAP encourages cadets to develop resilience in the face of adversity. And, (3) CAP equips cadets with risk management skills so they can fulfill their goals while keeping risk as low as reasonably possible. 

  • Resources. A variety of resources are available at including the authorized lesson plans for monthly character forums, drug-free activity guides, Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation character resources, and a curriculum guide for the character development program as a whole. See 

  • Evaluation Instruments. C.A.P. Cadet participation in character forums is monitored informally by the senior instructor. Moral reasoning skills are evaluated through speech and essay assignments for Achievement 8 and the Eaker and Spaatz Awards. Most importantly, leaders observe cadets' outward signs of moral character throughout their participation in the Cadet Program. The cadets' adherence to the Core Values is discussed during leadership feedback meetings. 

Program Phases

The C.A.P Cadet Program is organized around four phases of learning. They are progressive in that the subject matter gradually becomes more challenging, learning objectives become more exacting with cadets growing from proficiency to mastery, and a broader set of opportunities become available to cadets as they advance. Participation in the lower phases builds the foundation necessary for success in the higher phases. Table 1.1 outlines learning goals and content areas by phase.

CAP Phrases Chart