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Ohioguard
Recruit

Posts: 49

« on: January 23, 2018, 04:08:39 PM »

Did you know?! Civil Air Patrolís cell phone forensics teamís success in finding missing people, often in record time, attracts an increasing number of missions each year. To date the cell phone forensics team has conducted over 1,300 missions and saved 372 lives over the past 11 years.

The cell phone forensics team was just credited with 69 saves on one mission yesturday.  They help locate a missing boat off of the Bahamas.

I have been a member of this organization for 50 years, this has to be a record.


JCW
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grunt82abn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 243

« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2018, 04:10:27 PM »

Did you know?! Civil Air Patrolís cell phone forensics teamís success in finding missing people, often in record time, attracts an increasing number of missions each year. To date the cell phone forensics team has conducted over 1,300 missions and saved 372 lives over the past 11 years.

The cell phone forensics team was just credited with 69 saves on one mission yesturday.  They help locate a missing boat off of the Bahamas.

I have been a member of this organization for 50 years, this has to be a record.


JCW
Thank you for sharing! Didnít even know we had a telephone forensics team


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Sean Riley, TSGT
US Army 1987 to 1994, WIARNG 1994 to 2008
DoD Firefighter Paramedic 2000 to Present
sardak
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,184

« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2018, 05:09:00 PM »

The cell phone forensics team has been around since 2006.  Here's a chart of the team's stats for the last 11 years https://www.facebook.com/capnhq/posts/1747014905320790

Mike
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RiverAux
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 10,961

« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2018, 07:32:43 PM »

Really, they're getting about as many saves in a year as the entire organization used to do back in the heyday of Air SAR.  Might as well shut the rest of us down and let those folks take care of everything. 
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grunt82abn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 243

« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2018, 08:21:48 PM »

The cell phone forensics team has been around since 2006.  Here's a chart of the team's stats for the last 11 years https://www.facebook.com/capnhq/posts/1747014905320790

Mike
Thanks!


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Sean Riley, TSGT
US Army 1987 to 1994, WIARNG 1994 to 2008
DoD Firefighter Paramedic 2000 to Present
etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,101

« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2018, 09:38:31 PM »

Really, they're getting about as many saves in a year as the entire organization used to do back in the heyday of Air SAR.  Might as well shut the rest of us down and let those folks take care of everything.

Interesting question. Anyone have these stats?

Of all the cell phone forensics team saves:

A) How many times did they narrow it down to an area and then a CAP plane went and put an eyeball on it to guide the ground folks?

B) How many times did the cell phone forensics team narrow it down and then the local authorities (police, sheriff, etc.) went on the ground and put an eyeball on it?

C)  Of all the SARs CAP has done in the last few years since the cell team was formed, what percentage of searches could they NOT be used due to no cell phone pings from anyone in the plane?

I'm guessing someone must be compiling these stats somewhere. It could change our future.
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lordmonar
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 10,619

« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2018, 12:35:54 AM »

Really, they're getting about as many saves in a year as the entire organization used to do back in the heyday of Air SAR.  Might as well shut the rest of us down and let those folks take care of everything.
River......sometimes you can be so toxic.   We are part of a team.  :(
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PATRICK M. HARRIS, SMSgt, CAP
Pacific Region
Geber
Member

Posts: 68
Unit: NER-VT-009

« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2018, 11:37:10 AM »

I read etodd's post, and the number I wondered about were how many of these finds or saves were incidents that would have been handled strictly by local authorities and never have come to CAP's attention if we didn't have a cell forensics team?

I also wonder what the path is from the point an incident occurs to the point the CAP cell forensics team starts working. Is it only avation-related incidents? Is the CAP cell forensics team the go-to resource for local authorities, or are there other teams that are usually called and calling CAP is out of the ordinary? As an EMT, I've responded to a number of calls where the exact location was uncertain, and my impression is that our state police dispatchers contact the phone company for cell forensics. (But I've never sat down with the state police and had this explained to me, it's just an impression from snippets of radio traffic.)
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sardak
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,184

« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2018, 03:40:20 PM »

Quote
I wondered about were how many of these finds or saves were incidents that would have been handled strictly by local authorities and never have come to CAP's attention if we didn't have a cell forensics team?
Most of them. Last year, about 12% of the missions (not finds or saves) worked by the cell team also involved the CAP wing in which the incident occurred.

Quote
I also wonder what the path is from the point an incident occurs to the point the CAP cell forensics team starts working. Is it only aviation-related incidents?
The cell team can only be activated through AFRCC, which has the authority to request the data. Every state has an MOU with AFRCC that describes which agencies can request missions through them. The team is not only for aviation related incidents, just 16% of the missions last year were for missing aircraft. The cell team also assists the Coast Guard with its searches.

Last year our wing had 19 AFRCC SAR missions, while the cell team was requested by law enforcement 37 times for missions that didnít involve the wing. Our state averages around 1600 SAR calls a year, so those are small numbers. My county SAR team (Iím one of the coordinators) had 164 calls in 2017. We use cell phone data, but have never requested the cell phone team. An adjoining county has used the team a couple of times.

Quote
Is the CAP cell forensics team the go-to resource for local authorities, or are there other teams that are usually called and calling CAP is out of the ordinary?
Yes, the cell team is the go-to group for detailed forensics. The CAP team canít be used for criminal cases, and there are law enforcement specialists that perform similar work.

Quote
my impression is that our state police dispatchers contact the phone company for cell forensics.
Law enforcement can request data from the cell carriers. The carriers donít really do forensics, they just provide the data. It can be coordinates, which may be of the tower, not the phone, or it may be a range and bearing off a tower. There is a tolerance on both the range and the bearing. A problem can arise if a local agency requests the data, then decides they need help from the CAP team. It may not be able to get any data from the carrier because the carrier started the process with the local agency.

The cell phone team gives a presentation at the CAP Summer Boards every year. The presentation from last year is on the national website.

Mike
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RiverAux
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 10,961

« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2018, 05:57:32 PM »

Really, they're getting about as many saves in a year as the entire organization used to do back in the heyday of Air SAR.  Might as well shut the rest of us down and let those folks take care of everything.
River......sometimes you can be so toxic.   We are part of a team.  :(
Yep, and the cell phone team is the most productive part of the team these days.  I wasn't being sarcastic, if thats what you thought. 

I'm all about the SAR, whether air or ground, but the fact is that our air SAR mission is withering away for various reasons discussed elsewhere and CAP just isn't really into recruiting, training, and promoting ourselves for ground SAR even though there are probably hundreds of CAP units in counties without any formal SAR teams at all and where we could be the go-to GSAR resource if we tried.  Of all our ES missions GSAR is the one (outside of the cell phone team) where there are demonstrated needs at the local level (in many, but certainly not all, places) that we just aren't trying to fill. 
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SchrŲdinger's hat
Member

Posts: 94
Unit: PCR-CA-080

« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2018, 07:37:27 PM »

Did you know?! Civil Air Patrolís cell phone forensics teamís success in finding missing people, often in record time, attracts an increasing number of missions each year. To date the cell phone forensics team has conducted over 1,300 missions and saved 372 lives over the past 11 years. The cell phone forensics team was just credited with 69 saves on one mission yesturday.  They help locate a missing boat off of the Bahamas.

I'd like to know just how they do this.  It has to be something more than just knowing where a cell phone was last used.
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Dwight J. Dutton, CPT AUS (RET)
CAPT CAP, Mitchell 1975 (before numbers)
UWONGO2
Member

Posts: 86

« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2018, 07:57:47 PM »

Most of them. Last year, about 12% of the missions (not finds or saves) worked by the cell team also involved the CAP wing in which the incident occurred.

Is there a report somewhere that details all this, or did you just spend a lot of fun time in WMIRS doing the math?
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Shieldel
Member

Posts: 86
Unit: PCR-NV-802

« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2018, 08:57:07 PM »

Quote
I wondered about were how many of these finds or saves were incidents that would have been handled strictly by local authorities and never have come to CAP's attention if we didn't have a cell forensics team?
Most of them. Last year, about 12% of the missions (not finds or saves) worked by the cell team also involved the CAP wing in which the incident occurred.

Quote
I also wonder what the path is from the point an incident occurs to the point the CAP cell forensics team starts working. Is it only aviation-related incidents?
The cell team can only be activated through AFRCC, which has the authority to request the data. Every state has an MOU with AFRCC that describes which agencies can request missions through them. The team is not only for aviation related incidents, just 16% of the missions last year were for missing aircraft. The cell team also assists the Coast Guard with its searches.

Last year our wing had 19 AFRCC SAR missions, while the cell team was requested by law enforcement 37 times for missions that didnít involve the wing. Our state averages around 1600 SAR calls a year, so those are small numbers. My county SAR team (Iím one of the coordinators) had 164 calls in 2017. We use cell phone data, but have never requested the cell phone team. An adjoining county has used the team a couple of times.

Quote
Is the CAP cell forensics team the go-to resource for local authorities, or are there other teams that are usually called and calling CAP is out of the ordinary?
Yes, the cell team is the go-to group for detailed forensics. The CAP team canít be used for criminal cases, and there are law enforcement specialists that perform similar work.

Quote
my impression is that our state police dispatchers contact the phone company for cell forensics.
Law enforcement can request data from the cell carriers. The carriers donít really do forensics, they just provide the data. It can be coordinates, which may be of the tower, not the phone, or it may be a range and bearing off a tower. There is a tolerance on both the range and the bearing. A problem can arise if a local agency requests the data, then decides they need help from the CAP team. It may not be able to get any data from the carrier because the carrier started the process with the local agency.

The cell phone team gives a presentation at the CAP Summer Boards every year. The presentation from last year is on the national website.

Mike

Law enforcement specialists can't do anything without a warrant. It's not like they can just go into a phone's GPS and grab the location. They've got red tape and internal procedure to deal with.

But what do I know. I'm always bitter when it comes to ES because I'm in a part of a state that never gets called out. I PLAY SAR at exercises. NEVER been on actual AFAM in my 7 years of CAP. I'd like to use my training at some point!
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2d Lt Michael D. Scheidle
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etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,101

« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2018, 09:39:12 PM »


 I PLAY SAR at exercises. NEVER been on actual AFAM in my 7 years of CAP. I'd like to use my training at some point!


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Al Sayre
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Posts: 2,515
Unit: SER-MS-001

Mississippi Wing
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2018, 10:56:51 AM »

Snip

But what do I know. I'm always bitter when it comes to ES because I'm in a part of a state that never gets called out. I PLAY SAR at exercises. NEVER been on actual AFAM in my 7 years of CAP. I'd like to use my training at some point!

SAR and DR training is like an insurance policy, we need to have it, but hope we never get to use it.  Be glad you don't get called out.  That means no big disasters happened in your area, nobody crashed their airplane or sank their boat and spent time suffering waiting to be rescued, no lost/sick people had to be found etc.  Actual SAR/DR missions aren't fun.  They are time critical and mean someone is suffering.
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Lt Col Al Sayre
MS Wing Staff Dude
Admiral, Great Navy of the State of Nebraska
GRW #2787
Spam
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Unit: GA-001

« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2018, 11:45:04 AM »

Snip

But what do I know. I'm always bitter when it comes to ES because I'm in a part of a state that never gets called out. I PLAY SAR at exercises. NEVER been on actual AFAM in my 7 years of CAP. I'd like to use my training at some point!

SAR and DR training is like an insurance policy, we need to have it, but hope we never get to use it.  Be glad you don't get called out.  That means no big disasters happened in your area, nobody crashed their airplane or sank their boat and spent time suffering waiting to be rescued, no lost/sick people had to be found etc.  Actual SAR/DR missions aren't fun.  They are time critical and mean someone is suffering.

Over the years, two of the actual missions I've been on included incidents where responders died (two CAP pilots in FLWG, 1991, a dog handler in the Appalachians, 1998) and several where people were injured.

So, if we can work smarter not harder and apply the Sherlock Holmes skills to perform EW analysis and avoid or minimize putting people in the field, I am all supportive of that. Civil Analysis Patrol - I salute them.

V/r
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sardak
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Posts: 1,184

« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2018, 02:23:45 PM »

Most of them. Last year, about 12% of the missions (not finds or saves) worked by the cell team also involved the CAP wing in which the incident occurred.

Is there a report somewhere that details all this, or did you just spend a lot of fun time in WMIRS doing the math?
The data come from WMIRS and I'm working on a report, though the focus is not on cell phone forensics.

Quote
Law enforcement specialists can't do anything without a warrant. It's not like they can just go into a phone's GPS and grab the location. They've got red tape and internal procedure to deal with.
CAP cell phone forensics doesn't access the phone. It uses data provided obtained IAW 18 U.S.C. ß 2702, which states that a carrier may voluntarily release data "To a Federal, State, or local governmental entity, if the provider, in good faith, believes that an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury to any person requires disclosure without delay of communications relating to the emergency," the term is "exigent circumstances." That's why AFRCC or the Coast Guard must request the data.

Mike
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Fubar
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Posts: 663

« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2018, 04:19:49 AM »

That means no big disasters happened in your area, nobody crashed their airplane or sank their boat and spent time suffering waiting to be rescued, no lost/sick people had to be found etc.

Except where those things are happening and agencies other than CAP are requested to respond. Look at the stats sardak provided, only looking at the search and rescue missions reported to the AFRCC because a CAP resource was requested (which I suspect is a very small percentage of the searches run nationwide), 88% of the searches we know about didn't involve our aircraft or ground teams. Somebody went out there and found the folks and it wasn't us. Hard to maintain a commitment to training when you know the missions are happening in your area but the call will never come because of politics way outside your control.

I wonder what would happen if NHQ added a policy that the cell phone forensics team could only provide their analysis to a CAP IC, meaning when you requested the cell phone team, you also got the air and ground assets we have who would act on the data. Would agencies stop calling or would they begrudgingly accept the whole package? It's also worth asking if our ground teams and air crews could handle an 88% increase in missions.
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RiverAux
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« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2018, 07:36:29 AM »

Hard to maintain a commitment to training when you know the missions are happening in your area but the call will never come because of politics way outside your control.

Politics is probably the lease important factor.

I believe that except for a very few states in the western US that have extremely high numbers of local independent or county-sponsored SAR teams and maybe a few states that really do exclude CAP for some reason, the reason that CAP doesn't get called for most SAR missions is that almost all of them are ground SAR missions and we are just not seen as being a resource for those missions and so we don't get called.

Why aren't we seen as a resource?  Because we don't go out and pound the streets to let the county sheriffs, local emergency managers, and city police departments know what we can do and what we have available.  This is the primary job of squadron ES officers.  I'd argue, that in line with this thread, letting them know of the cell phone forensics team's capabilities would be item number 1 in any discussions with these folks.  Unfortunately, this sort of outreach is rarely encouraged. 

The second reason we don't get called is that in most cases the only resource of significant benefit that we can offer to local officials on relatively short notice is a search plane.  The sad fact is that most squadrons just don't have a capable ground team at all, much less enough qualified members to have a chance of guaranteeing that X number of people are going to be available at just about any time.  Now, we can certainly bring together (in most places) several dozen ground team members in most states by pooling folks from around the Wing, but that is probably going to take 24 hours or more to mobilize and most cases are resolved by then. 

Why don't we have a real GSAR capability in most squadrons?  Because the organization does not make it a priority to recruit and train adults for this activity.  We depend on cadets for ground work and I just don't think most sherrifs are impressed if you can offer a ground team with a retired guy and 5 kids from your local unit.  You're going to need 15-20 trained adults to have a good shot at guaranteeing a response from a squadron and that is probably rarer than unicorns among CAP units.  I personally think it is possible that a determined unit could develop this capability and develop the relationships that are needed to ensure that you'd get a call when appropriate. 


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etodd
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Posts: 1,101

« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2018, 10:09:44 AM »

We've had these discussions before. Lots of regional differences. For example, here in my area, the police have 2 helicopters and the Sheriff has 1 and also a C-182. If a plane is reported down by our local ATC tower folks, or a missing person, etc., there is a good chance a helicopter is already airborne and can start looking immediately. Shaving a couple hours of CAP folks actually getting airborne. When the local folks 'give up', is when they then call AFRCC.

Which is why our squadron sees more AP missions than SAR.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2018, 10:45:22 AM by etodd » Logged
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Geber
Member

Posts: 68
Unit: NER-VT-009

« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2018, 12:30:12 PM »


I wonder what would happen if NHQ added a policy that the cell phone forensics team could only provide their analysis to a CAP IC, meaning when you requested the cell phone team, you also got the air and ground assets we have who would act on the data. Would agencies stop calling or would they begrudgingly accept the whole package? It's also worth asking if our ground teams and air crews could handle an 88% increase in missions.

From my experience, needing better information from a cell phone isn't always about a person lost in the woods, the sort of non-aviation scenario a CAP ground team could conceivably respond to quickly enough to be useful. Some scenarios I've seen as an EMT where cell phone data might have helped:

  • Alzheimer's patient wanders off, has cell phone in pocket
  • Family rents lake cottage for a week, private roads are a tangled mess with little or nothing in the way of street name signs or street number posting, family has a medical emergency and can't explain to dispatcher where they are.
  • Dispatcher gets conflicting descriptions from various callers about location of a fire.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2018, 05:39:12 PM by Geber » Logged
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Unit: GA-001

« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2018, 03:26:55 PM »

Hard to maintain a commitment to training when you know the missions are happening in your area but the call will never come because of politics way outside your control.

Politics is probably the lease important factor.

I believe that except for a very few states in the western US that have extremely high numbers of local independent or county-sponsored SAR teams and maybe a few states that really do exclude CAP for some reason, the reason that CAP doesn't get called for most SAR missions is that almost all of them are ground SAR missions and we are just not seen as being a resource for those missions and so we don't get called.

Why aren't we seen as a resource?  Because we don't go out and pound the streets to let the county sheriffs, local emergency managers, and city police departments know what we can do and what we have available.  This is the primary job of squadron ES officers.  I'd argue, that in line with this thread, letting them know of the cell phone forensics team's capabilities would be item number 1 in any discussions with these folks.  Unfortunately, this sort of outreach is rarely encouraged. 

The second reason we don't get called is that in most cases the only resource of significant benefit that we can offer to local officials on relatively short notice is a search plane.  The sad fact is that most squadrons just don't have a capable ground team at all, much less enough qualified members to have a chance of guaranteeing that X number of people are going to be available at just about any time.  Now, we can certainly bring together (in most places) several dozen ground team members in most states by pooling folks from around the Wing, but that is probably going to take 24 hours or more to mobilize and most cases are resolved by then. 

Why don't we have a real GSAR capability in most squadrons?  Because the organization does not make it a priority to recruit and train adults for this activity.  We depend on cadets for ground work and I just don't think most sherrifs are impressed if you can offer a ground team with a retired guy and 5 kids from your local unit.  You're going to need 15-20 trained adults to have a good shot at guaranteeing a response from a squadron and that is probably rarer than unicorns among CAP units.  I personally think it is possible that a determined unit could develop this capability and develop the relationships that are needed to ensure that you'd get a call when appropriate.


Good points. In addition, our core competencies for GSAR (which include electronic SAR and A/G coordination, which many conventional SAR units lack) don't include missing person SAR. We don't train to recognized standards for missing person SAR. When the typical CAP idea of a proper missing person response is to go direct to LKP and blanket the woods with half trained CAP members, obscuring sign and scent, we actually are a detriment to the work. Not that CAP doesn't have trained, proficient, and practiced clue conscious searchers and niche assets (dog teams, etc.) but they're the rare exception. 

These are top level roles and missions discussions. If we wanted to shift to be a bigger player in missing person SAR, we'd do a mission/task CONOPS analysis, a training and equipment gap analysis, and we'd update the doctrine and training package (but we aren't, to my knowledge, doing so) and we'd start basing our equipment buys on that doctrinal shift. The results we'd see would be based on history, not hype, on empirical analysis not subjective wishes, and we'd have a more justifiable plan to spend our fellow citizens tax dollars. For example: how many low cost FLIR systems could we have bought for the fleet to support missing person SAR for a validated customer requirement for support from us, versus some of our other purchases that might have questionable mission utility.

A good analysis would look systematically by AOR, pointing out no gap in AO's like eTodd mentions... but some counties and states can't afford one aircraft, let alone two helos and a 182.

In any case, this is academic. I would speculate that the cell forensics team probably has by far, the greatest cost return on investment in all of CAP's ops community, which is ironic as we try to justify our force structure, isn't it?

Cheers
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Spam
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Unit: GA-001

« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2018, 03:37:14 PM »

That means no big disasters happened in your area, nobody crashed their airplane or sank their boat and spent time suffering waiting to be rescued, no lost/sick people had to be found etc.

Except where those things are happening and agencies other than CAP are requested to respond. Look at the stats sardak provided, only looking at the search and rescue missions reported to the AFRCC because a CAP resource was requested (which I suspect is a very small percentage of the searches run nationwide), 88% of the searches we know about didn't involve our aircraft or ground teams. Somebody went out there and found the folks and it wasn't us. Hard to maintain a commitment to training when you know the missions are happening in your area but the call will never come because of politics way outside your control.

I wonder what would happen if NHQ added a policy that the cell phone forensics team could only provide their analysis to a CAP IC, meaning when you requested the cell phone team, you also got the air and ground assets we have who would act on the data. Would agencies stop calling or would they begrudgingly accept the whole package? It's also worth asking if our ground teams and air crews could handle an 88% increase in missions.


So, I have to ask who is the customer in this hypothetical scenario? The actual victim, or preserving CAP relevance?

Preserving one aspect or other of our hobby of volunteer SAR is not as important as the victim. Let's keep a right focus on SAR/DR as the emergency that it is, and not put up barriers between getting vital information to the best assets to respond in the least amount of time.

If CAP isn't relevant in your area for one mission element or another, then "flower where you're planted" (define your local operations and training around where YOU can fit in your CUSTOMER's needs, not the other way around). Don't link some mandate to support your hobby to the best emergency response to save a life.


R/s
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etodd
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Posts: 1,101

« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2018, 05:13:17 PM »


If CAP isn't relevant in your area for one mission element or another, then "flower where you're planted" (define your local operations and training around where YOU can fit in your CUSTOMER's needs, not the other way around).

^^^ This for sure.

As I said, we probably fly more AP missions than the rarer SAR mission.

We are now flying almost monthly for some Army training missions.

Some folks elsewhere say CAP Cadets are not getting all their O'Rides. Thats a great mission. I love giving O'Rides. If you have an under utilized plane, reach out to nearby squadrons and see if they need help with O'Rides.

The Syracuse mission.

Just a small sample of how squadrons can get more involved with 'real' missions.  'Real Mission' does not always equate to SAR.

« Last Edit: January 26, 2018, 07:03:04 PM by etodd » Logged
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Fubar
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Posts: 663

« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2018, 06:31:11 PM »

So, I have to ask who is the customer in this hypothetical scenario? The actual victim, or preserving CAP relevance?

A good and fair point to make. It could increase the support a victim if it means more resources are allocated towards locating them if we started utilizing our own ground teams. That said, it sounds like not every wing has competent GSAR capabilities, making a blanket policy across the country unwise.
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RiverAux
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« Reply #25 on: January 27, 2018, 07:47:40 AM »

Quote
We don't train to recognized standards for missing person SAR.
An argument I've made before is that even despite my criticism above, CAP has had the largest GSAR program in the country and our standard are just as justifiable as being the "national standard" as NASARs.  In any case, CAP GT requirements only differ slightly from NASARs and mostly in regards to types of operations CAP has prohibited us from doing anyway.  That being said, they do need updating and if CAP actually cared about GSAR, they might actually do that someday. 
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« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2018, 11:07:00 AM »

Hi RiverAux.

Largest single GSAR program in terms of numbers, I would speculate that's true. However, size of the program does not equate to ensuring that the training fits all taskings (the Chinese army human wave tactic is generally contraindicated for clue conscious searching, right).

I was not speaking of NASAR, actually, but while I would agree that the bulk of team management and safety training items are comparable, I would assert that CAP GSAR training is seriously deficient for the missing person mission subset against, for example, the ASTM standards for SAR.  See ASTM F2209, Section 7.4, Search Specific Knowledge and Skills, which outlines clue conscious searching, etc. We don't train to ASTM F1846, standard SAR map markings (when our GTLs and GBDs actually have paper maps!) and we don't require our GBDs and ICs to even be exposed to basic missing person search planning and management tasks such as area confinement and segmentation, doing a Mattson consensus and updating same regularly based on evidence based (debriefing) PoD/PoA based calculations... the list goes on and on.

As Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" once famously said, "A man's got to know his limitations", and we shouldn't fool ourselves into pretending that we're technical SAR, that we are equipped to do other than the most basic tasks, by and large, for missing person SAR mission area. Ideally we would be employed under the direction of state local and other SAR organizations that regularly train to, equip to, and understand that mission and know how to use our people properly. Similar sorts of questions for DR ops.

So, back to the original thread: CAP has, with the forensics team, fielded a successful "niche" capability that is widely useful and is sought by customers. On the air side, we're fielding an (apparently in demand) AP capability and we are (hopefully) retaining our SAR community niche capability to do electronic SAR and air to ground coordination. Yet, I hear both our GSAR and air side folks increasingly wondering what happened to our mission ops tempo. Some of us predicted this slow down over a decade ago as a result of the confluence between improving air safety, improved ELT false alarms (with the introduction of the TSO C91A standard), etc. If we want CAP to stay relevant (and remain/regain status as a good investment of taxpayer dollars) I feel that we need to be honest about our roles and missions nationally and locally in or local AOs. 

The forensics team has found a reason to exist... we should all do the same. Adapt, or die (fold up the subsidies and go home). But, if we're going to adapt to new missions, we should do it eyes open, after engaging with national/state/local customers to derive needs, and we should do it by the numbers.

R/s
Spam


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Spam
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« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2018, 11:17:08 AM »



Need to correct myself: I would indeed resource type us as technical SAR in one area, that being visual and electronic air search with air/ground team coordination. Within that domain, I think we're at the top of the leader board, and that's a core competency that the country should not lose. We need to not lose sight of that while seeking relevancy in other areas. We need to practice that, over and over, as we have team leaders and aircraft commanders and ICs these days who have never "heard a shot fired in anger" (by which I mean, haven't served on an actual multi day long missing aircraft search). We must stay proficient in this role for the unexpected day when someone's evening goes very, very wrong.

V/r
Spam

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etodd
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« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2018, 09:14:48 PM »

All excellent points Spam.  And if you merge it with your earlier comment "flower where you're planted", it makes me wonder just how much autonomy Wings should have to concentrate their training on what their state needs?  Maybe its already so, but I ask since I don't know these things.

I don't know which States (Wings) have the largest numbers of missing persons statistically.  Seems that those might be the ones that really want to dive deep into GSAR and then sell it to local agencies.  Where other States (Wings) may be in more flood, tornado or Hurricane prone areas and their need may be for as many Airborne Photographers as they can train.

Point being of course whether all this is a Hdqs deal or Wing?
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sardak
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« Reply #29 on: January 28, 2018, 02:29:13 AM »

Quote
Point being of course whether all this is a Hdqs deal or Wing?
AFRCC has an MOU with almost every state (Alaska works under Alaska RCC and Hawaii works under Pacific RCC). An AFRCC commander once said "50 states, 50 ways of doing SAR."

Quote
We don't train to recognized standards for missing person SAR.
An argument I've made before is that even despite my criticism above, CAP has had the largest GSAR program in the country and our standard are just as justifiable as being the "national standard" as NASARs.  In any case, CAP GT requirements only differ slightly from NASARs and mostly in regards to types of operations CAP has prohibited us from doing anyway.  That being said, they do need updating and if CAP actually cared about GSAR, they might actually do that someday.
River,
Yes, youíve made this statement a number of times. Until you a show us a cross-walk (a task by task comparison) of CAP GSAR program requirements to NASAR SAR Tech, all youíre expressing is your opinion. And as Iíve pointed out a number of times, and having been the NASAR SAR Standards Manager, while some NASAR documents, still, refer to SAR Tech as a standard, NASAR in reality sees it as a certification, not a standard. A real test would be to have CAP members whose only knowledge, training and experience in ground SAR came from CAP, take the SAR Tech tests.

NASAR sees the standards as the ASTM SAR standards. NASAR requested ASTM create a SAR standards committee in 1987 and the F-32 Committee on SAR  was formed in 1988. I was at the first meeting and have been a member of ASTM ever since, having served as chair of F-32 for six years, and the chair of the F32.02 subcommittee on Operations and Management for what seemed like an eternity. F2209, which Spam references, became a standard while I was the POC for it (the two prior POCs died while working on it, seriously).

For those unfamiliar with ASTM, it provides administrative support for standards development. Members of the committees who actually write the standards come from the fields/industries desiring the standards. Non-voting participation on ASTM task groups and committees does not require ASTM membership, and most ASTM standards work is done electronically. The list of F-32 standards is here: https://www.astm.org/COMMIT/SUBCOMMIT/F32.htm

Performing  a cross-walk of the CAP GSAR program to the ASTM standards, which at this point involves more than just F2209, is what really needs to be accomplished. I was a member of the ES Curriculum Project which developed the current ES system. I proposed the ASTM standards at that time but CAP was not interested. SAR Tech was also considered, but NASAR and CAP couldnít come to terms on cost and licensing. It did generate an MOU between the groups, which has been renewed at least once and is due for renewal again this year. The current president of NASAR is a CAP member and former wing commander.

Reinforcing what Spam said, our search management personnel, from GTLs to IC-1, arenít required to take a single class or course in search theory or  management. Not even the 2-day Basic Inland SAR Course  given by AFRCC.

As for resource typing, I pointed out back in May that FEMA was updating its SAR typing documents and seeking public comment.  http://captalk.net/index.php?topic=22106.msg402844#msg402844. The updated typing was released in November.  Wilderness SAR was not revised, but this note added: ďUnder revision. The current version may not be applicable to some agencies and organizations.Ē Land SAR and Mountain SAR were updated. I suspect that since these more or less cover Wilderness SAR, that wilderness typing will be dropped. Radio Direction Finding Team and all the Airborne resources were left alone. These can be found by searching or browsing at  https://rtlt.preptoolkit.fema.gov/Public

Mike
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etodd
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« Reply #30 on: January 28, 2018, 01:20:10 PM »

So are most squadrons trying too much to 'do it all'?  Should a Wing be broken down into Specialty Squadrons?  These 3 are airborne search, these 3 are GSAR, these 4 are AP, etc. etc.?  That way a Squadron could put its time and resources into being the best they can be in a particular area, instead of spreading themselves thin where everyone knows a little bit about everything, but is an expert on very little?
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Geber
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« Reply #31 on: January 28, 2018, 02:31:18 PM »

It disturbs me that SAR is so fragmented. CAP for air search or EPIRB search/direction finding (but not any other kind of radio direction finding). No really well-trained resource for direction finding on other frequencies, but a few amateur radio operators are good at it, especially if they don't have to get out of their cars. Ground-scent dogs. Air-scent dogs. Mountain SAR. National Ski Patrol. High-angle rescue. Swift-water rescue.

It occurs to me that in any given search, one or two of these teams should take the lead role, but the others could be used in lower-skill roles, such as observing the perimeter to make sure the subject of the search doesn't self-rescue and not tell anyone. But at present it seems that the lower-skill role goes to whoever shows up, such as the local volunteer fire departments, hunters, etc. Shouldn't there be a system to assign SAR teams that are not the best fit for the particular search to the lower skill roles, so at least they have a bit of training, and can build there skills for when they need to be the lead team.
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« Reply #32 on: January 28, 2018, 02:50:56 PM »

Geber, to your first point, you did get that the original main thrust of this thread was about the resounding success of CAP's cell forensics team, right? Within the EW/EA/Cyber domain, specific emitter ID (SEID) and geolocation based on a variety of techniques does fall into "radio direction finding".

To your second point, there really are two answers, I think. First, operations and second training. Operationally, the lead agency role under ICS varies by jurisdiction (and whether they in turn are proficient in both SAR and in using ICS... some rural agencies are neither). Thus, for example, I once assumed the IC role (back when I was current as a CAP IC) on a missing person search in a national forest because the US Park Rangers present had a quick open kimono, sniff-the-wagging-tail meeting at midnight and we agreed that I was best qualified. The plan was that a better trained Ranger was en route, and I transferred operational control to him at 0400 local with a full and smooth in brief (mission was a SAVE, by the way). When you follow ICS and common training standards, it works.

Which leads back to the second point... to employ resources correctly and smoothly in this manner, you need the right mix of classroom and field training. CAPs current force structure is not oriented to support having our team leader (strike teams) and above learn those managing the search function skill sets, which are not all OJT (on the job) training as you mention in your last sentence. Probabilistic search planning and management is a science, not something you pick up on the fly. To do it right, and to have us fit within the larger construct, we'll need a doctrinal change, followed by a training standards change.

Or, we should stick to that core skill set only, for which we need only a few GSAR assets these days, despite the interest. (Mission need mismatch + training to a rare mission + too many assets for actual need = Maytag dishwasher repairman boredom and frustration, leading to people quitting).


I would like to see a CAP team (ops? historian?) do a bit of ops analysis over the next year or so, though, looking at the stats and trends before CAP jumps into change. Having the metrics of what the SAR/DR scene is trending towards, coupled with an assessment of where our volunteer base is (qualified and active assets vs demographics, etc.) would be valuable before we start throwing time and treasure about changing anything.

V/r
Spam

edit: park rangers, not forest rangers
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RiverAux
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« Reply #33 on: January 28, 2018, 03:03:36 PM »

Quote
Yes, youíve made this statement a number of times. Until you a show us a cross-walk (a task by task comparison) of CAP GSAR program requirements to NASAR SAR Tech, all youíre expressing is your opinion.
That was done here many years ago and the main difference involved rope work of various kinds. 

As to comparisons with other standards, that has not been done to my knowledge and it really isn't worth the effort. 

My argument has always been that CAPS GSAR standards cover everything we are allowed to do by CAP and are basically good enough.  Not meeting some standard that the local sheriff never heard of isn't what is holding us back from participation in GSAR in most of the country.  It is lack of will on the part of CAP to recruit and train the personnel to do it and then do the on-the-ground coordination work to make the right people know that we are available. 

Now, CAP may want to make the decision that we don't really want to have a really active GSAR program, and thats fine.  Its a shame, but thats not my call.  But, what it does is leave us in a position where we become less and less relevant to the wider ES community and in a spot where we will end up with so few of our own ground team personnel that we can't really support our own missions. 

Perhaps the cell phone team could be leading us down a new route where each wing or group may end up having a specialist that can do this? 
« Last Edit: January 28, 2018, 03:10:41 PM by RiverAux » Logged
etodd
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« Reply #34 on: January 28, 2018, 05:26:30 PM »


Perhaps the cell phone team could be leading us down a new route where each wing or group may end up having a specialist that can do this?

The beauty of the cell phone team is that could be in Europe or Asia or Africa, anywhere, and still get the job done as long as they have internet access.   Imagine every Wing having a team and AFRCC having to determine which team might be near the cell phone tower pings.  No, its best for the cell phone team to be outside of Wings. Autonomous.

I'm wondering why AFRCC hasn't started their own and just do it in-house? Save some time.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2018, 05:46:45 PM by etodd » Logged
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SarDragon
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« Reply #35 on: January 28, 2018, 07:05:27 PM »

So are most squadrons trying too much to 'do it all'?  Should a Wing be broken down into Specialty Squadrons?  These 3 are airborne search, these 3 are GSAR, these 4 are AP, etc. etc.?  That way a Squadron could put its time and resources into being the best they can be in a particular area, instead of spreading themselves thin where everyone knows a little bit about everything, but is an expert on very little?

Many moons ago, there used to be specialized squadrons - Comm, Med, SAR, etc. That concept was killed for for two basic reasons:1. They were frequently GOB clubs, where entrance for new folks was difficult to impossible. 2. They lived on the efforts of one or two members, and when they left, the squadron folded due to lack of leadership. (See #1.)

They are now prohibited by CAPR 20-3.
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sardak
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« Reply #36 on: January 29, 2018, 02:48:31 AM »

Starting in 2013, with NHQ permission, I collected mission data from WMIRS. The original intent (there was some mission creep) was to compare 121.5 MHz and 406 MHz DF missions including missing person and missing aircraft missions. Radar and cell phone team only missions were excluded.

All associated documents and entries - 104, 109, 122, ICS forms, logs, and whatever else was in WMIRS were looked at. Documentation ranged from nothing to everything. The review was in two parts, first for FY and CY 13 (15 months). This entire period was in the old WMIRS 1. The data collection resumed in 2014, but due to the change from WMIRS 1 to 2, some WMIRS 1 data were already archived and it wasn't worth the effort to retrieve the archives. So the second collection period was from July 2014 to December 2017. A report for this second period is in work. It will be discussed next month at the State Search and Rescue Coordinator Council (SSARCC) Meeting in Washington, DC. http://www.ssarcc.com

Attached are three files: Two files presented at the 2015 SSARCC meeting, one is a presentation and the other is the detailed breakdown of where beacons were found (crash, hangar, ramp, landfill, boat, etc.), and a summary of the 2014-17 (through August 2017) data showing mission types by wing.

Hereís a summary of the missions:


Since there has been much discussion about ground teams, they were utilized on 77 of the missing person searches in the 2014-2017 period.

Mike
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SarDragon
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« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2018, 06:14:09 PM »

Only one save here, but another success for the National Radar Analysis and Cell Phone Forensics teams.

CAP Radar, Cell Phone Analysis Lead to Discovery of Downed Plane in Tenn.
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Dave Bowles
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Spaceman3750
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« Reply #38 on: January 31, 2018, 10:49:51 PM »

Skipping the solving of the world's problems, I'd like to add that I recently worked a multi-wing search that was successful (1 distress find) in large part due to excellent cell phone and radar forensics. Without it, the search area would have been about 1 state wide.

The stuff works.
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The moment any commander or staff member considers themselves a gatekeeper, instead of a facilitator, they have failed at their job.
I can't fix all of CAP's problems, but I can lead from the bottom by building my squadron as a center of excellence to serve as an example of what every unit can be.
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