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Author Topic: Restructure CAP ranks: change "SM without grade" members into "Senior Airmen"  (Read 6891 times)
supertigerCH
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Posts: 152

« on: October 24, 2018, 04:27:46 PM »

Hello everyone.  Just tossing around an idea for thought, and for discussion.


Also, I realize that a very similar thread has already been created... to talk about Civil Air Patrol's NCO corps.  While this is in some ways similar to that tread, I would like to keep the discussion here focused on the single topic presented here =


The idea is as follows...


All of us who have been in CAP for any length of time, understand that there exists a "wide variety of types of people" in the membership.  Some have a great interest in advancing and lots of professional development.  Others are faithful members who are happy to help in any way they can, but just want to show up and do their job... without having much desire for ever becoming an officer. (often times many parents of cadets are included in this group of people... they show up, act as drivers, help manage the office, and do anything else asked of them... but are content to leave it at that).

No one can argue that these types of members help the unit function... because of their hours of selfless volunteer work.  Their contributions are highly valued during the time that they are members.  At the end of the day though, many of them simply choose to remain SM (Senior Members without grade)... for sometimes their whole time in CAP.  Again this is fine, and their service is valuable, but we all know many members fit into this category (most are not former military, so will not be NCOs either.  There is nothing "wrong" with these people.  They are loyal and do great work.  They just have no desire to be officers, and these types of CAP members will probably always continue to exist in a volunteer organization).


So... my idea here today is.  Taking this reality into account, might a slight change to CAP's overall rank structure be more appropriate?

The idea is as follows =


Change the existing structure so that the typical incoming CAP member joins the organization in the rank of CAP Senior Airmen


This might have the potential to be more appropriate, and to work better... because the new members in this rank would then have the following options:


1.)  Remain just as a CAP "Senior Airman" for their whole time in CAP  (since this is what the type of people we have discussed already do anyway... under the current structure, as SM without grade).  They would of course take all the very basic orientations that all members must have, along with Cadet Protection, etc., but that would be all required of them for the basic level of membership they are entering.  The "officer track" would always remain open to them, should their talents, goals, & desires change in the future.  When you consider the type of volunteer service most of them have chosen to give to CAP -- just performing specific jobs and not being at all interested in promotion / leadership roles -- this rank seems to be much more fitting, and a better description of the type of member that they are.

(NCO ranks [Staff Sergeant through the Master Sergeant ranks] could still be reserved for former military members joining CAP.)

2.)  Members who ARE interested in becoming leaders... could all enroll right away into the regular officer (and professional development) track that CAP already has in place.  As soon as they qualify (after 6 months and completing any other requirements... they would have their promotions & 2LT rank pinned on.  During those 6 months of preparing, they will have been already working in the section (Communications, Office, or etc.) with their coming promotion to LT in mind... getting to know the ropes from the other officers/personnel who are already there.


This slight adjustment to the CAP membership structure is pretty simple and straightforward, and the only new patch required on the physical supply side of things, would be the CAP "Senior Airman" stripes... which Vanguard could probably create and produce pretty easily... along with the CAP  NCO stripes that they sell.  It seems like the shift to such a structure would be (relatively) simple and straightforward to do... and simple and straightforward is usually a big plus.  Other than that as I have mentioned, such a membership structure would fit rather well with a membership that usually includes both types of people as members.

Okay ready for comments now.  Try not to rip the idea apart too badly if you don't like it.  After all... it's just an idea.  :)  With that being said, interested in hearing everyone's thoughts and comments.  Could something like this work, and work well... as a way of updating the structure to reflect the CAP adult members of today?
« Last Edit: October 24, 2018, 04:45:27 PM by supertigerCH » Logged
PHall
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« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2018, 04:35:44 PM »

What's wrong with just Senior Member?  Senior Airman is an actual grade in the Air Force and we don't want any confusion, right?
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supertigerCH
Forum Regular

Posts: 152

« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2018, 04:59:46 PM »

Hello PHall.  You are correct, it's not that the current system using "Senior Member without grade" CAN'T work.  Indeed it is the system that we are already working by now.

I suppose the reason for my sharing this idea here today... is could the this idea be a more fitting structure?  (is it more fitting, appropriate, and a better description of the types of members that make up CAP today?)

That's more of the reasons for my curiosity... in throwing the thought out there, for people to reflect on today.  Thanks for the feedback.  Again it's just an idea.  Merely a passing observation... and a bit of food for thought. :)
« Last Edit: October 24, 2018, 05:06:44 PM by supertigerCH » Logged
Eclipse
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Posts: 29,246

« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2018, 05:19:40 PM »

New members are "Senior Members" the "Without Grade" is simply shorthand for members who,
for whatever reason haven't been promoted.

Making them an SrA implies a structure that doesn't exist.

To PHALL's point, "Airman" is also a generic for members of the USAF, and an honorary for the
small number of CAP members who are occasionally included in Total Force.

There's no reason to confer an grade, status, or nomenclature change for members who don't want to promote.

They are just "members", frankly they could probably drop the "Senior" as well and just use "members" vs. "Cadets".
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vorteks
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Posts: 254

« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2018, 05:48:41 PM »

... With that being said, interested in hearing everyone's thoughts and comments. ...

tl;dr
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supertigerCH
Forum Regular

Posts: 152

« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2018, 06:14:55 PM »


these are all good points.


in regards to the Air Force already using a name / rank (grade or status)...

The only thing that this way of thinking makes me also wonder about is... should CAP therefore also get rid of the following ranks/grades :

Lieutenant
Captain
Major
Lt. Colonel
Colonel

Staff Sergeant
Tech Sergeant
and all
Master Sergeants

??

For me personally... it's would be fine if CAP did get rid of all of them.  CAP would be able to do its job either way.  It's just that... if this was the weakness of the original idea posted... what about the rest of the ranks with identical names to those in the Air Force?

CAP already uses all of these as well, at the same time that Air Force uses them.  Does this also cause undue confusion?  Is CAP wrongfully appropriating all of these ranks / title... status & grades?

I suppose now we're getting into a separate question/issue... about of whether or not CAP needs a rank structure at all.  I have already seen in other threads... people discuss this question too... and disagree about it.  surprise, surprise right?).   :)

Thanks for your feedback guys!  I'm hoping to hear both pros & cons.  Good thoughts so far.  Thanks for sharing these.
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SarDragon
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« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2018, 06:34:28 PM »

But cadets are members, too, as are the following folks: Fifty Year (Member), Life (Member), Cadet Sponsor, Patron Members, Aerospace Education Members, Retired Members, and Legislative Members.

Senior member seems to be the best we have, and I have yet to see a viable better idea.

The 39-2 uses the term Active Member, but that still isn't totally satisfactory, since "being active" is a part of the cadet program progression.
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Dave Bowles
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SarDragon
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« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2018, 06:39:26 PM »


these are all good points.


in regards to the Air Force already using a name / rank (grade or status)...

The only thing that this way of thinking makes me also wonder about is... should CAP therefore also get rid of the following ranks/grades :

Lieutenant
Captain
Major
Lt. Colonel
Colonel

Staff Sergeant
Tech Sergeant
and all
Master Sergeants[elided]

CAP and USAF use the rank structure in exactly the same manner. Your use of Senior Airman is in a different context, and clashes with the AF usage.
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Dave Bowles
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supertigerCH
Forum Regular

Posts: 152

« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2018, 07:51:44 PM »

Hi SarDragon,

Wouldn't the rank still be used to denote an individual member... who's rank was not an officer or NCO, and therefore not acting (at least not regularly acting) in a leadership position?

Maybe I am missing something?  Maybe I'm just thinking about this too narrowly, but I don't see the particular difference you're pointing out.  Maybe I have to keep thinking about it more.

Also, does CAP really use the names of officer/NCO ranks... in exactly the same way as the Air Force?  From my understanding, being part of CAP for many years now... rank/grade is different from the way rank works in the AF.  I mean, as just one example... in CAP all members from "enlisted" (those members who wear stripes)  all the way to officers...  all members may salute each other... and all ranks return salutes to whoever gives them.

Would any CAP member who is a Major for example... carry the same authority as an officer in the AF... who actually has authority to compel others to do something, if necessary, that is against their will? (other than on very particular issues, such as safety policy for example... which members of any rank in CAP might also be able to hold people too)

There are other examples I'm sure, but you probably understand what I'm getting at.  Again, maybe I'm just not seeing what other people are mentioning here.  That is possible.

You might be right, I'm just not seeing it yet.

Thanks for helping me think this idea out a bit more.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2018, 08:30:00 PM by supertigerCH » Logged
Eclipse
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« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2018, 08:55:41 PM »

Wouldn't the rank still be used to denote an individual member... who's rank was not an officer or NCO, and therefore not acting (at least not regularly acting) in a leadership position?

SrA >is< a grade not a generic.

Also, does CAP really use the names of officer/NCO ranks... in exactly the same way as the Air Force?  From my understanding, being part of CAP for many years now... rank/grade is different from the way rank works in the AF. 

CAP grade is different from USAF and other military grade in that it carries no commission (i.e. authority directly from the POTUS).  In fact it confers nothing
other then some amorphous indication of service time or ability (many times inappropriately).

As to "enlisted" personnel in CAP, there aren't any, in either philosophy or practical reality.

I mean, as just one example... in CAP all members from "enlisted" (those members who wear stripes)  all the way to officers...  all members may salute each other... and all ranks return salutes to whoever gives them.

This is incorrect.  CAP adheres to the same customs as the military - you salute superior officers, not "everyone".
Returning salutes, regardless of the grade differential is just politeness, but a CAP Major is not expected to salute a CAP 1st Lt, etc.

Would any CAP member who is a Major for example... carry the same authority as an officer in the AF...

No.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2018, 09:00:07 PM by Eclipse » Logged


supertigerCH
Forum Regular

Posts: 152

« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2018, 09:11:17 PM »

Wouldn't the rank still be used to denote an individual member... who's rank was not an officer or NCO, and therefore not acting (at least not regularly acting) in a leadership position?

SrA >is< a grade not a generic.

Also, does CAP really use the names of officer/NCO ranks... in exactly the same way as the Air Force?  From my understanding, being part of CAP for many years now... rank/grade is different from the way rank works in the AF. 


As to "enlisted" personnel in CAP, there aren't any, in either philosophy or practical reality.



Yes, you are correct... it's not generic.  However, would not each individual member who holds that rank individually be that grade?  Maybe I didn't put it into words very well, but that's what I was getting at.

You are correct about the use of the word "enlisted" too.  There are not actually enlisted members in CAP.  That's why I put it in quotes.  (maybe I should instead use the term "non-officer CAP members who wear stripes on their uniform to denote their rank" -- which if the idea I'm suggesting was theoretically enacted... would then include CAP NCOs and CAP Senior Airmen.  I admit I was lazy and just didn't want to type that all out)  :)
« Last Edit: October 24, 2018, 09:34:46 PM by supertigerCH » Logged
CAP9907
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« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2018, 09:13:55 PM »




The idea is as follows...







 

Just.... no.
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supertigerCH
Forum Regular

Posts: 152

« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2018, 09:26:51 PM »




The idea is as follows...







 

Just.... no.



thanks.  lol... :) , I wanted to hear both pro and con ideas on this...  that's why I brought the idea to this forum.  and I'm definitely getting that.
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CAPLTC
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« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2018, 10:27:37 PM »

What's wrong with just Senior Member?  Senior Airman is an actual grade in the Air Force and we don't want any confusion, right?

I like just plain Senior Member.
Yes.

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SarDragon
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« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2018, 10:44:05 PM »

OK, I get it now. And I still disagree.

Giving our basic senior members the rank/grade of Senior Airman, vice SM, serves no useful function, and will add confusion and an unnecessary administrative burden. It's a solution in search of a problem.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2018, 10:51:06 PM by SarDragon » Logged
Dave Bowles
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lordmonar
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« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2018, 12:43:06 AM »

Well.....if we are talking about radical ideas.

How about everyone who comes off the street and joins CAP is called Airman Basic for six months, Level I gets them Airman, 10 months and a technician rating gets them Airman First Class.  At their three year mark they put on Senior Airman.

At that point if you meet certain criteria (college, advanced skill, professional licenses, etc) you can opt to go to OTS and put on 2d Lt at the 4 year mark or got to NCO School and put on Staff Sergeant if you meet the gate keeper criteria.

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PATRICK M. HARRIS, SMSgt, CAP
Pacific Region
supertigerCH
Forum Regular

Posts: 152

« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2018, 12:44:07 AM »

In my mind... it was more of a wondering if it was a more fitting term & rank category (for the certain type of CAP members described in the original post)... than Senior Member without grade [and a better way of dealing with the 2 types of people that make up the senior membership of CAP].

Fair enough though.  "Solution looking for a problem",  I realize can be just as valid of an opinion for people who see it that way.

While I cetrainly also don't believe in creating solutions for non-existent problems... there are times when ideas for improvement come along.  Some turn out to be worth it, and some are never useful enough to make it off the drawing board.

Anyway, fair enough.  Thanks for giving honest opinion.  That's why we're here I guess...



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SarDragon
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« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2018, 03:31:15 AM »

senior member = any non-cadet member

Senior Member (SM) = the grade designation used on documents to denote any senior member not having been promoted to a higher grade

senior member without grade = an unofficial referential term used in two publications (M39-1 and R35-5) to talk about non-officer/non-NCO members (generally new members)

In reviewing those publications, it appears that "senior member without grade" is being replaced with "adults without grade", which, IMHO, is still unsatisfactory, since "adult member" may also refer to cadets age 18 and older.

All this may appear pedantic, but that's how the regs read, and what we must work with.
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Dave Bowles
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« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2018, 04:18:03 AM »

Way back in the beginning, there were no ranks in CAP. There were positions. That didn’t last long. Ranks were introduced. Everybody in CAP was then simply a member of CAP. But...some members  were officers, some were NCO’s, some were Private’s.

The need to differentiate membership classes didn’t arise until there were two classes. Then there were cadets and members.

Senior Member has always been a poor choice, to me. It only has meaning within CAP. Telling an outsider “I am a Senior Member” makes sense to the SM, but is an odd term to outsiders. “Senior Member?” As in, been around a long time? (With ensuing puzzlement when the 20-year old “Senior Member” I traduces himself). Does “Senior Member” mean a Member over 65?

It’s just weird. Might as well say “I’m Poobah Member Jones. I’ll be introducing Grand Poobah Smith in a few minutes. Meanwhile while we are waiting, Cadet Snuffy will be drilling some cadets and we can watch. It’s actually his time doing that as a cadet. Cadet Snuffy will become Poobah Member Snuffy next week, on his birthday. Yes, CAP is divided into cadets and Poobah Members...

Anyway, “Senior Member” is just weird. It isn’t clear as to where the Seniority is and makes no sense without an explanation that might never find an opportunity to happen.


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« Last Edit: October 25, 2018, 04:40:43 AM by Mitchell 1969 » Logged
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SarDragon
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« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2018, 04:21:07 AM »

Well said, Bernie. I thoroughly agree.
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Dave Bowles
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CAP Talk  |  General Discussion  |  Membership  |  Topic: Restructure CAP ranks: change "SM without grade" members into "Senior Airmen"
 


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