National Cadet Special Activities

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National Cadet Special Activities are Cadet Programs conducted by Civil Air Patrol. NCSAs are designed to give cadets direct hands on experience with various aspects of the Civil Air Patrol program and provide meaningful insight into several aviation-related careers. There are approximately 30 different special activities that a cadet may attend. Each activity is approximately a week long, and all but two are offered during the Summer.

The variety of NCSAs offered by CAP gives cadets a diverse experience. Activities focus on career exploration, leadership development, search and rescue skills, aeronautical training, Air Force familiarization, government, and a variety of other topics.[1]

Selection Process[edit]

The popularity of NCSAs has led CAP to implement a selection process for cadets.[2] Cadets must be approved to attend NCSAs by their Squadron and Wing commanders. Cadets must also achieve a certain age and rank before attending an NCSA (varies) and have completed a Basic Encampment.

Announcement of NCSAs[edit]

National Cadet Special Activities for the following year are announced each November via the CAP Website. NCSAs for 2009 were announced on 10 November 2008.[3]

Selection Process for NCSAs[edit]

After the list of NCSAs for the upcoming year is published, interested cadets must file their application online at Civil Air Patrol's e-Services website. Cadets have until the 15th of January to file their applications. If a cadet wishes to attend more than one NCSA, the cadet should indicate each activity he or she wishes to attend, and rank them in order from highest to lowest. Cadets should indicate any activity in which they wish to participate, even if the dates overlap.

On 16 January, each wing headquarters will process the applications from that wing. Beginning in 2009, cadets will be assigned to one of three categories: Green-Light, Approved, and Red-Light.[4] At least one and up to 10% of cadets from each wing will be given the Green-Light, with the remaining cadets being slotted as approved. Cadets can be assigned to the Red-Light category because of poor conduct or an unsatisfactory attitude, and are thus ineligible to attend NCSAs.

Some wings hold selection boards to determine NCSA eligibility. Prior to 2009, these selection boards would rank and stack each cadet, producing a numerical order for cadets. However, in 2009, CAP has implemented a new Objective Scoring System to standardize the process across all wings.[4] Wing selection boards now meet to determine whether a cadet will be slotted as green-light, approved, or red-light.[2]

The Objective Scoring System was designed to evaluate cadets in a fair, impartial, and standardized manner. Cadets earn points based on their age, rank, years of service, and prior activities. Ties between cadets with the same score are broken by age. These scores are calculated on February 18, so changes made after February 18 (such as promotions or birthdays) are not accounted for.

Objective Scoring System[2]
Age Achievement Longevity Prior Activities
18+ = 10 points Spaatz = 20 points 5+ years = 15 points None = 15 points
17 = 8 pts Eaker = 16 pts 4 years = 12 pts 1 Activity = 10 points
16 = 6 pts Earhart = 14 pts 3 years = 9 pts 2 activities = 5 pts
15 = 4 pts Mitchell = 12 pts 2 years = 5 pts 3+ activities = 0 pts
14 = 3 pts Wright Bros = 8 pts 1 year = 2 pts
<14 = 0 pts None = 0 pts <1 years = 0 pts

After cadets are scored, they are grouped together by their category. The highest scoring Green-Light cadet is assigned to his or her highest desired NCSA, followed by the second highest scoring Green-Light, and so on, until all green light cadets have been assigned. After Green-Light cadets have been assigned, the highest Approved cadet is assigned, followed by the second highest approved cadet, and so on.

Cadets are automatically assigned to their most desired activity that has space available. Although all cadets have a chance to be assigned, not every cadet will be assigned because of a limited number of spaces. If, after all cadets have been assigned, any activity has vacancies, a second round of slotting begins. This second round begins with the highest ranking Green-Light cadet, and proceeds accordingly, adding a cadet to a second activity if the cadet wishes to attend the activity, the activity has space available, and the second activity does not conflict with the dates of the first activity. This process continues until no other vacancies can be filled.

CAP National Headquarters does not handle alternates. Instead, individual activity directors are responsible for alternative rosters, and are recommended to give preferential treatment to cadets who are not attending other NCSAs.[2]

Due to the high rank requirements and vast differences in curriculum, the selection process for International Air Cadet Exchange and Cadet Officer School may be significantly different from the selection process outlined above.[4]

Notification of Selection[edit]

On or about 1 March, cadets will be notified of their selection (or not) for each NCSA they applied for. Cadets are notified via the e-Services website.

Additionally, activity directors should contact their participants by 1 April and provide further information about the activity. Cadets must pay activity fees by 15 April or risk losing their slot to an alternate.[2]

List of NCSAs for 2009[edit]

For a full list of National Cadet Special Activities, including activities no longer offered, see List of National Cadet Special Activities

On 10 November, Civil Air Patrol released a list of activities for 2009.[3]

Air Force Careers
Activity Location
Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Familiarization Course Columbus AFB, Mississippi
Laughlin AFB, Texas
Air Force Pararescue Orientation Course Kirtland AFB, New Mexico
Advanced Air Force Pararescue Orientation Course Kirtland AFB, New Mexico
Air Force Space Command Familiarization Course Patrick AFB, Florida
Peterson AFB, Colorado
Aviation Careers
Activity Location
Aircraft Manufacturing & Maintenance Academy Independence, Kansas
MKS Aviation Business Academy McMinnville, Oregon
National Blue Beret Oshkosh, Wisconsin
National Flight Academy
(Powered and Glider)
Varies by Region
Aviation Challenge Huntsville, Alabama
EAA Air Academy Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Space Camp Huntsville, Alabama
Leadership Careers
Activity Location
Cadet Officer School Maxwell AFB, Alabama
Honor Guard Academy (Years 1, 2, and 3) Westminster, Maryland
International Air Cadet Exchange Worldwide
National Cadet Competition McMinnville, Oregon
Operations Training
Activity Location
Hawk Mountain Ranger School Kempton, Pennsylvania
National Emergency Services Academy Camp Atterbury, Indiana
Technology Careers
Activity Location
Advanced Technologies Academy Peterson AFB, Colorado
Engineering Technologies Academy Auburn, Alabama
Engineering Technologies - Neutral Buoyancy Lab Flint, Michigan


This article incorporates material produced by the Civil Air Patrol. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the material is in the public domain.
  1. ^ "TODAY'S CADETS, TOMORROW'S AEROSPACE LEADERS" (PDF). 2006. Retrieved 2008-11-06.
  2. ^ a b c d e Curt LaFond (2007-10-16). "National Cadet Special Activities Slotting System 2008" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-11-10.
  3. ^ a b "National Special Activities". Archived from the original on 2009-01-14. Retrieved 2008-11-10.
  4. ^ a b c "NCSA Slotting". Archived from the original on January 23, 2009. Retrieved 2008-11-10.

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