CAP Offers Security Services

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Civil Air Patrol leaders met with Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge last week to tell him the 64,000 members of the Air Force auxiliary can help tackle one of the biggest enemies of national security -- the high cost of maintaining it. "CAP has the largest privately-owned fleet of single-engine aircraft in the nation," said Maj. Gen. Rick Bowling, CAP national commander. "We can put one of those planes in the air for $90 an hour as opposed to several thousand dollars an hour for military aircraft or helicopters." (more) Bowling said CAP has already flown security flights over the former World Trade Center site, the 2002 Winter Olympics and the launch of the space shuttle Columbia. He said CAP volunteers are all trained in reconnaissance, search and rescue, narco-terrorism and disaster relief and the organization has already begun restructuring to focus on security matters. "CAP can be part of the nation's vision for homeland security as it's developed from the ground up." There was no word on what Ridge thought of the offer.