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Mission Documentation

CAPR 60-3 requires wing commanders to ensure that records pertaining to each authorized mission are filed at wing headquarters.  These records will include at least:

- ICS 201 or full Incident Action Plan; Most missions will only need to have an ICS 201, but some more resource intensive missions may need additional docuimentation and planning.  Substantial revisions should be kept reflecting major changes like objective or tasking changes; changes to correct spelling or grammatical errors made are not necessary.  Even if CAP is not the lead agency, incident action plans should be retained in our records  for later reference.

- Incident Commander (IC) log; The IC's log should record all major events and decisions made on an incident, and will tell the story of what happened.  Even if CAP is not the lead agency, the CAP IC serving as the agency representative or in another function must keep a log of what was authorized.  The final decision to use CAP resources remains within CAP at all times.  The CAP IC exercises full authority over all CAP personnel for matters pertaining to the mission.  The CAP IC must exercise prudent judgment in prosecuting missions.  A thorough assessment of all risks associated with the mission must be accomplished and appropriate controls put in place to ensure safe operations.  The logs should reflect these often times difficult decisions when they are made.

- Mission flight plans; The CAPF 104, and any attachments must always be kept.  This documents not only what a crew was released to do, but what was actually done, and when combined with other logs builds a comprehensive picture of what was accomplished on a mission.

- Personnel registers; Knowing who supported the mission is critical.  This is often times recorded on the ICS 201, but can be kept on separate forms or systems as well.  Listings of personnel participating throughout the mission must be kept, and don't forget to include those resources that may have been remotely dispatched or support at a distance.

- Vehicle registers; Knowing the vehicles that supported the mission is also critical for insurance and reimbursement purposes.  This is also recorded on the ICS 201 for most missions, but can be kept on separate forms or systems too.  Listings of vehicles used throughout the mission must be kept, and don't forget to include those resources that may have been remotely dispatched or support at a distance.  It isn't necessary to list every member owned vehicle driven to the incident command post or other sites, but as a general rule of thumb it should be recorded if  usage will be reimbursed or insured to make sure it is clearly covered.

- Aircraft registers; Knowing the aircraft that supported the mission is also critical for insurance and reimbursement purposes.  This is also recorded on the ICS 201 for most missions, but can be kept on separate forms or systems too.  Listings of aircraft used throughout the mission must be kept, and again, don't forget to include those resources that may have been remotely dispatched or support at a distance.  If the aircraft was flight released on the mission it must be listed somehow.

- All CAP forms used; Though it may seem trivial, all of the forms used on a mission tell the story of what was done and how, and thus need to be retained.  You never know if one piece of paper has the critical piece of information needed to solve a bigger problem.  That is why having a properly staffed finance / administration section can be critical; so that in the haste to release resources and demobilize at the end of the mission, what was actually done is not lost.

- All wing forms used; Some wings also develop forms to help personnel conduct missions locally.  These need to be kept as well as they also tell the story of what was done and how.

- Sortie logs; This is where the rubber meets the road, where field resources, aircrews and ground teams, document what they did and that is obviously critical.  At the lowest levels it may be tough to know how important some small piece of data is, but when all of the data is put together from all of the sorties accomplished it can solve many problems and really outline what was done.  These logs can also help correct problems on future missions so that lessons can be learned and operations are always improved.

- Interview / interrogations forms; Interviews in the field may often times seem trivial, but they not only turn up clues, but in some cases their lack of clue development or one strange piece of information could change the course of an entire operation, so keeping these records is essential.

- Message logs; Again, knowing when and how personnel were notified, or if they were can be key, and thus message logs must be kept.

- News releases; News releases not only tell the story that was told to the public, but also often times used to help build additional clues or garner assistance for missions, and thus need to be kept.  Documentation of who approved the releases should also be kept in case there is ever a question.

- Reports to the controlling agency (CAPF 122, SITREPs, etc.); In general, if the controlling agency doesn't have your report, the work might as well not have been accomplished.  Records of what was reported done are obviously valuable, and should not be discarded when sent.  There are many cases where SITREPs were sent, but not received by all that needed them because of technological failures, so being able to resend them later is key.

- Any related information that may be needed in answering future inquiries relating to the mission; This is the catch all. If it may be pertinent to the mission, it should be retained until it can be properly reviewed to determine if it needs to be kept for the long term.  In the haste to close out and demobilize personnel, sometimes valuable data to impact how operations can be done better in the future could be lost if records are not retained.     

CAPR 60-3 not only outlines what needs to be kept, but also how and who can access them. 

- These records must be kept in a CAPF 115, Emergency Services Mission Folder, or electronically (scanned copies to document proper release signatures and such). Be sure scans are clearly readable before any actual hard documentation is discarded.

- Records must be maintained at least 4 years after the mission is closed or suspended except where they are involved in actual or potential litigation and then they will be retained until that issue is resolved.  Electronic records in WMIRS are automatically archived, but wings using other electronic systems to store data must be sure to archive and backup data as appropriate themselves, and should consider scheduling reoutine reviews of not only paper records but electronic records to conserve space.

- Mission records kept in WMIRS do not need to be kept separately in either paper or electronic format.  However, any mission records not contained in WMIRS must be kept in either paper or electronic format and be available for inspection.  We highly recommend storing scans of electronic records in WMIRS where they can be inspected anytime, and wings don't have to worry about the cost, space, and other issues to be considered with retaining records.

- No mission records will be released outside CAP without prior written approval of CAP/GC and HQ CAP-USAF/JA.  Some records contain sensitive materials, both operationally and personally, and care needs to be taken that records are handled appropriately.

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