Civil Air Patrol Volunteer Now

Quality Cadet Unit Award

Any cadet unit that displays strong program fundamentals can earn the Quality Cadet Unit Award. This award motivates squadrons to pursue goals that will inevitably lead to their having a vibrant Cadet Program. The Quality Cadet Unit Award is purely objective. Cadet and composite squadrons who meet the challenging criteria below automatically earn the award. 

All cadet and composite squadrons and flights with a minimum of 10 cadets are eligible. 

2015-2016 CRITERIA (Data from 1 September 2015 through 31 August 2016)
The award criteria are entirely objective.  Any unit that meets at least 6 of the 10 criteria listed below, as of 31 August, qualifies:

  • Adult Leadership: Unit has at least 3 Training Leaders of Cadets graduates on its roster
  • Aerospace: Unit earned the Aerospace Excellence Award (AEX) or sent in an after-action report on a STEM Kit during the school year
  • Cadet Achievement: 40% of cadets on roster have attained the Wright Brothers Award
  • DDR Participation: 20% of cadets on roster have completed DDRx or unit participated in RRLA
  • Encampment: 50% of cadets on roster have completed encampment
  • Enrollment: Unit has at least 35 cadets listed on its roster
  • Growth: Unit’s cadet roster increased by 10%, or 10 cadets (from 1 September 2015)
  • Orientation Flights: 70% of cadets on roster have participated in at least 1 flight
  • Retention: Unit retained 40% of first year cadets (cadets that joined from 1 September 2014 through 31 August 2015)
  • CyberPatriot: Members that actively participate in CyberPatriot will earn their squadron credit.  (Currently under construction)

Pull the redesigned Quality Cadet Unit Report from Member Reports to see how your unit is doing. 


  1. Each September 8th, NHQ will examine every cadet and composite squadron’s performance in the criteria above, as reflected in eServices. Every cadet and composite squadron is automatically considered for the award – there is no application procedure necessary.
  2. Each September, NHQ will announce the winning squadrons on this webpage. Award elements will be mailed to the respective wing headquarters, for presentation at a suitable venue.

Cadet and composite squadrons that qualify for the Quality Cadet Unit Award will receive the following:

  1. An award emblem for the unit’s website, letterhead, recruiting materials, and other publications.
  2. A certificate that will be presented by wing headquarters at an appropriate venue


1.    I think our unit should be credited for something that isn't appearing on the report.  How can I make sure we receive the credit?
The award and associated report pull the information directly from eServices.  Most likely you'll need to make sure the information has been entered into the associated module correctly.  Here's how the award elements are tracked:
  • Adult Leadership: TLC credit granted when the TLC director send the CAPF11 of participants to
  • Aerospace Excellence Award: Credit granted through AEX module
  • STEM Kit:  Send in an after-action report on a STEM Kit.  Credit will be given for the year the cadet is completed, regardless of when the kit was ordered.
  • Cadet Achievement: Cadet Promotions module
  • DDRx: Reporting and tracking module 
  • RRLA: Complete After Action Report and be sure to check "RRLA" box in section "l"
  • Encampment: Encampment commanders credit cadets with graduation credit in the Encampment Reporting module of eServices.
  • Enrollment, Growth & Retention:
  • Orientation Flights: WMIRS
  • CyberPatriot: Under Construction

If you cannot resolve the issue with one of the above links, email us at  


3.    How does the Quality Cadet Unit Award affect the Squadron of Merit Award program? 
The Squadron of Merit Award remains in effect, but only one squadron per wing wins that award each year. The SOM program allows the wing commander to make subjective judgments about which unit is the “best” in the wing, while the Quality Cadet Unit Award is purely objective. One would hope that the SOM winner would also be a QCUA winner, but that is not a pre-requisite.   

4.     Isn’t the Quality Cadet Unit Award basically a return of the “CAP-MAP” program of the 1980s?
Not at all. CAP-MAP measured administrative inputs – Did you complete a chaplain report?, Did you submit an encampment report?, Did you appoint a CAC representative?, etc. In contrast, the QCUA measures outcomes – Are you flying cadets?, Are you sending cadets to encampment?, Is your unit growing? It was conceivable for a CAP-MAP winning unit to be a paper tiger, while a QCUA winning unit will necessarily have an active, flourishing Cadet Program.  
5.    Management Tool 
The Quality Cadet Unit Award can serve as a helpful management tool. Local leaders can use its award criteria to gauge the relative health of their Cadet Program. Wing leaders can use the QCUA program to identify squadrons that are flourishing, and perhaps use leaders of those outstanding units to mentor leaders in nearby units that did not earn the award.

Joanna Lee, NHQ Program Manager

Library | Aerospace | Leadership | Feedback | Drill | Fitness | Character | Quality Cadet Units | Awards
Cadet Blog | Best Practices | Proving Grounds | Specialty Track | Required Staff Training | Squadron in a Box


CAP National Headquarters
105 South Hansell Street
Bldg. 714
Maxwell AFB, AL 36112-5937
Interested in Membership?
Contact Your Local Unit
Copyright © 2016 Civil Air Patrol National Headquarters. All Rights Reserved.