Monday, February 07, 2011

Civil Air Patrol reorganizing their HF ALE capability

According to an interim change letter (ICL) issued January 24 by the US Air Force Civil Air Patrol commander on their public website (, the the USAF affiliate will soon be making major changes to their HF ALE national network.

According to the letter: The CAP’s 21st Century HF/ALE system will not use traditional scheduled voice nets for operational missions. Rather, it will be composed of a system of decentralized point-to-point, peer-to-peer stations strategically located to provide connectivity required for tactical and command and control communications. The system will be organized into a National Command Net and eight Region Command Nets.

According to the ICL the current national ALE net operation is described as follows:

The National Command Net is already in operation. It is composed of a designated message center station in each region along with at least one alternate, the National Operations Center (NOC), the National Technology Center (NTC), and one station in each OCONUS wing. The NOC and the NTC serve as the net control stations. Only designated stations may routinely operate on this net with the exception of situations during operational missions when the region ALE net is not available or inadequate.

Two of the points made in the ICL about the change to regional ALE nets include:

Each of the eight regions is being assigned a suite of HF frequencies to be used as the region ALE net. Conventional voice nets remain valuable for confidence checks and training and may also be scheduled on these frequencies. Conventional operations, however, must share the channel with ALE operations--to include automatic ALE soundings. With training and experience, operators will become accustomed to pausing voice operations during a sounding and then continuing when the channel is clear.

HF stations should not routinely operate on ALE nets assigned to other regions, or the national net, unless required for operational missions or pre-coordinated testing. Organized tests and exercises between wings of different regions should be fully coordinated with the appropriate region and wing directors of communications.

So in the near future of you notice changes in the CAP HF ALE operation, you now have a pretty good idea of what they are doing.