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Cadet Feedback Sessions & Review Boards

Compliance with CAP Regulation 60-1

CAPR 60-1 Cadet Program Management (Chapter 5: Cadet Advancement) provides the directive for feedback as an essential component for cadet progression and development in the CAP Cadet Program. Compliance with CAPR 60-1 is mandatory. 

This web page is intended to provide further guidance for the provision of feedback to meet CAP standards and is not intended to substitute or deviate from CAP regulation. 


Cadet Leadership Feedback Forms

The CAP Form 60-90 series summarizes feedback about a cadet's leadership performance as follows: 

  • CAPF 60-91 for Phase 1 cadets

  • CAPF 60-92 for Phase 2 cadets

  • CAPF 60-93 for Phase 3 cadets

  • CAPF 60-94 for Phase 4 cadets

Each cadet phase must receive a formal feedback session in which the cadet is provided direct, detailed feedback as to their leadership development and performance to ensure that they are adequately advancing through the Cadet Program by developing and demonstrating appropriate leadership traits commensurate with their phase. This feedback session must be conducted with the cadet once per phase and be accompanied by written feedback summarized on the corresponding CAPF 60-90 series form for that phase. 

The CAPF 60-90 series feedback forms are also used when a cadet is to be sustained in grade (i.e., not promoted when eligible) to ensure that the cadet receives the appropriate, recorded feedback to make necessary improvements for further consideration. Additional details regarding sustaining cadets in grade are found below on this page. 


Feedback Sessions vs. Review Boards

What is a Feedback Session?
Feedback sessions are formal or informal instances in which cadets receive critique—positive or negative—regarding their performance. Feedback may be provided from a variety of sources, to include senior members, higher-ranking cadets, peers, or even subordinate cadets depending on the type of feedback appropriate and necessary to help mentor and guide the cadet. 

A feedback session is considered formal when accompanied by a CAPF 60-90 series form, typically for the purposes of providing a written evaluation to identify performance strengths and areas for improvement, often associated with a promotion (although, not necessarily required for promotion). 

An informal feedback session would be one where feedback is more ad hoc, impromptu, or casual. In these cases, cadets are usually receiving brief feedback to make smaller adjustments in performance to help keep the cadet on-track and focused in a positive direction. These sessions are usually not prior to a promotion and are not generally part of the promotion review process. They may often be conducted after a cadet is approved for promotion to provide additional feedback from staff or a review panel. 

To summarize: the main different between formal and informal feedback is whether or not it is written and shared via a CAPF 60-90 series form. 


What is a Review Board?
Review boards are a collection of people who are assessing and analyzing a person's readiness for advancement. Review boards may be conducted with or without the cadet present depending on the need to meet with the individual directly. 

In cases where review boards meet with the cadet, these are usually considered a simultaneous formal feedback session to provide direct feedback to the individual as well as ensure compliance with the requirement to provide formal feedback at least once per phase. 

In cases where review boards meet without the cadet, these are usually discussions "in the background" in which members of the review panel are sharing their opinions with each other about the cadet's readiness to advance. These discussions may take place in real time, via email, by text message thread, or other means to communicate their input into the review process. 

The composition of a review board is determined by the Squadron Commander. Review boards are generally not permanently standing (i.e., there are no permanent members assigned as The Review Board) and are typically constructed on a case-by-case basis, usually reflecting the level to which the cadet is advancing which will also determine the appropriateness of who would be on the review panel. 

NOTE:  It is important to note that review boards do not determine if a cadet will or will not promote. The board is intended to provide a recommended to the Commander to help them decide if they are willing to approve the cadet for promotion. The board, however, may and should provide direct feedback to the cadet. 


Review Boards:  General Information

When is a Review Board required?
Cadets undergo a review for each achievement they become eligible to advance to; however, most of these reviews are relatively informal background conversations among the squadron staff and cadre. 

Formal review boards which meet with the cadet are typically conducted for milestone achievements, to include: 

  • Cadet Staff Sergeant

  • Cadet Second Lieutenant

  • Cadet Captain

  • Cadet Lieutenant Colonel

During these boards, the review panel will be with the cadet prior to their promotion being approved (or, in some cases, denied). 


Who is on the Review Panel?
A number of factors play into consideration as to who sits on a review panel.

For informal reviews, the process is much easier since the discussion is fairly general and broad as to the cadet's overall performance. Participants generally includes the cadet's immediate superior(s), staff members who have worked with the cadet, and Cadre members who oversee the cadet's training, and other individuals who may help to provide sound input. 

For formal reviews—especially for milestone achievements, the process is much more controlled to ensure that the focus remains on the cadet's readiness to advance to next phase of their training and take on significantly greater responsibilities. In these cases, the review panel should include

  • At least one senior member (preferably Cadre member)

  • The superior of the individual two positions higher (e.g., if the cadet is an Element Leader then the Flight Commander should be on the review panel)

  • Only other cadets who are at least two grades higher than the grade the cadet is attempting to promote to (e.g., if the cadet is promoting to Cadet Staff Sergeant, the lowest grade cadet on the review panel should be a Cadet Master Sergeant)

For formal review boards, the review panel should not include:

  • Family members of the cadet

  • Close personal friends of the cadet

  • Multiple review panel members who are related to each other, when possible (e.g., a senior member parent and their cadet child, siblings, etc.)

  • Subordinates of the cadet (See Note below)

NOTE:  Subordinates of the cadet under review should generally not be on the review panel; however, the panel would be wise to consider feedback of these individuals to ensure the most accurate image of the cadet's performance can be established for review. 


What is a Review Board allowed or not allowed to do?
Reviews are intended to meet with the cadet to: 

  • Answer open questions or concerns that individuals may have about the cadet's readiness to advance

  • Gauge the cadet's readiness to advance through open dialogue and conversation

  • Provide direct and immediate feedback to the cadet about their performance

  • Make suggestions to the cadet for performance improvement

  • Fulfill the CAPR 60-1 requirements to provide written feedback to cadets once per phase via the CAPF 60-90 series forms

  • Establish a common recommendation by the board to the Commander to consider whether to promote the cadet or to sustain the cadet in grade

Review boards may not: 

  • Ask the cadet trivia about knowledge or skills already demonstrate in accordance with the requirements to promote (i.e., written achievement exams)

  • Substitute promotion requirements (i.e., conducting a review board instead of administering required testing)

  • Be conducted without Commander knowledge and pre-approval to hold the board

  • Determine the cadet's "go" or "no-go" for promotion without discussing the board's conclusions and recommendations with the Commander


Review Boards:  Preparing as a Cadet

Cadets should understand that review boards are not intended to serve as an interrogation but to help to provide adequate feedback about one's performance and readiness to advance. Additionally, review boards help to serve as an example of what a corporate job interview or school/scholarship application interview might be like.

A review board is not your chance to showcase your abilities (which should be demonstrated during CAP activities and weekly meetings). Instead, this is your chance to explain your thought process when making decisions, discuss your management style as a leader, and bring to light your own concerns—whether about interpersonal issues that you have with others or to seek assistance on areas where you feel that you struggle. 

Best Practices for Your Review Board:

  • Look the part — Appearing professionally is a significant part of showing preparedness. It also shows how seriously you are taking the review process. Be properly groomed, hygienic, and sit up straight. 

  • Start strong — Having a good start to the meeting is critical. A bad start will only bring more questions from the board. Be on time and ready to sit down with the review panel. 

  • Courtesy goes a long way — Along with how you present your physical look is how you demonstrate your mannerisms. Be polite and respectful to the review panel. 

  • This is personal but not personal — While the board is reviewing your individual performance, the review process is not targeting or attacking you. The intent is to make you a better leader. Be prepared to discuss you

  • Be prepared to discuss others — It is very likely that you will be asked about other individuals: who you get along with, who you don't get along with, how you would handle certain situations involving other individuals. These questions are intended to look at your character, observational skills, situational awareness, and leadership principles. 

  • Don't expect the unexpected — Review boards are about honesty and integrity. You should already be aware of what people think of you. If you are stressed or nervous, it's because you are doing something to cause others to question your leadership abilities on a regular basis. By considering how you will appear before the review board several months away, you should be adjusting your behavior and leadership styles in advance. 

  • Last minute changes won't save you — If you have been having performance issues up until the week before your review board, do not expect one good day to change everyone's opinion. You should anticipate that the board is looking for at least a month or more of quality performance and improvement to consider you ready to advance. 

  • This is not about you, but it is about you — Anticipate that the review is looking at you as a leader and not your personal abilities and accomplishments. The review panel wants to know that you are going to use your advancement to grow in your capabilities to serve and develop others behind you. Come prepared to discuss how you have worked to build up others, not just yourself. 

  • Know your stuff — This is not a knowledge exam, but you need to know what you're getting into and what you're talking about. If you are trying to promote to Cadet Staff Sergeant, you need to understand the role of a non-commissioned officer. If you are trying to promote to Cadet Second Lieutenant, you need to understand the different between having a tactical approach and a strategic plan for developing a corps of cadets. 


Review Boards:  Preparing as a Review Panel

The reviewing party must understand that the review process is about determining readiness. This is not a time for punishment or correction but for critique and feedback for improvement.

One simple question needs to be answered by the end of the conversation:  Is the cadet meeting the expectations of a leader in this grade? 

Responsibilities of the Review Panel:

  • The Review Board Chairperson (designated by the Commander) schedules the review with the cadet. The cadet does not have to request a review. The responsibility to set the meeting up is on the Chair. 

  • Ensure that formal feedback includes the CAPF 60-90 series form. A copy needs to be provided to the cadet and the Commander. The entire review panel should receive a copy as well. 

  • Provide a recommendation to the Commander as to whether the cadet should be promoted or not. Share your recommendation with the cadet as well. Do not say "You will be..." Make sure the cadet understands that the Commander has the final decision, and that decision may take a couple of days. 

  • Ensure that the cadet understands what improvements must be made, even if they are recommended for promotion. Specific, detailed feedback is important for growth. Help them build a plan if they don't seem to understand what to do next. Be sure to follow up in a few weeks to check to see if those improvements are being made. 

  • If a cadet is going to be recommended to be sustained in grade (i.e., not promoted), they must have another review scheduled within 60 days from the date of the review. (The exception is if the cadet goes on hiatus during that 60-day period, in which case it is best practice to conduct the review 30-60 days after the cadet returns to active status). 


The Do's and Don'ts of the Review Meeting:

  • DO — Treat the cadet as you wish to be treated. They did their part by showing up. Be as respectful to them as you wish for them to be with the panel. 

  • DO — Provide honest, direct feedback. Maintain the cadet's dignity when negative feedback is provided. Know when to stop the meeting, if needed. 

  • DO — Ask open-ended questions, such as "Tell me about your opinions on..." or "Can you provide me with an example of..." Avoid closed questions that only result in "Yes" or "No" answers. 

  • DO — Focus on the cadet's leadership performance and assess it in comparison to the leadership expectations for the grade they are seeking promotion to. 

  • DO — Try to limit the board to no more than 4 persons on the review panel. Too many people in the room can become overwhelming for the cadet, and the board gets to be difficult to control. 

  • DON'T — Use the review board in substitute of knowledge exams, or as an additional knowledge exam. Review boards are not intended to be "trivia sessions." 

  • DON'T — Be inconsistent. Review boards should be conducted similarly for all cadets, with the exception on the focus topics (which may vary cadet-to-cadet). The meeting should be customized for the individual but with the same intent and general format for everyone. 

  • DON'T — Be overly formal. While there is a training purpose to review boards, the intent is not to psych anyone out or scare the cadet. The review should be comfortable enough to have a conversation while formal enough to be serious and focused. 

  • DON'T — Drag the time out. A 60-minute review board is a nightmare for the cadet on the other end, and it eats up too much time. A board should be around 20 minutes for the interview with the cadet, 10 minutes for the panel to debrief with each other and share opinions, and 5-10 minutes to close the review process with the cadet present to answer any questions and provide any feedback. Avoid going over the same feedback points endlessly. 

  • DON'T — Use the review panel as a "shooting gallery." Everyone on the panel should speak, but the Chair should do most of the talking when the cadet isn't speaking. The intent is to obtain information and provide feedback, not to "blast" the cadet the entire time with comments from each person sitting there. 

  • DON'T — Let others sit in to observe that aren't relevant. The meeting should not be a public event. 


What should the cadet wear?
While review boards of the past commonly used Service Dress or Service Uniforms as the designated attire, present-day military review boards are asking participants—including the individual being reviewed—to wear utility uniforms. This is to avoid breaking up the duty day by needing unnecessary wardrobe changes, keeping the review more casual (less focused on appearance and more focused on performance), and allowing the candidate to be more relaxed. This is, obviously, contrary to almost everything that one may have learned in the corporate world, where you put may put on a suit-and-tie or best dress for an interview. 

It is key to remember that review boards are not job interviews; they are part of the feedback process. 


Scheduling the Review:
Review boards should be scheduled as soon as the cadet becomes eligible to advance, or sooner if able; however, cadets should have all requirements for promotion completed/met before the meeting is conducted to ensure that they are absolutely ready to advance. The intent is to not delay the cadet's promotion unnecessarily.

Boards should also not be scheduled too far in advance, such as two months before the time-in-grade requirement is met. A lot can change in that time, for better or worse. 

Depending on the availability of review panel members, availability of the cadet, time available, and other factors that might be in consideration when scheduling the meeting, the Chair should determine the best approach to setting up the meeting between the board and the cadet. Boards are typically held during weekly squadron training meetings; however, some boards may need to be scheduled outside of the weekly meeting, such as a virtual call. 

For virtual boards, it is best practice to have cameras on with members in uniform; although, it is understandable that video feed back cause internet lag issues, in which case it would be appropriate to keep cameras off. 

It is important to ensure that the review board is properly scheduled and that the intent to conduct the review is adequately conveyed to need-to-know persons, such as the Commander, Deputy Commander for Cadets, Cadet Commander, Operations staff, etc. The Chair should place a calendar invitation on the calendars of board participants to ensure proper coordination and attendance (even for in-person meetings). 


Sustaining a Cadet in Grade

A Command Decision
It is imperative to remember that only the Squadron Commander has the authority to deny a promotion and to sustain a cadet in grade. 

No member—cadet or senior—should ever tell a cadet that they will be promoted or denied a promotion without Commander consultation. 


60 Day Review
Any cadet that is sustained in grade must be scheduled for a subsequent review within 60 days of the previous review so long as the cadet will remain active during the 60-day period. 

Cadets who go on hiatus during that time should receive their follow-up review session within 30-60 days after their return to active status with CAP. 


Written Feedback
Whenever a cadet is sustained in grade, they must be provided with a CAPF 60-90 series form to share feedback intended to support a path for performance improvement and personal growth. Feedback must be honest and constructive to help the cadet "bounce back" from the hold-up. 

Parents do not need to be notified of a denial of promotion; however, Cadre members should be prepared to discuss issues with parents to alleviate any concerns and to use parents to help assist the cadet in making the necessary improvements. Cadre members must discuss any behavioral concerns with parents. 


Withholding Future Promotions
Sustaining a cadet in grade is not an equivalent to prohibiting any future promotion and should only reflect the latest review. The 60-day window for subsequent review should provide adequate opportunity for the cadet to make and demonstrate the performance improvements necessary to achieve the promotion by the next review session. 

That said, there are instances where the cadet may still not be ready to advance by the next review. In such instances, Cadre members are encouraged to discuss the cadet's issues with their parents to help identify any unknown issues that may be occurring outside of CAP contributing to the cadet's performance deficiencies and to develop a partnered plan with parents to assist the cadet in improving. 


Sample List of Questions and Discussion Topics for Review Boards:  Cadet Non-Commissioned Officers

NCO-focused discussion:

  • Describe the role that NCOs have in a military organization. 

  • What is your idea of a perfect NCO, or an example of your ideal NCO?

  • What type of relationships do you want to have with your subordinates as an NCO?

  • What type of relationships do you want to have with your officers?  


Personal leadership style:

  • Describe your idea of the perfect leader. 

  • How do you think Cadet Airmen see you (in respect to leadership)? 

  • What is an example of you helping to develop those junior to you? 

  • Do you have any examples of poor leadership that you have experienced? What would you do differently?


Personal development:

  • What is your plan to grow over the next 6-12 months? 

  • What are the top lessons that you feel you have learned since joining CAP? 

  • What is your "big plan" for yourself in CAP? 



Sample List of Questions and Discussion Topics for Review Boards:  Cadet Officers

Officer-focused discussion:

  • Describe the difference between officers and NCOs in military organizations.

  • What type of relationships do you want to have with your subordinates as an officer? What type of relationships do you want to have with their subordinates?  

  • Where do you feel like being an officer will bring new challenges for you? How do you intend to overcome those challenges?


Strategic focus:

  • If you could be the Cadet Commander tomorrow, what would be your first initiative? 

  • How do you intend to apply a strategic training model to better your team?

  • Where do you want to see the squadron in one year? How will you help to drive the squadron to that goal. 

  • Where does CAP need to re-focus in its development of younger/newer cadets? 


Personal leadership and development:

  • What were your personal struggles as an NCO? 

  • What would you do differently if you could go back and be a new NCO again?

  • What is your plan for your next year in CAP?

  • What is your "big plan" for life outside of CAP, school, etc.?



CAPF 60-90 Series Cadet Leadership Feedback Forms — Feedback forms, required to be used at least once per phase to provide written feedback to each cadet; required whenever a cadet is sustained in grade

CAPP 60-11 Cadet Programs Officer's Handbook & Specialty Track Guide — Section 3.6 provides guidance for leadership feedback meetings

CAPP 60-31 Cadet Staff Handbook — Section 2.7 provides guidance for promotion review boards

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