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Chair of the Executive Committee

Air Marshal Sir Christopher Coville KCB FRAeS

From the Chair August 2021: Image



The RAF has for the past year or so been embarked on a game-changing initiative called Project Astra, which signals a move to a service fit for purpose in the 21st Century.

As many Cranwellians will be aware from the AGM at Cranwell on 7th August, the RAF is progressively clarifying the roles of, and their positions on, both the overarching data base (Galaxy) and an Alumni organisation (Astra Trust), the latter providing a ‘Facebook’ type facility for all ranks, serving and retired.

The CA have been fully engaged in the Commandant-led  Working Group, which AMP (AM Andrew Turner) established, and our approach has been to be supportive, constructive, but to caution where we believe it has been necessary, especially in the detail associated with charitable status.

We have offered support especially for two options: 

  • Convergence (the CA construct forming the initial Alumni Trust) should the Alumni element be delayed or challenged by the CC; 

  • Federation (CA being a component of the Alumni Trust), should both Galaxy and Astra proceed.

Should, as expected, the Federation model emerge as the preferred option, we would intend to maintain our identity as the CA, with clearly defined responsibilities (Reunion, Cadetship/GE focus, Heritage etc), detailed in an MOU or Letter of Agreement. However, to facilitate the acceptance of Astra's charitable objects, we would be prepared to relinquish our full charitable status, should this prove necessary to avoid duplicating objectives.

There would need to be an agreement between the CA, the College and the RAF on how best to support each other, including disbursement of existing funds; this would be done with full transparency to our membership. A waiver on the initial joining fee for CA membership would seem appropriate, and would be seen as recognition of the contribution made by the Association to the new Trust.

As AMP confirmed at our AGM, CA would have at least one place on the Astra Board of Trustees.

A longer-term plan for the CA would need to be developed, including a progressive migration to post-cadetship leadership, and in due course its transition to a new role, perhaps focused on history, heritage and raising public awareness of the College and its place in the history of this and other nations.

This is a pragmatic option, which preserves what our membership cherishes most, and at the same time gives us a vital supporting role to Astra in delivering the original CA vision.

The CA ExCom will assess future options once the outcome of the WG is promulgated, and we will ensure that members are kept fully informed as this important initiative matures.

For a full brief on Project Astra click here.

From the Chair August 2021: Text
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