CAP defines aerospace education (AE) as that branch of general education concerned with communicating knowledge, skills, and attitudes about aerospace activities and the total impact of air and space vehicles upon society." The aerospace education programs are designed to promote an understanding and appreciation for the importance of aviation and space exploration to our society and national security.

Throughout the Cadet Program, an emphasis is placed on teamwork and leadership. Cadets are mentored through individualized study, preparation, instruction, and attainment. Each phase of the Cadet Program focuses on leadership, aerospace education, physical fitness, and character development.

These areas of achievement are implemented through trained Cadets and adult 'Senior Members' who work collectively and individually with each Cadet. The program is primarily oriented toward meetings and activities held at local units or "Squadrons". Some of these activities include aircraft orientation flights, model airplane building, drill teams, model rocketry, search and rescue, and survival training.

AP's talents have augmented the Air Force in search and rescue (SAR) and disaster relief/disaster preparedness since CAP's formation in 1941. CAP emergency services' primary mission objective is to save lives and relieve human suffering. To be effective, the lives of CAP personnel performing the mission must be safeguarded. CAP demands professionalism in organization, training, and mission execution to accomplish this service. Only qualified members are allowed to participate in actual missions. The emergency services mission includes search and rescue and disaster relief operations.

In Washington State, CAP primarily works with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Aviation Search and Rescue office for search and rescue operations and with numerous Federal, State, and Local agencies for other missions in times of need.