Military Police


Military Police contains information about military police functions in maneuver and mobility support, area security, law and order, internment/resettlement, and police intelligence operations.

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61 Spring 2016 By Major Ranjini T. Danaraj, First Lieutenant Leigh M. Hackbert, and First Lieutenant Hannah M. Miller I n December 2014, the commander of U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR), Lieutenant General Frederick Hodges, commented in an open forum about a desire for freedom of movement on the European continent that was as easy as driving from Virginia to Georgia. Immediately recogniz- ing that the 18th Military Police Brigade (which is uniquely composed of one military police battalion, one engineer bat- talion, and the European regional confnement facility) could be relevant to this task, Colonel Zane Jones, commander of the 18th Military Police Brigade, directed his staff to develop a proof of principle. This proof of principle morphed into Operation Vigi- lant Express, which was a reconnaissance of three differ- ent routes in Germany and neighboring Operation Atlantic Resolve countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland) with combined military police and engineer teams. Opera- tion Vigilant Express was aimed at testing the unit abil- ity to conduct route reconnaissance and surveillance, liaise with host nation authorities to fulfll country requirements, and challenge the serviceability of Humvee platforms that are signifcantly underutilized in Europe. As the battalion executed Operation Vigilant Express, rumblings about Op- eration Dragoon Ride, a 1,800 kilometer tactical road march from Estonia to Germany, started to flter to the battalion. News of this operation did not originate from a USAREUR operation order, but from the brigade commander, who learned of the operation and took the initiative to contact the 2d Cavalry Regiment (2CR) to offer the services of the brigade. His next call was to the 709th Military Police Bat- talion commander to plan the military police concept of sup- port for the operation. The battalion seized the initiative quickly, deploying liai- son offcers to the 3d Squadron, 2CR (3/2CR), tactical opera- tion center in Riga, Latvia, within 5 days, to nest directly with the squadron planning the operation. This step single- handedly ensured planning synchronization and, ultimate- ly, mission success. The battalion and brigade staff quick- ly divided lines of effort and began planning efforts with 2CR, the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, USAREUR, and the numerous country teams. The embedded military police liaison offcers quickly demonstrated their worth by articulating what the military police could do to bolster movement protection, coordinating with host nation security forces to determine the response to contingency events (ac- tions on halt, actions on accident, actions on protest, actions on hostile act) and staffng the monumental requirements for diplomatic clearances for the military police. The liaison offcers conducted daily conference calls with the battalion operations offcer (S-3) to ensure that the most up-to-date information was integrated in the planning effort back at the military police battalion headquarters. Through mission analysis, the battalion executive offcer and staff quickly identifed Soldier readiness processing, re- sourcing, and unit movement coordination gaps and initi- ated a series of in-progress reviews to synchronize efforts. The brigade spearheaded the effort to coordinate diplomatic clearances for the movement forward, which included so- cializing with the embassies where military police would be transiting with weapons and ammunition (an infrequent oc- currence). The most signifcant planning event involved the bat- talion S-3's participation in the USAREUR rehearsal-of- concept (ROC) drill. What had begun with a simple direc- tive from the USAREUR commanding general to 2CR to road march back to Germany now involved the majority of USAREUR units. At the ROC drill, it was evident that the logistical infrastructure was adequate, there was a vi- able recovery and medical evacuation plan, and there was suffcient airspace for USAREUR fxed- and rotary-wing assets. During the rehearsals, the battalion S-3 consistently advised of the military police concept of support and contingency response actions. Additionally, attending this planning event helped the S-3 to understand the larger strategic context for the mission and its signifcant informa- tion operations campaign.

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