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18th Military Police sends representative to UNMILPOC.

The Nordic Defense Cooperation biannually conducts a 3-week United Nations Military Police Course (UNMILPOC) in Aalborg, Denmark. This past fall, the 18th Military Police Brigade sent two junior officers and two noncommissioned officers (NCOs) to the course, which consisted of 34 students from 17 different nations.

The objective of UNMILPOC is to teach officers and NCOs from many different nations how to learn, operate and, eventually, instruct in a multinational military police environment. Like the U.S. Army Military Police School (USAMPS), UNMILPOC incorporates the military police functional areas. However, unlike many U.S. military schools, UNMILPOC does not focus on improving upon specific military tactics; rather, it focuses on attaining a baseline understanding of operational environments and solutions for international problems. There are four main areas of UNMILPOC focus:

* Officer administration.

* Officer operations.

* NCO administration.

* NCO operations.

These focus areas are intended to present students with a common platform for military police operations within a multinational military police unit in a United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or coalition operational area.

The first week of the fall 2014 course began with English classes in the mornings. These classes offered U.S. Soldiers the unique opportunity to serve as assistant English instructors--especially in the areas of land navigation and vehicle maintenance military terms. The English classes were followed by operations classes, which focused on decisionmaking, presentation, and communication. Officers were grouped into teams of three; the teams created operation orders for military police missions, such as personal security detachment and area security operations. NCOs were grouped into teams of five; those teams planned and sometimes executed squad level missions. Representatives from each country had their own ideas about which particular section was most essential, and each country had its own standard for writing operation orders. Additionally, team members possessed varied skill and language levels, which led to some confusion but, eventually, to some unique products. In general, U.S. Soldiers were considerably more detail-oriented and tactically aggressive than others, whereas Nordic countries tended to use a significant number of local police for operational support.

The second week of the course focused on United Nations-themed basic police skills, administration, and military police reports. A hands-on approach toward riot control and professional law enforcement was used during this portion of the course. Riot control training started by exposing students (with and without the protection of masks) to tear gas and eventually progressed to setting them afire with Molotov cocktails. Additional training consisted of teams of two extinguishing a dummy that had been set afire, rescuing a gas canister from a burning building, and deescalating demonstrations. Most of the Finnish soldiers were specifically trained in riot control and were, therefore, a great asset for this portion of the course. They provided instruction in the chaotic and confusing environment, thereby demonstrating the value and strength that is possible with a United Nations mission. For professional law enforcement training, officers and NCOs were grouped into teams of five and the groups responded to traffic accidents, house robberies, and host nation complaints. These exercises allowed the students to learn a common standard and gain a basic understanding of the international operational environment.

The final week of the course included a culminating event-- the 3-day Blue Beret Exercise--in which class members worked together to execute an initial deployment to a host nation and begin conducting United Nations military police missions. The students quickly established a military police company headquarters and two provost marshal offices. Patrols immediately began responding to traffic accidents, claims violations, and host nation police brutality reports. Meanwhile, the company headquarters was being flooded with operation orders for protection details, luggage checks, and key leader meetings. The exercise scenario included a notional chain of command, with the military police brigade led by a Sudanese lieutenant colonel, a battalion led by a Ukrainian major, and an operational staff from five different countries. The brigade and battalion leaders spoke minimal English, making it very difficult to communicate with the higher command. Challenges stemming from the diversity were particularly noticeable during the first briefing to the brigade commander as his customs differed incredibly from those of the host nation and the military police company. The Blue Beret Exercise concluded with two key leader engagements, a riot, and public affairs interactions with local police. These scenarios were extremely complicated, and the ability of the multilanguage class to operate based on the principal understanding of military police functions was impressive. The results of the course after action review indicated that participants recognized the value of participation from native English speakers, soldiers with prior combat deployment experience, and soldiers who knew and understood doctrine. It was also agreed that the wide variety of countries that participated strengthened the class.

Because of the representation from a variety of countries, UNMILPOC students realized the importance of understanding cultural differences and differences among countries in planning and conducting operations. The most significant observation was that, despite minor differences between the militaries, it was possible to successfully conduct professional law enforcement operations in a multinational environment. This was because the nations involved had a common basic understanding of military police functions. U.S. Soldiers learned the value of training in a multinational environment and saw how cooperation can impact the result of a vital operation. The experience gained through course attendance was an asset to individual Soldiers and to the units to which they returned.

First Lieutenant Sbarbaro is the platoon leader, 1st Platoon, 615th Military Police Company, 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, Grafenwoehr, Germany. She holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from the U.S. Military Academy-West Point, New York.
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Author:Sbarbaro, Sara K.
Publication:Military Police
Date:Mar 22, 2015
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