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402D FA brigade: takes aim at training military police Soldiers.

Field artillery (FA) Soldiers at Fort Bliss, Texas, continue to stay at the forefront of training mobilized U.S. Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve military police Soldiers for deployment. Most of the units mobilized through Fort Bliss deploy in support of detention operations for Operation Enduring Freedom or at the detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. Many military police units have recently become focused on detention operations, and the 402d FA Brigade is at the tip of the spear when it comes to validating the ability to conduct detention operations. To date, more than 15,000 Soldiers have been trained--with more than 7,000 of those being military police.


The mission of the 402d FA Brigade is to advise, assist, and train Reserve Component units during premobilization periods; conduct the mobilization, training support, and readiness validation of deploying Reserve Component forces; oversee demobilization operations at Mobilization Training Center Bliss; and as directed, execute culminating training events and provide training to joint, combined, interagency, and Active Army forces.

Colonel Carolyn Birchfield, the commander of the 402d FA Brigade, has placed an emphasis on the ability of the brigade to effectively provide a tough, realistic, and relevant culminating training event for training audiences. According to the brigade vision statement, "The 402d FA Brigade is a premier training organization that transforms and remains adaptive to provide the best possible combat-ready forces for deployment to any theater of operation." In today's ever-changing strategic and tactical operating environment, the brigade is envisioned as remaining adaptive. Providing quality detention operations training drives the mostly maneuver-centric brigade staff to learn and apply military police doctrine to create a premier training experience for mobilized units at Fort Bliss.

Detainee Operations Training

Members of mobilized units who are slated to conduct detainee operations in Afghanistan receive a combination of individual Soldier predeployment training and battalion staff training and validation. The 402d FA Brigade is responsible for validating the ability of the battalion staff to conduct detention operations at the Parwan Detention Facility, Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. To provide realistic training scenarios for mobilized battalion staffs, the 402d FA Brigade and the training audience participated in numerous predeployment site surveys conducted at the Parwan Detention Facility. The ability of the brigade to provide the most realistic scenarios possible better prepares the staff for deployment. Mobilized units receive intensive instruction on the military decisionmaking process and are given several opportunities to practice the process. Mission scenarios are designed to incorporate the eventual transition from coalition guard force to Afghan-centric guard force, and the focus of the culminating training event is on the strategic sensitivity of this mission. Examples of training scenarios presented to units include the movement of a detainee, a fire or other disturbance within the detention facility, and the death of a detainee. These scenarios shape mobilized battalion staffs into cohesive teams that are capable of executing delicate missions.

Detention operations at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base are unlike those anywhere else in the world. Mobilized units slated to conduct detainee operations at Guantanamo Bay receive specific training that is commensurate with the international attention associated with the joint detention group located there. Battalion staffs that conduct detainee operations at the joint task force level or the joint detention group level must be able to very effectively carry out mission analyses and the military decisionmaking process. Given the highly visible and ever-changing environment at the Guantanamo Bay facility, timely and accurate reporting is required. Battalion staffs and subordinate companies work tirelessly to ensure that units are prepared before deployment. The 402d FA Brigade assists in designing relevant mission scenarios to better prepare units for the sensitive and demanding mission at Guantanamo Bay.


Whether in Afghanistan or at Guantanamo Bay, the 402d FA Brigade and the Mobilization Training Center Bliss strive to provide mobilized units with the training necessary to successfully complete their missions in theater. The Military Police Corps is undergoing a paradigm shift from combat support operations to a law enforcement/detention operations skill set. At the forefront of this shift is an FA brigade that understands what the Corps demands from its Soldiers.

Rough Riders! Saddle Up!

By Captain Derrick W. Dew

Captain Dew is the plans officer (S-3) for 2d Battalion, 362d FA Regiment, 402d FA Brigade. He holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, and a master's degree in organizational business and security management from Webster University.
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Author:Dew, Derrick W.
Publication:Military Police
Geographic Code:1U7TX
Date:Sep 22, 2013
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