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Redefining the roles of military police in the corps fight.

"A premier integrated military police force recognized as policing, investigations, and corrections professionals who enable the Army's decisive action in unified land operations in concert with our partners to achieve tactical, operational, and strategic outcomes in unstable and complex worldwide environments. "

--Vision: Military Police Force Strategy 2020 (1)

This article discusses the role of the Provost Marshal Office (PMO), III Corps, and military police units in support of unified land operations/decisive action as executed during Warfighter Exercise (WFX) 15-03, February 2015 at Fort Hood, Texas, and Camp Atterbury, Indiana.

From October 2014 to February 2015, III Corps conducted a series of exercises focused on decisive action as a field headquarters. For the first time since the opening salvos of the Global War on Terror, the mission would focus on the ability of the corps to deploy to an immature theater and operate as a tactical command post with multiple divisions and an operational headquarters with responsibilities as the Coalition Joint Force Land Component Command (CJFLCC). After III Corps returned from a deployment in early 2014, it endured the usual turnover of key personnel throughout the spring and summer of 2014. The institutional knowledge of the corps and the staff that focused on the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism fights in Iraq and Afghanistan was lost. With a new commanding general and staff, the III Corps conducted a series of leader development seminars and command post exercises based on the Mission Command Training Program Caspian Sea scenario. In the first quarter of fiscal year 2015, the III Corps staff erected the corps main command post and conducted a series of major exercises to liberate the fictional country of Atropia from its neighbor, Ariana. The first exercise was a staff exercise with only virtual play from subordinate units. The second exercise was WFX 15-02, wherein III Corps served as the higher command for the 82d Airborne Division and the 38th Infantry Division, Indiana Army National Guard. The third and culminating exercise was WFX 15-03, in which III Corps led a simulated coalition of ground forces, including the 1st Infantry Division and the returning 38th Infantry Division.

These exercises allowed the corps PMO to explore three recent doctrinal and structural changes to the way that military police support unified land operations/decisive action:

* The echelon, type, and number of military police units allocated to brigade combat teams (BCTs), divisions, and corps changed.

* III Corps developed and executed a corps support command post (CSCP) to synchronize and integrate support to decisive action.

* The corps PMO incorporated a U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (commonly known as CID) criminal intelligence (CRIMINT) analyst, who developed and refined a process to provide detailed criminal and hybrid threat analysis throughout the CJFLCC operational environment.

* Experience compiled from these progressively more complex exercises resulted in significant changes to the way the military police will fight in support of III Corps.

Total Army Analysis 18-22 dramatically changed the way military police enabled maneuver units in support of decisive action. WFX 15-02 provided the first opportunity for III Corps to explore these new rules of allocation. In conjunction with the rules of allocation, the Army ordered the deactivation of the BCT organic military police platoons. Instead, the total Army analysis authorized the allocation of a full combat support military police company to the BCT in support of combat operations. WFX 15-03 was the first major exercise in which III Corps and the 89th Military Police Brigade fought with one combat support military police company attached to each BCT and a military police battalion headquarters in support of each division.

As a result of these exercises and at the recommendation of the III Corps PMO and the 89th Military Police Brigade, the corps commander established habitual training and operational relationships between subordinate BCTs and military police companies from the 89th Military Police Brigade. Having one military police company in direct support of each BCT for collective training, combat training center rotations, and operational deployments provides III Corps BCTs with the capabilities required for assigned missions and future operations. The Corps formalized these relationships in a corps order in March 2015.

Another concept that III Corps tested during the WFXs was the execution of mission command behind the division rear boundaries. Ill Corps filled the CJFLCC headquarters role for all three exercises. In this role, the corps bridged the gap between tactical and operational levels of war with one foot forward, commanding the tactical fight, and the other foot to the rear as an operational command. To support the maneuver fight, III Corps detached a portion of the corps staff from the main command post to operate the CSCP, which was commanded by Brigadier Tim Lai (United Kingdom), the Deputy Commanding General for Support. This command post provided the overarching authority for mission command in the combat support area (CSA) and joint security area (JSA). According to Brigadier Lai, "The role of the CSCP was to synchronize and integrate the sustainment, protection, and engagement warfighting functions to most effectively support the overall scheme of maneuver. The CSCP also provides mission command for a wide range of operations across the CSA and JSA. The CSCP improves general officer oversight of functions or activities that traditionally want for attention."

In addition to focusing on synchronizing warfighting functions in support of decisive action, the CSCP facilitated mission command in the CSA and JSA. According to Joint Publication (JP) 3-10, Joint Security Operations in Theater, and JP 3-31, Command and Control for Joint Land Operations, if the CJFLCC is responsible for the JSA, it may establish a joint security coordination center. The III Corps CSCP filled many of the roles of a joint security coordination center. With no staff or physical resources authorized by the modified table of organization and equipment to establish a third command post, III Corps relied on support from the separate brigades in the CSA. For WFX 15-03, the CSCP was integrated with the Headquarters, 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (MEB), Georgia Army National Guard. The inherent capacity of the MEB to conduct mission command of maneuver units, terrain management, air and ground movement control, targeting, clearance of fires, and support area operations supplied the capacities the CSCP required to provide support to decisive action.

With the MEB responsible for execution of terrain management, security, and movement within the CSA and JSA, Brigadier Lai and corps enablers provided the authority and additional resources beyond the capabilities of the MEB. Colonel Ronald T. Cuffee Sr., the III Corps provost marshal, observed, "The CSCP reminds me of the old rear area operations center on steroids due to the robust capability of the MEB, additional corps staff representatives, and the subordinate unit liaison officers led by the Deputy Commanding General for Support." WFX 15-03 was the first exercise for the CSCP. It operated at the crawl phase--its infrastructure and manning were immature. Future exercises may see III Corps staff augment the CSCP with liaison officers and staff from other units (Medical Command, Transportation Command, Theater Sustainment Command, Expeditionary Sustainment Command, and other separate commands or major separate corps units within the JSA and CSA).

Also within the CSA and JSA, the 89th Military Police Brigade worked closely with the 648th MEB and the CSCP to support III Corps. The 89th Military Police Brigade conducted security and mobility support, response force operations, detention operations, and security force assistance using assessments and partnerships. As the exercise progressed, the division rear boundaries moved forward, extending the CSA. This challenged the MEB and the military police brigade, stretching finite resources over vast distances. The potential need was identified for an additional MEB to enable the CJFLCC to divide responsibilities, assigning one MEB to the CSA and another MEB to the JSA. Also, a corps that is tasked as the ground component commander with responsibility for all detention operations in theater, may deploy multiple military police detention battalions. This may exceed the scope of command of one military police brigade, and the CJFLCC may request a second military police brigade headquarters.

The increase in available military police forces also enables commanders to look beyond the offensive and defensive operations and set conditions early for a successful transition to postconflict stability operations. Preventing a civil security vacuum is crucial to stability operations. In conducting decisive action, offensive and defensive actions cannot be applied in isolation. The application of offensive and defensive actions must be tempered by the obligation to protect the civilian population. In Operation Iraqi Freedom, V Corps planned and executed Phase III operations extremely well. However, by the end of major combat operations, the Iraqi security forces and government infrastructure were decimated and unable to secure local populations. Criminal, terrorist, and insurgent groups flourished in the absence of police and other security forces. The change to the total Army analysis and the elevation of the echelon of military police forces allocated to each commander will enable brigades and divisions to assess local security forces and provide security to the population, while the CJFLCC develops priorities for building partner capacity. A critical enabling component is police intelligence operations.

Early and detailed police intelligence is critical to identifying and resolving primary sources of instability, establishing security, and setting the conditions for the withdrawal of coalition forces. (2) Ill Corps used WFX 15-03 to develop the CRIMINT collection process. Before WFX 15-03 and at the request of the III Corps provost marshal, the 11th Military Police Battalion (CID) provided a CRIMINT analyst to support the exercise and assist in the development of the corps CRIMINT collection and analysis process. Together, the corps PMO and CRIMINT analyst team developed an internal process for corps-wide significant actions, open source analysis, key leader engagement reports, and military police intelligence reporting from the 89th Military Police Brigade and division provost marshals combined with open source collection and analysis. The night battle captain and battle noncommissioned officer processed and compiled reports, which reduced the analyst's workload and enabled him to focus on establishing links and associations. By the end of the exercise, III Corps PMO, in coordination with the III Corps Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence (G-2) and 89th Military Police Brigade, established the groundwork for a corps CRIMINT capacity. Further improvements to the process will allow a small section of analysts (potentially from the G-2 office, the military police brigade intelligence cell, and CID) to support the corps PMO with actionable intelligence.

A clear picture of the criminal and insurgent networks, early assessment of local security forces, and close coordination with engagement warfighting assets and other government organizations is fused with tactical intelligence to enable the CJFLCC commander to combine efforts early to defeat a determined and complex hybrid threat to provide security and rule of law (Objective 2.2, Military Police Force Strategy 2020). (3) In a linear battle, coalition forces may be conducting decisive offensive operations at the front, while in the division and corps support areas, forces conduct stability (Phase IV) operations. Simultaneous, rather than sequential, support to unified land operations will prevent strategic problems that plagued previous U.S. operations.

The III Corps planners are incorporating lessons from WFX 15-03 into plans for the next series of WFXs. Work will continue on the development and refinement of the CSCP. For future exercises, a second military police brigade will be added, separating lines of effort--with one brigade focusing on detention operations and the other on security and mobility support and policing operations. Finally, the III Corps PMO and 89th Military Police Brigade will focus on refining the processes, personnel, and products to integrate a CRIMINT analysis capability across the corps. As a result, III Corps is prepared to operate as an adaptive and versatile headquarters, capable of providing military police support to defeat regular, irregular, and criminal enterprises in support of decisive action within unified land operations.


(1) Military Police Force Strategy 2020, <http://usarmy downloads/287181.pdf>, accessed on 30 July 2015.

(2) Army Doctrine Reference Publication (ADRP) 3-07, Stability, 31 August 2012.

(3) Military Police Force Strategy 2020.


JP 3-10, Joint Security Operations in Theater, 13 November 2014.

JP 3-31, Command and Control for Joint Land Operations, 24 February 2014.

Major Pelley is the plans officer for PMO III Corps. He holds a bachelor's degree in liberal arts from Excelsior College, Albany, New York, and a master's degree in business and organizational security management from Webster University, Webster Groves, Missouri.

At the time this article was written, Major Bonham was the operations officer for the PMO III Corps. He is now the deputy provost marshal for the 1st Cavalry Division. He holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Tarleton State University, Stephenville, Texas, and a master's degree in business and organizational security management from Webster University, Webster Groves, Missouri.
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Author:Pelley, Kevin M.; Bonham, Robert E.
Publication:Military Police
Date:Sep 22, 2015
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