The 16th Military Police Brigade (Airborne) Balkans cell.
When the XVIII Airborne Corps receives a contingency or peacekeeping mission, it confidently relies on the 16th MP Brigade (Airborne) to lead the way. In continued support of Operation Joint Guardian, Colonel Paul Raggio, the 16th's commander, formed the Balkans cell. The cell's mission is to oversee the operational aspects of the Active Component (AC), the Army National Guard (ARNG), and the Reserve Component (RC) units as they prepare to deploy to the Balkans. Specifically, from the moment MP units or individuals are identified for deployment to the day that they deploy, the cell served as the subject-matter-expert (SME) staff.
During the Kosovo forces (KFOR) 3B rotation, Major Tom Koesters, the brigade operations officer, led the cell in coordination among several echelons of command. The KFOR is comprised of five multinational brigades, each having a specific sector in Kosovo. Each brigade represents a country--the United States, Germany, Italy, Britain, and France. Each sector has numerous other nations working together to help keep the peace. The combined effort represents 33 countries across the world; therefore, the cell had to be sensitive to the expectations of varied commanders and their staffs. Coordination was made with the following:
* U.S. Army Forces Command.
* U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC).
* National Guard Bureau.
* U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Division Command (USACIDC).
* XVIII Airborne Corps.
* 3d Infantry Division.
* 716th MP Battalion.
* 503d MP Battalion.
* 10th MP Battalion.
In addition to daily activities, cell personnel attended mission unit training activities and mission rehearsal exercises and hosted RC trainings, which included daily after-action reviews and 72-hour briefings. MP units have deployed to the Balkans many times; therefore, the cell personnel were very competent in answering requests for information about packing lists, points of contact, Web sites, manning documents, and timelines.
The cell's major task was to ensure that deploying units or individuals met their predeployment criteria and arrived at their destination on time. This task was more complicated with RC and ARNG units because the XVIII Airborne Corps did not have direct-tasking authority over them. Also, smaller deploying units such as the military working-dog teams, the USACIDC, the protective services division, and the provost marshal required special assistance because they typically deploy from several installations.
Preparing for the KFOR rotation started one year before the deployment. During the biweekly battle-management-cell meetings, Major Robert Reeves (MP planner) served as the MP SME. Once he received the mission, the 16th conducted the deliberate military decision-making process, formally notifying deploying units. Next, while the targeted units were busy cross-leveling soldiers to fill at full or preferably above strength levels, the cell assisted commanders and staff.
The first objective for deploying units was to conduct home station training. During this training, the units conducted lanes training, that is, training specifically catered to the specific mission. Examples of such training are--
* Weapons qualification.
* Common-task training/military occupation specialty proficiency.
* Soldier-readiness processing.
Family-readiness group meetings were also held to prepare family members for the deployment.
Another predeployment hurdle was processing soldiers through the CONUS Replacement Center (CRC). The CRC issued them clearances, clothing and equipment, and vehicles. The soldiers were immunized and tested for HIV, and their dental records brought up to date.
Finances were checked to ensure that deploying personnel received jump pay, imminent danger pay, hardship duty pay (enlisted soldiers), combat-zone tax exclusion, and special leave accrual. The units received individual replacement training (IRT) that included force protection training and theater-specific classes, such as rules of engagement, foreign intelligence threat briefings, biological/chemical warfare personal protective measures, medical threat, and first aid classes.
Participating in a KFOR mission rehearsal exercise (MRE) is the most valuable experience that a deploying MP unit can have. The KFOR 3B MRE, held at Fort Polk, Louisiana, was similar to a Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) or a National Training Center rotation except that it was carefully designed to simulate the environment of the Balkans. Recreating the Balkans in Louisiana was not easy. Detailed planning took place to replicate the Balkans environment--soldiers and civilians from all over the world participated. Croatian linguists served as role players, senior leaders served as observer/controllers (O/Cs), and contractors built structures and landscaped the training areas.
Task Force 716 processed through the simulated reception, staging, onward movement, and integration areas and then moved forward to the JRTC at Fort Polk. Some of the MP units fell in on their own vehicles and transported their equipment to Louisiana, while others fell in at Fort Polk. The task force, headed by Lieutenant Colonel Brice Cyurisko, underwent several training events that included--
* Senior and junior leader seminars.
* Platoon and company lanes training.
* Steady-state operations.
* Crisis action.
The task force was comprised of Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment (HHD) and 551 MP Company, 716th MP Battalion; 2d Platoon/101st MP Company; the 21st MP Company (Airborne), 503d MP Battalion (Airborne); the 340th MP Company (RC), Jamaica, New York; and Detachment 5,391st MP Battalion (RC), Columbus, Ohio.
While the OCs looked on, the task force practiced intelligence gathering, aggressive patrols, combat patrols, and mobile checkpoints. The MP searched for potential base camps and cache/ambush sites along main supply routes. Cordon and search operations were conducted in "Kosovar" interior and border villages. Task force liaisons met with local leaders to observe their behavior and defuse potential conflicts. During such an MRE, MP are evaluated on their conduct of--
* Maneuver and mobility support operations.
* Internment and resettlement operations.
* Police intelligence operations.
* Law and order.
* Area security.
* Quick-reaction force, if used.
When compared with AC MP units, the RC was rather new to Balkan deployments. Before the KFOR 3B deployment, the Balkans cell hosted an RC train-up at Fort Bragg to further refine its deployment proficiency. The cell designed a training package, with lanes training and scripting, to replicate the Balkans environment. The package included--
* An OC handbook to assist with theater-specific task focus.
* Civilian disturbance procedures such as the using and wearing of riot-control equipment, recognizing vulnerable and lethal contact points of the human body, employing riot-baton techniques, using riot-control formations, using force and force options, recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of each riot-control formation.
* Cordon and search operations.
* Medical evacuation procedures.
* Day/night tactical vehicle driving with night-vision devices.
* First aid certification.
* Self-defense techniques.
* Operation order development.
* Hands-on corrections experience at a nearby facility in Lumberton, North Carolina.
Also in support of the train-up, the 16th MP Brigade's S2 provided information and materials such as Kosovo handbooks, opposing-force weapons familiarization, and classified intelligence updates.
After the predeployment training was completed, the cell assisted the units to their points of debarkation. For the KFOR 3B, 16th transported many of the MP units from Fort Bragg to the infamous "green ramp" at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina. There, the Deputy Commanding General, Major General Tom Ryneska, provided a farewell address to the soldiers and their families. Within days, the units from Fort Bragg linked up with the other MP units in Kosovo.
As the deployment progressed, the cell continued to monitor the units and report about personnel and other sensitive issues. A few months later, the cycle of preparation and execution ended as planning for a redeployment ceremony began. The 16th MP Brigade left the Balkans for home where its soldiers now eagerly await another mission. Airborne!
Brown, E, "Personnel Policy Guidance for Operations In and Around Kosovo," Fort Benning Mobilization Station Web site, n.d., http://www.odcsper.army.mil/directorates/pr/pro/kosovo/kosovoperspol.asp (July 6, 2001).
Naylor, S., "The Mission in Kosovo has Gotten More Like Combat," Army Times, April 30, 2001, p. 14.
--, "Apaches Keep Watch in Kosovo," Army Times, May 7, 2001, p. 18. Smith, R., "The World's Force of Choice," Military Police, PB 19-01-1, Department of the Army, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., pp.26-27.
Captain Corinna Robinson began her career as an enlisted soldier. She received her commission in 1995 after graduating from Officer Candidate School. She currently commands the HHD, 503d MP Battalion (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina. She is a graduate of the 82d Advanced Airborne School (Jumpmaster), the Air Assault Course, the Military Police Captains' Career Course, the Military Operations in Urban Terrain Course, and the Protective Services Course. She graduated magna cum laude from Chaminade University of Honolulu with a master's in criminal justice administration.
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|Author:||Robinson, Corinna A.|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2002|
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