U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command's Protective Services Unit Awarded Superior Unit Award for Participation in NATO Summit.
The largest gathering of national leaders in Washington's history resulted in the largest protective-services mission ever conducted by any federal law-enforcement agency, yet it was accomplished by one of the smallest major commands in the Army--U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (USACIDC [CID]). Providing security for the summit showed that the military agents of the CID are experts in personal protection and can work seamlessly alongside the Secret Service, Department of State, and other federal and local law-enforcement agencies. As a result, the summit was a total success, with no security incidents or injuries involving any of the principals or their staffs.
Small Unit, Big Task
In August 1998, the CID was given the mission to provide personal security for 89 VIPs who would be participating in the NATO Summit. By December, the mission had evolved into providing "protective-service support ... at various locations in the Washington, D.C., area to provide personal security to visiting defense chiefs from 44 European delegations." It was a mission which fell to the 701st MP Group (CID), headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The tactical mission was assigned to the protective-services unit (PSU), which routinely provides personal security for the Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of the Army, and the Chief of Staff of the Army.
Preparation for the summit began with planning and developing an accelerated training program. Although they are experts in personal security, the PSU soldiers knew they'd need help accomplishing this NATO Summit mission. The PSU provided onsite and mobile training teams and, over a six-month period, trained personnel from 14 Reserve and National Guard units and 188 personnel assigned to the 7th Transportation Group, Fort Eustis, Virginia. A total of 151 members of the Army Reserve's 733d MP Battalion (CID), Jackson, Mississippi, were deployed for annual training during the summit's period, while an additional 69 individual mobilization augmenters and ready reservists from around the United States spent their two week's annual training protecting NATO VIPs. These reservists were augmented by 19 active duty, Reserve Component, and civilian special agents from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and 20 civilian special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
The PSU operated 23 security control rooms at 20 separate hotels that housed the 44 delegations representing countries attending the summit. Some delegations came early, some came late. Some stayed where they had previously indicated they would stay, while several others changed their locations at the last minute. Execution of the mission was flawless and completed without incident. There was seamless interaction between the active and reserve agent forces. In what was the largest gathering of Active and Reserve Component personal security officers in CID history, even experienced observers could not discern who was a reservist or who was an active-duty agent--a true testament to the "one CID" concept.
"You are only here for one reason--to protect the principals of the NATO Summit," said Colonel Brittain Mallow, 701st MP Group (CID) commander, during a presummit meeting with the task force agents. "I am confident of success because you are all trained and picked for this mission," he said. "Remember, there is nobody in this entire operation who stands between the threat and the principals but you ... and you are the last line of defense." Colonel Mallow told the agents that not only would the summit be the largest protective-services mission ever attempted by the CID, but it would also be the largest multiple agency protective-services mission ever, bigger even than presidential inaugurations.
Reservists Appreciated Contributions
There were countless meetings with all the federal and local law-enforcement agencies involved with summit security. Because the President of the United States would be participating in the summit, CID agents developed close working relationships with their Secret Service counterparts. Traffic routing and crowd-control operations meant other agents worked closely with Washington's Metropolitan Police Department and Department of State Diplomatic Security. The agents did their jobs exceedingly well and, most importantly, active-duty and reserve agents worked well together accomplishing their missions. CW4 Mike Schwarz, bank vice-president and member of the 493d MP Detachment, Belton, Missouri, said that the operation was "pretty seamless-the Active Component agents treated us as teammates. We were, after all ... doing the same job, and we were on the same team."
CW4 Debra DeRosier, a drilling individual mobilization augmentee assigned to PSU's Fort Belvoir headquarters, said that the summit "pulled us all closer; it really made us a team where everyone had to work together." A special agent for the California Department of Justice said that from her perspective, "The distinctions between the Active and Reserve Components are gone; we've bonded during this mission, and the Active Component realizes what we can do, what expertise we bring into these missions, and they have confidence in our capabilities."
"These soldiers, both active and reserve, did an absolutely superb job ensuring the security of the principals," said CID Commanding General, Brigadier General David W. Foley. "They did a thorough job of planning and were highly professional in all respects. They worked side-by-side with the Secret Service and other protective agencies as well as their counterparts from overseas. All Americans can be proud of the great jobs these agents did during the summit, and indeed, everyday." As a result of the hard work and professionalism of all the soldiers and civilians involved in executing the NATO Summit protective-services mission, the PSU was awarded the Superior Unit Award just before the change of command of the 701st MP Group on 1 July 2000.
Mr. Sandy Goss is Chief of Command Information, Public Affairs, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. This article is reprinted from the 1 August 2000 issue of the Shield.
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|Date:||Nov 1, 2000|
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