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Unity of effort and the ILE Interagency Fellowship Program.

A unity of effort and action involving military and civilian law enforcement agencies improves the effectiveness of the U.S. government in achieving common local, state, and federal goals. Achieving shared interests and common goals in a synchronized, coordinated, and collaborative manner improves public safety, assists in achieving national security objectives, and reduces the overall cost of doing business.

In January 2012, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) published a national strategy document entitled "Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense," which contains presidential guidance and priorities as well as national strategic objectives for the U.S. armed forces. (1) In the preface, President Barack Obama indicates that the U.S. is "joining with allies and partners around the world to build their capacity to promote security, prosperity, and human dignity." (2) President Obama also reminds readers that the armed forces are not the only instrument of American power and that "meeting these challenges cannot be the work of our military alone." (3)

The most appropriate response to the President's remarks is unquestionably the unified action of all U.S. government departments and agencies in achieving shared national security objectives. At the strategic level, unified action refers to the synchronization, coordination, and collaboration of the diplomatic, informational, military, and economic instruments of national power to achieve national strategic objectives. At the operational and tactical levels, unified action refers to a whole-of-government approach that seeks to leverage the capabilities and parmerships of the joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational community toward arrival at common interests and achievement of common objectives. Ultimately, unified action leads to a unity of effort, which helps "build international and domestic support, conserve resources, and conduct coherent operations that more effectively and efficiently achieve common objectives." (4) A unified effort is more important than ever in a fiscally constrained environment, where budget cuts, shrinking resources, pay freezes, and personnel drawdowns do not translate to modified missions or objectives. (5)

A practical example of a DOD attempt to achieve a unity of effort involves the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Intermediate-Level Education (ILE) Interagency Fellowship Program. The purpose of this program, which is offered to U.S. Army majors and midlevel government leaders, is to develop a cadre of national security professionals through partnered exchanges between the U.S. Army and other government agencies. Fellows are placed in an 11-to 12-month operational assignment in a participating federal agency, where they immerse themselves in the culture of the agency. The fellows become familiar with the mission, responsibilities, and capabilities of the host agency; and they apply their knowledge and experiences in developing joint solutions to achieve shared national security objectives.

Officers of the U.S. Army Military Police Corps have participated in the ILE Interagency Fellowship Program for the past 4 years; fellows from the Military Police Corps have been placed with the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The fiscal year 2011-2012 ILE partnership with the USMS produced significant results for both agencies in two common areas of law enforcement--sex offender targeting and deserter operations. This article describes the successful participation of the Military Police Corps in the Interagency Fellowship Program and the value of the program in providing a means for achieving a unity of effort.

The USMS is the federal law enforcement agency that protects the federal judicial process and ensures the enforcement of federal court mandates. The agency is operationally organized to conduct judicial security, fugitive operations, prisoner operations, prisoner transport, asset forfeiture, witness security, and tactical operations. There are about 3,950 USMS deputy U.S. marshals and criminal investigators located across 94 domestic federal court districts, seven regional fugitive task forces, and four foreign field offices. In addition, the USMS is supported by an extremely capable network of professional analysts who specialize in criminal intelligence and electronic and air surveillance. The Military Police Corps and the USMS are undeniably the federal law enforcement agencies that are best suited to exploit the benefits of an interagency relationship.

Through interagency cooperation between the Military Police Corps and the USMS from fiscal year 2011 to 2012, operational targeting practices against military sex offenders were developed, felony deserters were apprehended, and Department of Defense Form (DD Form) 2791, Notice of Release/ Acknowledgment of Convicted Sex Offender Registration Requirements, (6) was strategically revised. In addition, Military Police Corps fellows and USMS personnel participated in an information-sharing project in which they located and determined the status of Army deserters. These efforts reduced the risk to the force, increased Army family readiness, and saved a substantial amount of money.

Sex Offender Targeting

The USMS serves as the lead federal law enforcement agency responsible for investigating violations of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (AWA). (7) Pursuant to the AWA, the USMS is responsible for the following distinct missions:

* Assisting state, local, tribal, and territorial authorities in the location and apprehension of noncompliant sex offenders.

* Investigating violations of Section 2250 (Failure to Register), Chapter 109B (Sex Offender and Crimes Against Children Registry), Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, U.S. Code (USC), (8) and other related offenses.

* Assisting in the identification and location of sex offenders who have been relocated as a result of a major disaster.

The primary objective of the USMS missions is to expand the ability to identify former Service members who are noncompliant, convicted sex offenders so that they can be arrested and prosecuted.

In cooperation with officers of the Military Police Corps, the USMS embarked upon the initiative of identifying and locating noncompliant sex offenders. Together, personnel from the two agencies identified former Service members who had committed sex-based offense(s) while on active duty and who, subsequent to their convictions (many of which had occurred before the passage and implementation of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act), had failed to comply with lawful registration requirements.

Military Police Corps fellows and USMS criminal investigators working within the National Sex Offender Targeting Center (NSOTC) teamed up with the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense to identify former Service members who were convicted sex offenders. The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense subsequently ordered the corrections command of each of the military branches to submit corresponding DD Forms 2791 to NSOTC. In addition, military facility commanders provided written notices of the releases to the appropriate local law enforcement jurisdictions and to the chief law enforcement officers of the states. These additional notifications were intended to enhance the process by increasing communications between enforcement officials and by improving the ability of enforcement officials to identify noncompliant sex offenders for arrest and prosecution.

The Office of the Provost Marshal General (OPMG) and the USMS jointly developed operational and tactical targeting practices to assist the DOD and the Department of Justice in efforts to ensure registration compliance and to prosecute Section 2250(a), Chapter 109B, Title 18, USC, violators. The NSOTC has been working with the DOD and each Service branch to directly provide USMS investigators with legal documents that can be used for the prosecution of sex offender registry violators. The documents have proved vital in presenting AWA cases to U.S. attorneys for federal prosecution.

New DD Forms 2791 are generally transmitted from the branch correction commands to the NSOTC 2 weeks before the release of the offender. The NSOTC maintains electronic copies of the forms. Since March 2011, NSOTC has received more than 300 completed DD Forms 2791. Each of these cases was reviewed for proper registration and compliance; and if a sex offender was out of compliance, an investigation for possible AWA violations was initiated.

The Military Police Corps and the USMS also worked together to modify DD Form 2791 to reflect the current Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act requirements. The modification was intended to help offenders understand the importance of timely registration. The revised DD Form 2791, with DOD instructions, will soon be released.

Improvements in communications between the Military Police Corps and the USMS have led to at least three indictments against former Soldiers who were noncompliant sex offenders. Through these targeting efforts, many active duty Service members who were required to register for previous sex offense convictions were also identified.

Deserter Operations

Deserters and absentees are threats to the operational readiness of the command, and they represent a financial and political liability to the Army. Failure to address the issue of deserters and absentees through criminal or administrative procedures signifies indifference and implies tacit approval. Furthermore, over time, Soldiers who flee to avoid prosecution are actually less likely to be prosecuted for offenses because victims, witnesses, and commanders are reassigned. This creates additional indiscipline incentives within the ranks. (9)

Efforts to dramatically reduce the number of absentees through a multidisciplinary approach that includes enhanced interagency cooperation, apprehension and prosecution efforts, and in absentia discharges are expected to improve law enforcement effectiveness and military readiness. (See figure.)

The OPMG requested USMS analytical and operational assistance in locating and apprehending felony deserters. From an original target list of 52 wanted persons, the USMS identified 29 viable cases in which it could provide immediate assistance. Shortly thereafter, the USMS hosted a conference call between OPMG elements and the U.S. Army Deserter Information Point to discuss possible courses of action. During this meeting, USMS representatives agreed to partner in the endeavor, generate law enforcement tactical intelligence reports to be used by the USMS and the Army, and request the immediate assistance of each USMS district task force supervisor in locating and apprehending the deserters for subsequent prosecution and return to military control.

In November 2011, the OPMG and the USMS formed an ad hoc task force to locate the 29 previously identified deserters who were wanted for charges that included drug possession, fraud, larceny, burglary, aggravated assault, obstruction/evasion, and probation violation. The resources and capabilities of the USMS Criminal Intelligence Branch, the USMS NSOTC, and the U.S. Army Deserter Information Point were combined with those of 14 USMS district task forces and two regional fugitive task forces. In less than 4 months, the ad hoc task force captured 18 deserters and located several fugitives who required international extradition.

In addition, through a comprehensive search of numerous law enforcement databases, the Fugitive Targeting Unit of the USMS Criminal Intelligence Branch recently located and determined the status of all 2,500 personnel on the Army desertion list. These efforts reduced the number of listed deserters by 200 and saved the DOD more than $23,000 in administrative costs. Furthermore, the DOD and NSOTC are working together to update Army Regulation (AR) 190-9, Absentee Deserter Apprehension Program and Surrender of Military Personnel to Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies. (10)

Through the fellowship, Military Police Corps fellows expanded the USMS knowledge about Army systems and targeting processes, improved USMS access to Army senior leaders, and provided valuable military law enforcement information for ongoing investigations. Tangible USMS results included the development of a comprehensive database containing critical information about former Soldiers convicted of sex offenses and the indictment of three former Soldiers for violations of the AWA. Military Police Corps fellows also provided the USMS with modern Army combatives and special victims unit investigations training opportunities. The unity of effort between these two organizations produced lasting results, ultimately setting the necessary conditions for future interagency SUCCESS.

A unity of effort and a unity of action increase the effectiveness of the U.S. government. The achievement of common goals in a synchronized, coordinated, and collaborative manner improves the overall ability of independent departments and agencies to arrive at common interests and shared national security objectives. And interagency operations also result in an overall reduction in the cost of doing business.

The 21st century challenges to U.S. national security require a whole-of-government approach and a trained cadre of national security experts. The ILE Interagency Fellowship Program promotes interagency collaboration and supports the ability of the U.S. government and its armed forces to succeed across the range of unified land operations and to prevail in war.

Acknowledgement: Special thanks to the team of experts at NSOTC, USMS, OPMG, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for their phenomenal teamwork.


DD Form 553, Deserter/Absentee Wanted by the Armed Forces, May 2004.


(1) "Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense," DOD, 5 January 2012.

(2) Ibid.

(3) Ibid.

(4) joint Publication (JP) 3-08, Interorganizational Coordination During Joint Operations, 24 June 2011.

(5) Military Personnel (MILPER) Message 12-214, "Academic Year 2013-2014 Army Competitive Category (ACC) Intermediate-Level Education (ILE) Opportunities and Procedures for Applying to Foreign, Sister Service School, and ILE Interagency Fellowship Attendance," 10 July 2012,

(6) DD Form 2791, Notice of Release/Acknowledgment of Convicted Sex Offender Registration Requirements, 1 April 2003.

(7) Title 1, Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, Public Law 109-248, Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, 27 July 2006.

(8) Section 2250 (Failure to Register), Chapter 109B (Sex Offender and Crimes Against Children Registry), Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, USC, current as of 3 January 2012.

(9) Army 2020: Generating Health and Discipline in the Force Ahead of the Strategic Reset (the "'Army Gold Book"), Department of the Army, 19 January 2012, and Herman Williams and John Hargitt, OPMG.

(10) AR 190-9, Absentee Deserter Apprehension Program and Surrender of Military Personnel to Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies, 18 January 2007.

By Major Scott R. Blanchard and Ms. Eliza Edgar

Major Blanchard is the executive officer, 709th Military Police Battalion, Grafenwoehr. Germany. He was previously assigned as an ILE interagency fellow at NSOTC, USMS. He holds a bachelor's degree in environmental engineering from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point. New York, and a master's degree in kinesiology from Texas A & M University. College Station, Texas.

Ms. Edgar is the resource coordinaton NSOTC. She holds a bachelor's degree in French from Davidson College. Davidson, North Carolina.
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Author:Blanchard, Scott R.; Edgar, Eliza
Publication:Military Police
Date:Mar 22, 2013
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