The United States Army Military Police School Trains, Educates, and Develops Military Police Civilians, Soldiers, and Leaders; executes proponent functions; integrates DOTMLPF-P solutions that provide Military Police capabilities enabling maneuver forces across the range of military operations.
As a learning organization, USAMPS is a team of highly skilled, talented, and innovative professionals of character exercising disciplined initiative with shared understanding, to develop and deliver to the Army the best MP Soldiers, Civilians, Leaders, and capabilities for the current fielded force while transforming the MP Corps to support the requirements of the Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) capable force of 2028 and the MDO ready force of 2035.
Mission Priority 1: Drive DOTMLPF Change
- MP Force Modernization
- Protection Proponency
- DoD Peace Officer Standards/Curriculum
- Engage Leaders
Mission Priority 2: Develop Leaders, Soldiers, and Civilians to generate readiness
- Individual, Leader, Collective, and Functional TNG
- LPD Opportunities
- METL Assessments
People Priority 1: Informing and Caring for People
- Maintain a professional, healthy, and safe environment
- Recognize/Reward creativity, innovation, and excellence
- Shape Information Domain
THE EARLY YEARS (The Marchausee Corps)
On 1 June 1778, General George Washington formed a special unit charged with police duties. This unit was equipped and organized as light dragoons and was called the Marechaussee Corps. No other formation of this era epitomized the mission and spirit of today’s Military Police units than the Marechaussee Corps. The term ‘marechaussee’ is a French word for constable, gendarme, or marshal. The original unit consisted of sixty-three men under the command of Cap-tain Bartholomew Von Heer, a professional Prussian soldier. The Marechaussee Corps had the duty and responsibility of maintaining law and order, discipline, and enforcing the Articles of War in the often unruly and sometimes undependable Continental Army.
When the Army was encamped, Soldiers of the Marechaussee Corps patrolled the camp and surrounding area, checking passes and papers in search of spies. They arrested rioters, spies, drunkards, deserters, and stragglers, and monitored merchants. When the Continental Army was on the move, the Marechaussee Corps patrolled the flanks and rear, provided route reconnaissance, watched for spies and stragglers and safeguarded supplies and lines of communication.
The men of this early MP organization also participated in combat, fighting beside General Nathaniel Greene’s army in the victorious Battle of Springfield, New Jersey, in June 1780. The next year, the Corps protected General Washington and his headquarters during the Siege of Yorktown, the final and decisive battle of the American Revolution.
Although the Marechaussee Corps was disbanded in November 1783, along with the Continental Army, the men of that unit were highly regarded for their professionalism and dedication to duty during its five-year service.
POLICING THE UNION ARMY DURING THE CIVIL WAR
No other military police-type units were formally organized in the U.S. Army from the end of the American Revolution to the outbreak of the Civil War – although commanders during this extended period of time often detailed selected officers and men to perform similar functions. This method, deemed unsatisfactory on many levels, nevertheless helped maintain order and discipline during the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the frequent clashes with Native American tribes along the frontier.
The Civil War, although a tragic chapter in our nation’s history, did serve as the impetus for America becoming a modern, industrialized nation. During this conflict, the U.S. military, for the first time in its history, established large field armies, which increased the necessity for military police type units. Dismayed by the lack of organization and numerous thefts among state militia and volunteer regiments, General Irvin McDowell issued General Order No. 18, on 18 July 1861. This order defined the authority of the Provost Marshal for the Army of Northeast Virginia.
The Army of the Potomac maintained an overall provost marshal, corps and divisional provost marshals, and provost guard units from 1861 to 1865. Serving under the provost marshal, whether temporary or semi-permanent, provost guard units bore the brunt of fighting and enforcement of order. Portions of the 8th U.S. Infantry Regiment would serve as provost guard members for the majority of the Civil War.
First established in April 1863, the Veteran Reserve Corps (VRC) was comprised of officers and enlisted men deemed unfit for full combat duty but still capable of performing limited service, primarily rear area security and law enforcement. By the end of the war, more than 60,000 men had served in the VRC. The VRC was a branch under the Provost Marshal Bureau and was disbanded in 1866.
The vast numbers of prisoners, both from captured enemy forces as well as criminals within the Union Army ranks, presented new problems of confinement and control for provost guard units. As the war intensified, the practice of prisoner exchanges was abolished and military prisons were established for both Union and Confederate prisoners of war.
The end of the Civil War established a pattern that the United States would follow at the conclusion of subsequent wars – a large-scale reduction in force. Consequently, the creation of a permanent military police branch within the U.S. Army would not be actively considered again until the latter stages of World War I.
SPANISH AMERICAN WAR AND THE PHILIPPINE INSURRECTION
From the end of the Civil War until America’s entry into World War I, there was an absence of organized military police type formations within the U.S. Army. In the interim, units were organized on a temporary basis to perform a limited range of law and order responsibilities—most notably during the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection. It was during the latter that the term “military police” was first applied to those Soldiers conducting patrols and performing police duties.
MILITARY POLICE IN THE GREAT WAR
In 1917, the United Stated entered World War I and the American Expeditionary Forces provided the decisive margin necessary to secure victory for the Allies. Since the end of the Revolutionary War, the United States had embraced a long-standing tradition that avoided political entanglements and military alliances with European nations. For the first time in our national existence, the U.S. Army mobilized a large expeditionary force to wage an overseas war against a formidable continental opponent, and this would compel extraordinary changes across the entire force structure of the U.S. Army.
It was during WWI that the foundations and legacy of a modern, professional Military Police Corps originated, and Congress would authorize, under wartime legislation, the establishment of a Military Police Corps for the duration of the national emergency. To conduct law enforcement and military police operations, the Army organized formations at both the War Department level (now the Department of Defense) and in the field. On 13 June 1917, Major General Enoch H. Crowder, the Judge Advocate General of the Army, was concurrently appointed as the Provost Marshal General of the Army. He is best remembered as the An AEF MP architect of the Selective Service System and it was the Provost Marshal General’s Office that administered the Selective Service Act. On 11 May 1918, the War Department created another military organization within the Provost Marshal General Staff-the Criminal Investigation Division (CID).
In July 1917, General John J. Pershing appointed Lieutenant Colonel Hansen Ely as the Provost Marshal General (PMG) of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). On 20 September 1917, Pershing named Brigadier General Harry Hill Bandholtz to this post – a position that Bandholtz would hold until 1919. In November 1918, Bandholtz was directed to organize a CID within the Military Police Corps for the purpose of detecting and preventing crimes within the AEF’s area of operations.
During the war, the AEF organized military police units in sixty-one separate divisions and in July 1918, General Persh-ing received permission to organize military police units in each corps and army with additional companies assigned to various sections of the Service of Supply, the Training Depot, and to tactical units as needed. In the months following the end of hostilities, the AEF included military police battalions in each of its three armies with a fourth battalion attached to GHQ, American Expeditionary Forces, headquartered at Chaumont, France.
The Military Police Corps performed the same functions as in previous wars with some significant differences. During World War I, the volume of enemy prisoners of war (EPWs) represented a major challenge to the Army’s traditional method of processing prisoners. In previous wars, EPWs had been kept primarily for exchange purposes and thus, were typically held for short durations. During World War I, Escort Guard Companies were responsible for the charge and custody of 48,280 prisoners.
Another functional area that required a major effort on the part of Military Police was traffic control. Inadequate infrastructure combined with the effects of weather and enemy artillery and aerial attacks created challenging traffic control operations and the use of horse-drawn and motor transport systems congested main supply routes. During major offensive and counter-offensive operations, traffic control and straggler control were essential for sustaining mobility and maintaining command and control of friendly forces. Military Police units also played a key role in providing rear area security and battlefield circulation, and safeguarding supplies and equipment.
Equally important, Bandholtz (drawing on his experience with the Philippine Constabulary) initiated actions to profes-sionalize the Military Police Corps. Under his mentorship, the Caserne Changarnier opened at Autun, France, on 9 September 1918, as the Military Police Training Department. This school graduated a class of officers and enlisted men every two weeks and, during its abbreviated existence, more than 4,000 students successfully completed a program of specialized instruction.
With the peacetime Army facing reductions, Bandholtz collected reports from division commanders commending the performance of the military police. With his findings, he proposed to the War Department the retention of an enduring military police branch in the Army. Although his proposal for a permanent Military Police Corps was rejected by Congress, the National Defense Act of 1920 established military police units in the Army Reserve. This led to the establishment of the Military Police Corps as a permanent branch of the Army on 26 September 1941. For his tireless endeavors, Major General Harry Hill Bandholtz is widely-regarded as “the Father of the Military Police Corps.”
WORLD WAR II
During World War II, U.S. Army troops served in every theater of operation. The continental United States was designated as the American Theater of Operations and was commonly referred to as the Zone of Interior (ZI). The War Department specified the formation of over fifty ZI military police battalions – which were augmented by the Auxiliary Military Police. Comprised of civilian personnel, the Auxiliary Military Police was trained and supervised by the Military Police Corps and by the end of the war, numbered over 250,000.
When American troops arrived in Ireland in January 1942, they became the first of over 2. 8 million U.S. military personnel that would deploy to the United Kingdom to join the fight against Axis powers in the European; Mediterranean, African, and Middle East; and the Pacific Theatres of Operation. In June of 1942, General Dwight D. Eisenhower established the American Military Headquarters in London, with the Military Police headquarters and his MP bodyguards located nearby.
Military Police combat operations in the European; Mediterranean, African, and Middle East Theaters of Operation included North Africa in 1942, Sicily and Italy in 1943, Normandy and Western Europe in 1944, the Battle of the Bulge in 1944-1945, and Germany in 1945.
In the Asiatic and Pacific Theater of Operations, military police were faced with significantly different environmental extremes and logistical and command conditions than those in Europe. Military operations were conducted through broiling sun and torrential rain in dense tropical jungles and swamps, over rugged mountain ranges, and on sandy beaches. Islands were often separated by vast stretches of ocean, resulting in lengthy naval voyages and infrequent resupply.
The war against Nazi Germany ended on 7 May 1945, when the German senior military leadership surrendered. The hostilities with Imperial Japan formally concluded on 2 September 1945 with the signing of the Instrument of Surrender on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
As the mission of the U.S. Army transitioned from one of military conquest to one of military occupation, it was faced with the formidable tasks of disarmament, demilitarization, democratization, and the economic rehabilitation of Germany and Japan. During this period of U.S. Military Government in Germany and Japan, military police played an essential role in maintaining discipline, law and order, protecting the local inhabitants and property, and enforcing the ordinances of the military government.
The demanding task of bringing German and Japanese war criminals to justice was a major effort. Charged with war crimes, prominent leaders of the Third Reich and the Japanese Empire were tried by an international military tribunal at Nuremberg, Germany, and Tokyo, Japan, respectively. In both instances, military police were instrumental in the guarding of prisoners, courtroom security, and the administration of executions.
MILITARY POLICE AND THE KOREAN WAR
After the end of World War II, U.S. Army military police actively participated in the occupation of the formerly Japanese-held country of Korea. Military police assisted with the disarmament and removal of the Japanese military and the establishment of law and order in seaports, transportation lines, and centers of population. Some of the undertakings for U.S. MPs in South Korea were to help institute a national police force and the suppression of vast black market activities.
During the Korean War, friendly forces encountered an unprecedented, highly-orchestrated asymmetrical threat. The first year of the conflict was characterized by maneuver and a fluid battlefield punctuated by large-scale advances and withdrawls up and down the length of the peninsula. The last two years of the war became a war of position – a holding action that featured bitter struggles to defend, capture and oftentimes, recapture key outposts.The communist Chinese and North Koreans viewed POW camps as an extension of the battlefield. As such, Enemy Prisoners of War (EPW) enthusiastically embraced the role of combatants even in captivity and were determined to fight in whatever way their communist leaders dictated. Thus, EPW Operations were exasperating and exceptionally dangerous and the Military Police had overall responsibility for this functional area.
Throughout the first year of the Korean War, the volume of displaced persons had the very real potential to adversely impact combat operations and Refugee Control. Operations also required a major effort on the part of military police units. Military police units also participated in guerrilla and bandit suppression operations which frequently required fighting as light infantry.
The Korean War Armistice was consummated on 27 July 1953 – suspending full-scale combat operations on the penin-sula. Today, U.S. Army units assigned to South Korea do not operate in a wartime or a peacetime environment; they operate in an armistice environment.
MILITARY POLICE IN THE COLD WAR
At the close of hostilities in Europe, the victorious allied countries of the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France and the United States, were assigned occupation zones in the vanquished enemy territories. These agreements between the former allies dissolved over time as the Soviet Union annexed portions of their occupied areas that would create a communist zone of protection, during a period known as the Cold War and persisted from 1945 to 1991. Throughout this period, American military police were crucial in countless missions, usually work-ing in joint patrols with Allied MPs. They guarded the borders between the two factions in Germany and Korea, and operated several crucial border checkpoints, including Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin that was the location of several confrontations in the early 1960s. A military police company was responsible for control and enforcement of the transit to Berlin through East Germany on Autobahn 2. Military police also provided vital security for military installations in West Germany and South Korea, including numerous sensitive and often secret weapons depots.
With the collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1991, the need for Allied guardianship in Europe evaporated. However, the border in Korea remains tense since the armistice of July 1953, requiring the sustained presence of U.S. forces and its military police.
MILITARY POLICE IN VIETNAM
American military involvement in Indochina began early in the 1950s in an advisory capacity. However, U.S. participation began to escalate in the early 1960s, including the arrival in Vietnam of the 560th MP Company in September 1962 – the first U.S. MP unit in the country. The U.S. obligation in Viet-nam was formalized with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, resulting in the deployment of regular combat troops beginning in 1965. Among these early unit deployments, the 716th MP Battalion arrived in late March 1965. On the 25th anniversary of the Military Police Corps in 1966, the 18th MP Brigade became operational in Vietnam.
In September 1967, the 18th MP Brigade was assigned security operations for an area south of Long Binh, Vietnam, the first military police tactical area of responsibility in a combat area. There were three groups, seven battalions, and several specialty units under the 18th MP Brigade at that time. The 16th and 89th MP Groups were each assigned to two tactical zones, while the 8th MP Group handled criminal investigative responsibilities.
In a combat zone with no real front lines, military police had to be prepared for combat defense in addition to their regular missions of area security, convoy support, maintaining lines of communication, and reconnaissance. Military police convoy es-corts evolved from unarmored jeeps to field applied armor, and finally armored vehicles that could keep up with the convoys. Also employed throughout the operational area were three sentry dog companies and one detachment. In a cooperative effort between the 18th MP Brigade and the 458th Transportation Company, thirty-nine river patrol boats deployed to provide inland water security and conduct harbor patrols.
During their involvement in Vietnam, the Military Police Corps evolved to effectively meet the Army’s rising requirements, and re-ceived the hard-earned status of a combat support branch due to the actions and sacrifices of military police during the 1968 Tet of-fensive. As part of the “Vietnamization” policy, U.S. units began to withdraw from Vietnam in 1969, culminating with the Paris Peace Accords in January 1973. The 18th MP Brigade withdrew from Vietnam in March 1973 and inactivated in Oakland, California.
MILITARY POLICE AND THE TET OFFENSIVE OF 1968
During the holiday of “Tet,” the Vietnamese New Year, Viet Cong infiltrators attacked numerous targets throughout South Vietnam, including several in Saigon during the pre-dawn hours of 31 January1968. The only U.S. unit available in Saigon was the 716th MP Battalion. The defense of the American Embassy resulted in the loss of four Army MPs and one Marine. Sixteen MPs were killed in an ambush in an alley as they responded to a reported attack on an officers’ quarters near Tan Son Nhut airport. In all, the 716th suffered 27 killed and 44 wounded during the Tet Offensive.
Military police throughout South Vietnam performed ad-mirably in the defense of U.S. and allied assets in response to the Tet Offensive. For the courageous actions of its Soldiers in Saigon, and particularly at the American Embassy, the 716th was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation – the first MP unit so acclaimed. The effectiveness and dependability displayed by Army MPs during the Tet Offensive led to the MP Corpsbeing recommended and approved as a combat support element in addition to its previous designation as a combat service support element. This conversion from solely logistical support gave the MP Corps additional responsibilities and resources to provide op-erational combat support.
“The military police have demonstrated their ability to move, communicate, and engage the enemy. By sustained outstanding performance of combat and combat support missions, they have met all established criteria. I fully endorse the military police for a basic role in Army planning as a combat support element.” –LTG Bruce Palmer, Jr., Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Vietnam, in a memorandum dated 16 June 1968.
Since Vietnam, the versatility of the Military Police Corps has made it a “Force of Choice” for use in low intensity conflicts and operations other than war in which our nation has been involved, such as Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada and Just Cause in Pan-ama. During Operations Desert Shield and StormMilitary Police provided area security, conducted battlefield circulation control, and exercised custody over thousands of Iraqi prisoners of war.
Since 1991, the Military Police have assisted in restoring hope to Somalia and upholding democracy in Haiti, maintaining order in war-torn Bosnia, as well as conducting patrols, operating checkpoints, and conducting investigations in an effort to keep the peace in Kosovo. After the terrorist attacks on 11 Septem-ber 2001, Military Police Soldiers have been in constant action decisively engaged on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. At home, they have been busy providing domestic support for disaster relief, quelling prison unrest, and combating urban riots while fulfilling their fundamental function to maintain disci-pline and security within the Army.
GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR
After the terrorist attacks on the nation on 11 September 2001, the U.S. Army was deployed to Afghanistan in Opera-tion Enduring Freedom (October 2001-December 2014) and to Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom (March 2003-August 2010). Military police supported the Army and the allied coalition in both theaters of operation, applying all of their functional areas of law and order support, police intelligence operations, intern-ment and resettlement, maneuver and mobility support, and area security.
Although military victory was swift in Iraq, the Army and its military police have had to deal with ongoing terrorist and in-surgent threats in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In both countries, military police have been crucial to restoring and maintaining order as well as providing host nation police and internment specialist training. Military police have provided security for U.S. and coalition personnel and assets as eff arts continue to stabilize the infrastructure of the host nations in preparation for eventual self-government and independence.
On Palm Sunday, 20 March 2005, a squad of three military police vehicles was patrolling a portion of a supply route south-east of Baghdad when a convoy they were shadowing was ambushed by an estimated 45-50 insurgents with small arms, heavy machine guns, rocket propelled grenades, and at least one im-provised exposive device. The MP unit involved was 2nd Squad (call sign Raven 42), 4th Platoon, 617th MP Company, Kentucky National Guard. The squad leader, SSG Timothy Nein, ordered the squad’s vehicles to move between the convoy and the fighters, subsequently defeating them. SSG Nein was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions that day. Other members of the squad were also decorated, including a Silver Star for SGT Leigh Ann Hester.
MILITARY POLICE EMERGING CAPABILITIES
The Military Police Corps will sustain the execution of the full range of policing operations within the strategic environ-ment to apply pressure on threat networks across all domains while simultaneously preserving combat power. Military police will function as an enabler as aligned with maneuver forces in all phases and across the range of military operations. The Regiment will continue to assist commanders in the preservation of the force, endeavoring to uphold and enforce standards, professionalism and adherence to rules our Army expects from members of the military police profession.
Military police serve as key enablers for the joint force commander and aid in sup-port of freedom of maneuver, decisive action, promotion of the rule of law, and the ability to protect the force and our families at home and abroad. They will protect and support the Joint Force, military sustainment operations, developing security forces, and civilian populations. To that end, military police will seek out and apply advancements in technol-ogy such as cyber countermeasures, forensic science, and biometric applications in order to preserve our fighting force.