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Marine Corps Security Force Regiment (MCSFR)
Marine Corps Security Force Battalion (MCSFBn)

On 14 September 2012, it was reported that another 50-man FAST platoon had been dispatched to Yemen to provide additional security for the US embassy in the capital Sanaa following widespread protests in response to a controversial film produced in the United States said to insult to Prophet Muhammad and Islam. No other FAST elements were reported at that time to have been deployed to provide additional security in the numerous other countries experiencing protests relating to the film.

On 11 September 2012, the Libyan consulate in Benghazi was attacked. The US Ambassador to Libya, J Christopher Stevens, and 3 other Americans were killed in the attack. Initially it was reported that the attack was conducted by protesters angered at a controversial film produced in the United States said to insult to Prophet Muhammad and Islam. While the film may have been the inciting incident, later reports suggested that the attack in Benghazi had been planned and coordinated at a higher level. Reuters, citing Libyan officials, reported that the attack might have been launched by Ansar Al-Sharia. It was later reported by Wired.com's Danger Room that there were no Marine Security Guards or other Marine Assets present at the consulate in Benghazi when the attack occurred. Security was being provided by local authorities and private contractors. In response to the events, a 50-man platoon from FAST Company Europe was dispatched to Libya to provide additional security at various locations.

The Marine Corps Security Forces Regiment provides limited duration expeditionary antiterrorism and security forces in support of designated component and geographic combatant commanders in order to protect vital naval and national assets. Elements of the Regiment are deployable from the United States, to establish or augment security as directed by Commander Marine Forces Command via Commander II Marine Expeditionary Force. The Regiment also maintains permanent forces to provide security for strategic weapons at designated facilities. It also conducts other limited duration contingency operations as directed by the commanding general, II Marine Expeditionary Force.

The Marine Corps Security Forces Regiment was initially organized as the Marine Detachment, Naval Operation Base in 1920. This in turn became the Marine Barracks, Norfolk, Virginia in 1939. During World War II, Marines form the Norfolk Barracks provided security for several commands in the Tidewater area, including the Naval Station, Naval Air Station, Naval Fuel Annex at Craney Island, and what became the Naval Amphibious Base at Little Creek, Virginia. In addition, the Barracks acted as the processing center for transient Marine son the East Coast. The Marine Barracks' provided gate security for the Norfolk Naval Base Complex and a security force for a Service Storage Facility. Barracks Marines also served as ceremonial troops and provided security at the Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet (CINCLANTFLT) Compound. Finally, the Barracks' headquarters section provided administrative support to Marines stationed in various Naval commands in Norfolk area.

The Marines Barracks, Naval Base Norfolk was redesigned as Marine Corps Security Force Battalion, Atlantic, on 1 April, 1987. The Battalion exercised administrative control over Marine Crops Security Force Companies and Marine Detachments afloat assigned to the Atlantic region. On 16 December, 1993, the Battalion was again redesigned as Marine Corps Security Force Battalion and assumed control of all Security Force Companies and Marine Detachments. Beginning in 1998, with force reductions and realignments, several Security Force Companies, as well as the Marine Detachments were disestablished.

By the early 2000s, the Marine Corps Security Force Battalion was the Marine Corps' largest and most mission-diverse Battalion, providing antiterrorism and physical security trained Marine Corps Security Force (MCSF) personnel to designated naval installations. It was headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia and provided armed, anti-terrorism and physical security trained personnel to high value naval installations or units. The Battalion maintained a worldwide presence at 14 different locations from Keflavik, Iceland to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Bahrain in the Arabian Gulf. The Marines protected key naval assets to include strategic weapons, command and control facilities, and naval support activities.

In addition to its fixed installations, the Marine Corps Security Force Battalion maintained 2 Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team (FAST) companies for deployments as directed by the Chief of Naval Operations.It maintains Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) companies and deploy platoons to support fleet commanders as directed by the Commander-in-Chief, US Atlantic Fleet. It also performed other security functions as directed by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. These units had been created in response to the force reductions started at the end of the 1990s.

By the early 2000s, the Marine Corps Security Force Battalion consisted of 13 companies located on various Naval Bases world-wide. Traditionally, all of the companies had been staffed with Personnel Administrators maintaining their own service records, and performed their own Personnel Administrative functions. As a result of TFAS initiatives and the associated mandated consolidation of Personnel Administrative functions above the traditional battalion/squadron levels, the Marine Corps had established a Consolidated Personnel Administration Center with the capability of supporting all of its remotely located companies (to include Marine Corps Cadre Duty Personnel) from a single location at the Battalion Headquarters in Norfolk Virginia. The 2 Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) companies within Marine Corps Security Force Battalion (at Kings Bay, Georgia and Bangor, Washington) had a fully staffed Administration Section and performed its own General and Personnel Administration.

All Marines assigned to Security Force Companies, FAST, and the Cadre program first attended a course of instruction at the Marine Corps Security Force Training Company in Chesapeake, Virginia. Security force duty was extremely challenging. The purpose of the Battalion was to provide a highly trained and capable force to respond to Navy and Marine Corps security requirements. The Battalion trained Marines in basic and advanced security procedures. Companies were deployed worldwide. Cadre personnel were assigned to assist naval installation commanders in formulating their security and training plans. This was a career broadening experience and one that strengthens the special bond that Marines shared with the US Navy. Service with the fleet was the oldest and original duty of Marines, dating from the Athenian fleets of the fifth century BC, carrying on through Roman times when separate legions of "milites classiarii" (soldiers of the fleet) were assigned to duty afloat. In the seventeenth century, the British and Dutch organized the first modern Corps of Marines in the western world for duty as ship's detachments and naval security ashore.

The Headquarters and Service Company for Marine Corps Security Force Battalion provided command and administrative support to the command element and headquarters staff sections of Marine Corps Security Force Battalion. Additionally, they provided support to Marines assigned to several local Navy organizations: Commander Naval Forces Atlantic, Naval Safety Center, Fleet Home Town News Center, and the Damneck Rifle Range.

As of the early 2000s, the 2,200 Marines and Sailors of the Norfolk-based Battalion served 72 US Navy bases around the globe. Additionally, within the Battalion's structure was a training establishment that produced the most deadly multi-weapon, small arms marksmen in the Marine Corps, as well as the nation's only dedicated military anti-terrorism forces, the 1st and 2nd Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team (FAST) companies. FAST platoons deploy overseas in support of the FAST Deployment Program (FDP). These Companies provided Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection Platoons to Fleet Command in Chiefs to protect vital Naval assets. Furthermore, the Marine Corps Security Force Battalion provided cadres of Marine to the security departments at designated naval installations for the purpose of providing training and supervision to Navy security personnel in antiterrorism and physical security.

The Marine Corps Security Force Battalion was subsequently expanded into a full regiment. The unit continued to perform its basic mission in an expanded role and continued to be assigned to II Marine Expeditionary Force, though it provided support for Navy and Marine Corps forces around the world.




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