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Army detainee ops plan includes 35 new units

By Gary Sheftick

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 25, 2005) -- The Army's provost marshal general provided details Feb. 23 of a plan to improve detainee operations from Iraq to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and establish 35 new Internment/Resettlement units.

The Detainee Operations Action Plan includes improvements in policy, doctrine, organization, training and personnel, said Maj. Gen. Donald J. Ryder, provost marshal general and also commander of the Army's Criminal Investigation Command.

"What we're talking about here is a paradigm shift in detainee operations," Ryder said about the Global War on Terror in which an unprecedented 65,000 individuals have been questioned or screened and more than 35,000 interned at more than 32 sites. He explained that the Army is the DoD executive agent for detainee operations in three theaters, including Afghanistan.

A number of recommendations in the action plan were already being looked at before the Abu Ghraib abuse came to light, Ryder said, and the plan was actually approved by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker in September. Ryder's briefing provided an update on some of the improvements already underway:

. Two doctrinal manuals are being revised and six more written under the action plan, Ryder said, along with two policy manuals that should be finished by the end of the year.

. A mobile training team is now on the road providing classes to military police and other service members as well. More than 6,000 Soldiers have been trained so far, along with 1,000 other service members.

. The new Internment and Resettlement units - a key element of the plan -- will include an MP brigade, seven battalions and 27 companies. The composite brigade will consist of active-component troops, Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers, Ryder said.

The first I/R battalion and company were already established this past year at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Ryder said. The rest will be stood up over the next three years, he said.

These military police units will specialize in the operation of correctional facilities, Ryder said, and be provided specialized training.

Some existing MP units will be reorganized into I/R companies and other new units will be stood up under the plan, Ryder said, adding that the structure will result in an overall boost to the number of military police.

Some garrison organizations that run detainee facilities such as the one at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., will be reorganized into mobile, deployable units, Ryder said. These units will have the capability to deploy part of their force, he said, while still leaving behind enough personnel to run the detainee facilities on post.

Along with a change in force structure, Ryder said the Detainee Operations Action Plan includes hundreds of recommended changes in policies and procedures. One change recently implemented: no more cavity searches at detainee facilities, Ryder said.

Ryder pointed out the MPs do not get involved at all with interrogations, but are responsible only for custody and control of detainees at the facilities. Interrogation is strictly left up to intelligence specialists, said Thomas Gandy, director of the Counterintelligence, Human Intelligence, Foreign Disclosure and Security Directorate.

A new manual scheduled for release next month will clearly spell out how the Geneva Convention and Laws of War apply to interrogation techniques and procedures, Gandy said.

"The idea of 'softening up' has never been a part of our training," Gandy said about military intelligence and psychological operations.

New policies will clarify the roles and responsibilities of everyone inside detention facilities, Ryder said. He said the Detainee Operations Action Plan is dynamic, taking more than 10 exhaustive studies and reports into account along with a long list of lessons learned.

Other facets of the action plan include:

. A 55-hour Internment/Resettlement training support package developed for all services by the Army Military Police School.

. Adding 70 active-component human intelligence collectors to each division-level headquarters.

. Seeding lessons learned into Training Support Packages taught by teams at mobilization sites, combat training centers, and military schools.

. Fielding of 162 Biometric Automated Tools Systems for tracking detainees and identifying those previously detained. It includes finger prints, iris scan, photo, and national registry.

. A full range of medical services provided at detainee facilities, to include: Intensive Care Unit, radiology, surgery, dental, and mental health. OCPA Public Affairs Home OCPA Public Affairs Home


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