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CHAPTER 14

EMPLOYING MP ELEMENTS

Flexible employment of MP assets is crucial to mission success. You are not resourced to carry out all your operations simultaneously at the same level of priority. You must focus your efforts where they best support the echelon commander's intent, accepting a reasonable degree of risk elsewhere. And you must be prepared to act swiftly to accommodate change.

Initially you task-organize and array your MP elements to suit the number of kilometers of MSR to be controlled and/or the degree of vulnerability of specific critical facilities. Thereafter, you actively reconfigure MP elements, realign MP areas of employment, and select MP actions and measures to suit changing mission needs.

ANTICIPATING CHANGE

To meet changes in the commander's concept of operations and/or to respond to a change in the factors of METT-T, you must consistently organize your action elements to provide the greatest economy of force. You must continuously reorder your priority of support. And you must quickly disperse your assets where they are needed most.

You must make full use of MP operational flexibility. The three-man team is the building block of all MP elements. Each team is equipped to move, shoot, and communicate. The team leader is the communicator and observer. A second MP is the driver and assistant gunner. The third MP is the gunner and alternate driver. Backed by secured-radio communication, each MP team is prepared for wide-ranging day or night operations. Capable of calling for indirect tire support and using light antitank weapons, the team operates and fights mounted or dismounted to suit the tactical situation.

Task-organize your MP teams. Employ your assets with the greatest economy of force that can still ensure mission success. Many MP actions can be carried out by one team operating independently. Employ your assets as a squad or a platoon when an action calls for a force of just that strength to operate as a single unit. But when only five teams are needed to carry out an operation, only five teams need be tasked. (The squad leader directs the additional elements, returning the task-organized elements to the control of their assigned leader when the job is done.) For larger operations you can task-organize the number of squads or even platoons to meet the need at hand.

You can extend your limited MP resources by redefining AO boundaries. Be ready to quickly shift your 100-percent-mobile MP elements from one area to another. As employment factors and the mission needs of the echelon commander change, so must your dispersal of MP assets. Location of MP assets must be highly responsive to the changing Threat intensity, which varies in the rear area with the kinds of operations the enemy determines must be mounted there to achieve the overall objective. Often MP elements must frequently and rapidly shift AOs to support the echelon commander's need and intent.

Geographically, the dispersion of MP assets is influenced by the density of US forces and the number of kilometers of MSR to be controlled. But as the main effort shifts, your elements quickly shift with it. (MP company assets are fully mobile in order to frequently relocate on short notice.)

Concentrate your MP elements in key areas. MP assets are often concentrated along road networks. They are also located where they can aggressively patrol critical terrain and monitor LZs and DZs to detect and deny enemy incursions.

In the division, MP forces must be dispersed to support the concentrations of forward deployed tactical forces. In the corps and in the TAACOM you disperse your forces to support troop concentrations, bases, and base clusters in the rear area and traffic on the road network and to defend critical and other likely rear-area targets.

FOCUSING AND PRIORITIZING EFFORTS

In a mature theater, which has its intended complement of Army units, you can carry out a broad spectrum of operations. In mature theaters--

  • Division MP can provide full-scale CP security.
  • Corps MP brigades are structured to provide one company for augmentation of each division.
  • TAACOM MP can aggressively patrol the areas through which the inland waterways, railways, pipelines, and critical MSRs pass. They can provide combat power to respond to and defend against the Threat. They can provide BCC on the COMMZ MSRs leading into the corps' rear area. They can fully support the users of COMMZ lines of communication (LOC).
  • Theater army functional commands have arrived in-theater, bringing their organic special-purpose MP units with them to provide their specialized MP support for the theater.

In a developing theater, however, your spectrum of operations is more limited. You must focus your efforts in an order of priority that supports your echelon commander's intent and his concept of operation.

Until the theater matures and augmentation from corps occurs, division MP companies must concentrate on--

  • Expediting the forward and lateral movement of combat resources.
  • Operating EPW collecting points and escorting EPWs away from battle areas.

You can provide only screening security for the main CP. And you must rely on augmentation by the division band for help with EPW operations and, sometimes, for CP security measures.

Until the theater matures and support from the Reserve Component arrives, the MP brigades assigned to a corps or a TAACOM are not at full strength. (Even then, MP brigades are not resourced to conduct all four MP missions simultaneously at the same level of priority.) Mission priorities are set by the commander's intent and his priority of need.

In a developing theater corps MP concentrate operations to weight the main effort.. Supporting efforts must share the remaining MP resources. Doctrine stresses security of all rear area activities and facilities. But units whose assistance to the main effort is vital must receive the highest priority for protection in the rear area. Key facilities, features like traffic choke points and nonredundant tunnels and bridges, ammunition and fuel storage points, and dams may also need special protection. Other activities must be expected to defend themselves against all but the greatest threats during that critical period of time.

In a developing theater TAACOM MP efforts are likely to focus on EPW operations and on providing area security for in-theater critical supplies needed by tactical forces. You can also expect to perform functions that in a mature theater are carried out by TA special-purpose MP units.

DIVISION

In "heavy" divisions, where highly mobile forces are designed to move quickly over open ground, the overall focus on expediting the forward and lateral movement of critical combat resources into the division area. Or your focus may be on removing EPWs from forward areas to free maneuver forces from the impediment of guarding and caring for their captives.

In airborne and air assault divisions, priority of MP support is most often needed first for EPW operations and then for BCC to speed the movement of combat support need for BCC operations is significant. You are likely to vehicles along the narrow corridors within the airhead.

For MP supporting any division, certain employment considerations remain constant. MP provide dedicated security for the division main CP where they operate outside the CP perimeter, providing a 360-degree screen around the CP. And MP operate EPW central collecting points, accepting EPW from capturing troops as far forward as possible. To augment MP assets, whenever possible the division band supplements MP security at the division EPW collecting point and at the division main CP.

The constrained size of a division MP company makes augmentation of the company's assets with corps MP assets crucial to the company's ability to sustain the performance of its missions. But the division MP company is likely to be the only asset available to the division PM during the initial stages of a conflict. Augmentation by an MP company from corps is not likely to occur at that time, as corps requirements will initially exceed available MP resources. However, augmentation from corps can be expected as soon as such augmentation will not degrade the corps commander's concept of operation.

In a division, MP elements' AOs are established to accord with the factors of METT-T, the size of the company, the availability of MP augmentation from corps, and the availability of the division band.

Location of assets is functionally related. Often a division MP company's headquarters initially locates near the division rear CP in the division support area (DSA). Once augmentation arrives from corps, the headquarters may relocate with one of its platoons operating behind the brigade rear boundary. When corps augmentation arrives, the augmenting company or platoon is usually given an AO from the division rear boundary forward in which to provide general support. As a general rule, MP platoons providing general support locate in the division rear where they can best support their designated operations. Usually one GS platoon locates in the vicinity of the division main CP and provides screening security for the CP. Another platoon secures the EPW central collecting point and performs other MP operations within the division rear.

If MP platoons are providing direct support to the maneuver brigades, these platoons have AOs coinciding with brigade boundaries. (When DS platoons are not available to the maneuver brigades, the traditional MP responsibilities within the brigade area are absorbed by the brigades).

Only MP companies assigned to "heavy" divisions can expect to have an MP platoon placed in DS of each maneuver brigade. And even then, until augmentation from corps arrives, the PM must sometimes place all MP platoons in a GS role to support the division commander's concept of operations.

If there are DS platoons, each DS platoon's headquarters generally locates within its brigade's support area. A squad locates near or in the BSA to operate the EPW collecting point. The remaining assets, which provide BCC and area security, are dispersed throughout the brigade rear. For airborne MP, who provide direct support to the maneuver brigades during the assault, location of DS platoons is temporary. After the assault is complete and the airhead is established, the DS elements return to their GS role.

CORPS

In the corps your efforts may focus on helping division MP conduct sustained operations or on expediting the movement of combat resources on MSRs leading into the division areas. But as a combat multiplier in the rear area, at times your employment for area security may become of greater importance to the echelon commander than your employment for BCC.

Corps MP brigade commanders allocate their units to support the forward sustainment of combat units and the safety of the CSS units operating in the corps. In the corps' AO, although few MP assets are employed to support freed commitments, certain corps MP employment needs are constant. One MP company must be dedicated to secure the corps main CP, with one platoon from that company usually being used to secure the corps tactical CR And assets, usually a platoon from a second MP company, must be dedicated to operate the corps EPW holding area.

When possible the corps MP brigade commander sets MP battalion areas of operations to coincide with the corps RAOC and corps support group areas of responsibility. And he tailors battalion AO boundaries to ensure responsive and flexible support on the MSRs leading to the divisions. This is especially true during the early stages of a war.

Until the MP brigade commander has a full complement of CS companies and can augment the division MP company with corps MP assets, the MP brigade commander locates corps MP assets to help meet the needs of the division while fulfilling the needs of the corps. The brigade commander pays particular attention to the MSRs behind the most heavily committed division and near critical bases and facilities in that area.

Battalion commanders often place a company behind the division rear boundary to ease the coordination with the forward MP units in the division area. And they ensure battalion assets are on hand to remove EPWs from division collecting points. The battalion commander also ensures MP are available to quickly respond for combat operations in the rear.

Assets, usually a platoon from a second MP company, must be dedicated to operating the corps EPW holding area. An economy-of-force operation, the EPW holding area is initiated immediately upon the capture of EPWs. The MP company commander responsible for the EPW holding area dedicates only the number of assets needed, adjusting the MP commitment to accommodate the flow of EPWs. As the number of EPWs increases, so will the number of MP committed to the operation.

TAACOM

In the TAACOM most MP assets are employed along LOC within areas of high troop concentration. The area of responsibility for an MP battalion might, for example, be a large population center of a larger geographical area in which CSS complexes are located and that contains MSRs. But like MP assets in the combat zone, TAACOM MP units must be able to adjust their location and their priority of employment in order to support the TA's priority of need. In the TAACOM the mobility of MP battalion elements makes it unlikely that battalion AOs will often coincide with the territorial areas of responsibility of the ASGs.

Each TAACOM MP brigade commander provides dedicated security of his TAACOM's headquarters. In addition, the MP brigade commander in whose AO the TA headquarters is located can expect to be assigned an additional MP company to be dedicated for the security of that headquarters. And, in a developing theater, often MP. assets must be placed near sea, air, and rail terminals to provide cargo security and to receive, process, and intern EPWs.

The TAACOM MP brigade commander must be prepared to locate his assets where they can perform functions that would normally be performed in the mature theater by special-purpose MP units. You may be needed to help secure key junctures of pipelines. Or you may be needed to help secure critical cargoes on railways or in ports to help conserve and control combat resources. You may be temporarily holding EPWs awaiting evacuation from theater. Or, if the theater's needs for EPW processing or internment are pressing, you may be needed to carry out one of those specialized EPW operations.

Sometimes, if mission needs require, an MP brigade (normally composed of MP combat support companies) may be augmented by special-purpose companies. In the absence of an in-theater PERSCOM or TRANSCOM, for example, MP brigades can be assigned security companies, heavy security companies, guard companies, and/or escort guard companies to carry out specialized functions for the theater of operations.




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