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Chapter 9

Security Forces

The security force for an installation or a facility provides the enforcement element in the physical-security program. This force consists of personnel specifically organized, trained, and equipped to protect the command's physical-security interests. It is a commander's most effective tool in a comprehensive, integrated, physical-security program. Vulnerability tests are periodically conducted to determine and ensure the state of readiness of security forces (see Appendix K).

Types of Security Forces

9-1. On installations, security forces may be MP forces, security police, DOD civil-service security guards, or contract guards. Interior guard duties are performed by installation unit troops on a roster basis. MP forces normally perform security duties that require higher degrees of training and experience. These include—

  • Security of restricted areas.
  • Security of specific sensitive gates.
  • Supervisory or coordinated roles with other military or DOD civil-service security guards.
  • Responsibility for monitoring and responding to intrusion alarms.

9-2. An MP unit may perform the entire physical-security function alone based on METT-TC, the area, and the facilities. When an MP unit cannot assume responsibilities for all of the physical-security requirements in the command, other forces may be required. Additional forces may consist of the following:

  • Personnel furnished by units of the installation's command on a daily or weekly basis. While this method has the single advantage of providing additional manpower, it has the disadvantages of rapid turnover and the lack of training. If this manpower is used, personnel should be assigned the least sensitive posts or patrols. For extended augmentation, units may be attached to MP units. The MP unit may also be augmented by reserve units or units in rotation.
  • The combat-arms branches (especially the infantry) may attach their forces to MP units and may be designated as security guards assisting in the required operations.
  • Military or paramilitary units of the host country may also be attached to or operate in coordination with MP forces. They may also be supplemented with national police of their own country.
  • The installation's band may be a source of military force during wartime. (The band is assigned enemy-prisoner-of-war [EPW] duty as a wartime duty.) The band is doctrinally capable of providing security at the division tactical operations center (DTOC) and ASPs, assisting in the perimeter defense of the command post (CP), and operating the dismount point for the CP. It is capable of providing access control at the DTOC and the ASPs and augmenting or relieving security personnel on the defensive perimeter.

9-3. Civil-service security guards are uniformed civilian employees from a government agency. They are customarily trained and organized along military lines. The organization may be completely civil service or may be composed of civil-service personnel under military supervision. In either case, they are under the operational control of the PM or the security officer.

9-4. Labor-service personnel (local civilian personnel) have been organized and used successfully in theaters of operation. These types of units were organized after World War II and since that time have established enviable records in the physical-security field. They are distinctively uniformed, organized, and equipped. They have set and maintained the highest security standards, resulting in a minimal loss of property. While not military organizations, these units have successfully developed a high sense of duty and esprit de corps that has been reflected in their outstanding contributions to the physical security of installations in overseas commands.

Authority and Jurisdiction

9-5. It is most important that the PM or the security officer determine (and instruct his security force in) the extent and limitations of the commander's jurisdiction in the field of law enforcement and investigations. Those jurisdictions include—

  • Jurisdiction of place.
    • Military installations and facilities. Whether state or federal law or both are applicable on a military installation or facility depends largely on the nature of jurisdiction over the land involved. The amount of federal jurisdiction may vary between different areas of the installation or facility. The legal formalities of acquiring jurisdiction over land under the control of the Secretary of the Army are accomplished at DA level and according to the provisions of AR 405-20. Information and advice relating to jurisdictional questions should be referred to the local SJA.
    • Areas outside of military installations. Areas outside of military installations are generally subject to state and local laws; however, there are exceptions. Information and advice in this regard should be obtained through the local SJA.
    • Overseas areas. In overseas areas, jurisdiction varies according to the military situation and existing international treaties, contracts, and agreements. Guidance should be obtained in each instance from the commander and the SJA and set forth in appropriate command directives.


  • Jurisdiction of personnel.
    • Jurisdiction of personnel generally follows the limitations of jurisdiction of the installation.
    • MP forces have jurisdiction and authority over personnel as described in AR 190-14 and related publications.
    • Authority for federal civilian employees assigned to security, police, and guard duties is derived from the installation's commanding officer. These personnel can have no more authority than he possesses and are subject to any limitations imposed thereon.
    • Security-force personnel may enforce all offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), military regulations, federal laws and regulations, and state laws where applicable.
    • Security-force personnel may be given the same authority as MP forces over all personnel subject to military jurisdiction, including apprehension, detention, and search.
    • Civilian security-force personnel have no specific grant of authority over civilians other than the right of citizen's arrest.
    • The commander is the source of jurisdiction and authority for all other personnel assigned to security-force duties.

Personnel Selection

9-6. Regardless of the use of structural, mechanical, or electronic equipment, the human element in security operations makes the difference between success or failure. Commanders and supervisors have a responsibility to ensure that security personnel who control access to restricted areas and classified activities are qualified based on criteria in AR 380-67. Personnel who perform physical-security duties must be disciplined and alert, have sound judgment, be confident and physically fit, and possess good interpersonal communication skills.

Security Clearance

9-7. Security-clearance criteria for security positions must be based on the security classifications of the information to which access will be granted. Security positions are normally designated as sensitive and require a secret security clearance. ARs 381-20 and 380-67 describe criteria and procedures governing security clearances. Appropriate civilian-personnel regulations should also be consulted when civilians are involved.

9-8. Positive evaluation of the reliability of all personnel must be made before they are entrusted with classified or sensitive information. (The Individual Reliability Program is prescribed in AR 190-56.) Follow-up action must be made on all personnel who are granted a security clearance to ensure that they continue to meet the criteria for their clearance. Personnel not meeting or adhering to the prescribed standards must have their security clearances revoked and thereby lose their access to areas containing classified information or material (see AR 380-67).

Organization and Employment of Forces

9-9. The organization of a security force will vary, depending on circumstances and the forces available. Forces consist of—

  • Mobile patrols. A mobile detachment of ground, sea, or air forces dispatched to gather information or carry out a security mission.
  • The response force. A mobile force with appropriate fire support (usually designated by the area commander) to deal with Level II threats in the rear area (Army). This is normally an MP function.
  • Reserves. That portion of a force withheld from action or uncommitted to a specific course of action so as to be available for commitment at the decisive moment. Its primary purpose is to retain flexibility throughout an offensive action.
  • Any combination of these three.

9-10. Instructions to the security force should be issued in writing. These instructions are normally in the form of general, special, or temporary orders. They should be carefully and clearly worded and include all phases of each assignment. They should be reviewed at least monthly to ensure that they are current. Categories of instructions of each are as follows:

  • General orders are those orders that concern the security force as a whole and are applicable at all posts and patrols.
  • Special orders pertain to a permanent post or patrol. Each permanent post or patrol should have special orders issued concerning the location, duties, hours manned, arms, ammunition, and other equipment required and the instructions for using force in enforcement and apprehension activities.
  • Temporary orders are issued for a short period and cover a special or temporary situation. If it can be predetermined, such orders should indicate the period of time for which they are valid.

9-11. A security-force SOP that outlines policies, organization, authority, functions, and other required information should be prepared for required reading. Each security-force member should be held responsible for full knowledge and understanding of the contents of the SOP. Each installation PM, physical-security officer, or chief of a guard force should conduct periodic inspections and tests to determine each individual's degree of understanding of these instructions. Instructions should be provided in writing regarding the safeguarding and control of the SOP. Its contents may not be classified; however, the information could assist an intruder in breaching security.

Headquarters and Shelters

9-12. The location of the security force's headquarters will depend on the size and layout of the installation or facility. The objectives are the efficient control of the security force and the adequate security of vital activities. On a small installation, there is frequently only one full-time entrance that may be supplemented by several part-time entrances. At these installations, the logical location of the headquarters would be at or near the main entrance. On larger installations, it might be better to locate the headquarters near the center of the cantonment area.

9-13. The security force's headquarters should be the control point for all physical-security matters for the installation and the monitoring point for protective alarm and communication systems. This office should have a reliable and independent means to contact nearby civil authorities. A list of key telephone numbers should be available for use in emergency operations.

9-14. Personnel shelters should be available to protect the guards from the elements. The design can be temporary or hardened and include adequate space for guard-force personnel only. The facility should have heat, ventilation, storage space for essential accessories, lighting that will not expose the occupant, and good visibility in all directions.

Execution of Security Activities

9-15. Security personnel must exercise good interpersonal communication skills when carrying out their duties with other employees. Bad employee relations can result if security personnel become impertinent and assume powers not rightfully theirs. Security personnel must understand the methods and techniques that will detect security hazards and assist in identifying violators and intruders.

9-16. Written reports or journals are recommended for security activities. These should be prepared by either the security force's supervisor or the personnel at the security post. These reports should record all activities, actions, and visits at the security post.

9-17. It must be strongly emphasized that security personnel will be used for security duties only and should not be given other routine functions except as directed by the commander or his representative. Security personnel should have no fire-fighting or similar duties regularly assigned. Such emergencies offer an excellent diversion to cover an intruder's entrance. Consequently, during such times, security personnel must be exceptionally alert when performing their duties. However, the security force may be cross-trained in other areas (such as fire fighting) so that they may be used when required and when circumstances permit (such as when they are off duty).

9-18. Personnel who are assigned to fixed posts should have a designated method of relief. The security force's shift supervisor should establish a relief schedule (about every two hours) according to local policies and the SOP. A simple but effective plan of operation should be worked out for the security force to meet every foreseeable emergency. Practice alarms should be conducted frequently to test the plan's effectiveness. Such plans should be designed to prevent a diversion at one point on the installation, drawing off the guards or distracting their attention from another section of the installation where unauthorized entry may be made. Routes and times for security patrols should also be varied at frequent intervals to preclude establishing a routine that may be observed by potential intruders.

Training Requirements

9-19. The extent and type of training required for security forces will vary according to the importance, vulnerability, size, and other factors affecting a particular installation or facility. The training program's objective is to ensure that all personnel are able to perform routine and emergency duties competently and efficiently.

Benefits of Proper Training

9-20. Efficient and continuing training is the most effective means of obtaining and maintaining maximum proficiency of security-force personnel. Regardless of the selection process, new personnel seldom have all of the qualifications and experience necessary to do the job. In addition, new or revised job requirements frequently mean that personnel must be retrained. Training can bridge the void between ability and job requirement.

9-21. Supervisors need to remember that all personnel do not have the same training needs. It is a waste of valuable time to train an individual in a subject that he has already mastered. Past experience, training, acquired skills, and duty assignments should be evaluated for each person as an aid in planning an effective training program.

9-22. A good training program benefits both the installation and the security force. The task of supervising the security force is made easier, there is much less wasted time, fewer mistakes are made, and there is less friction with other agencies. A good training program helps to instill confidence through developing increased skill proficiency. The training program provides for more flexibility and better physical protection, fewer required personnel, and less time to learn duties. Training establishes systematic and uniform work habits.

Basic Training

9-23. As a minimum, personnel (including civil-service security personnel) who have not had security training should receive training in their security duties. This training includes—

  • The care and use of weapons, if required. No person should be placed on security duty unless weapons training has occurred within the past 12 months. Weapons training must be according to AR 190-14.
  • Areas of responsibility and authority of security personnel, particularly on apprehension, search and seizure, and the use of force.
  • The location and use of first aid and fire-control equipment and electrical switches.
  • Duties in case of emergencies such as alerts, fires, explosions, and civil disturbances.
  • Common forms of sabotage and espionage activity.
  • The location of hazardous and vulnerable equipment and material.

In-service Training

9-24. All newly assigned individuals are given special instructions for each post. When possible, their first assignment should be with an experienced person. Additional in-service training and periodic retraining to review basic material and procedures are continuous requirements.

9-25. Scheduling in-service training and classes to enable all of the security force or a complete shift to participate is often difficult. Therefore, the supervisor must exercise good judgment when scheduling training to ensure that each person has the opportunity to receive the training.

Evaluation of Training

9-26. Testing designed to evaluate performance is a necessary step in the training program. These tests may be oral or written or may be a type of performance test. They should be administered annually to ensure that the entire force maintains high standards of proficiency. A testing program also helps to improve training by—

  • Discovering gaps in learning.
  • Emphasizing main points.
  • Evaluating instructional methods.

9-27. Security training received by personnel at their units must be entered in unit training charts or records. The record serves to—

  • Indicate individual degrees of skill.
  • Establish priorities of instruction.
  • Present a consolidated picture of the security force's training status.
  • Help certify guard personnel.


9-28. A security supervisor is tasked with overseeing and directing the work and behavior of other members of the security force. To obtain maximum performance from each member of his force, the supervisor must have a complete understanding of leadership principles and be capable of applying them.

9-29. The supervisor is responsible for understanding the operations of all posts. Additionally, he is often responsible for selecting, inducting, training, and ensuring the productivity, safety, morale, and advancement of guard-force members.

9-30. To ensure an alert, presentable, and efficient security force, the leadership must provide consistent and intelligent supervision. To earn the respect and cooperation of the guard force, supervisors must be professional in their conduct. The security force's morale and efficiency is a direct reflection of the quality of its supervision.

9-31. The ratio of supervisory personnel to security personnel should be determined by the individual characteristics of each installation. At small installations, the ratio may be higher than at large installations.

9-32. There must be sufficient supervision to enable the inspection of each post and patrol. It is also essential that supervisors be in contact with security headquarters to control emergencies that may arise. Specific duties of a supervisor include the inspection and briefing of the relief shift and the inspection of posts, vehicles, and equipment during visits to posts and patrols.

Supplements to Supervision

9-33. Various means and devices may be used as supplements to personnel supervision. These include the following:

  • Recorded tour systems. Personnel record their presence at strategic points throughout an installation by using portable watch clocks or similar devices. These are effective means of ensuring that such points are regularly covered. This system provides an after-the-fact type of supervision.
  • Supervisory tour systems. A signal is transmitted to a manned central headquarters at the time the post is visited. These systems provide instantaneous supervision and a means of detecting interference with normal security activities and initiating an investigation or other appropriate action.

9-34. All personnel on security duty should be required to report periodically to headquarters by the usual means of communication. The frequency of such reports will vary, depending on a number of factors. Regularity should be avoided to preclude setting a pattern by which an intruder can gauge an appropriate time for entrance.


9-35. The physical-security supervisor is responsible for managing and developing the security organization. A physical-security program is greatly enhanced by a well-developed educational program.

9-36. The physical-security supervisor acts as an advisor and assists in formulating policies for the installation's physical-security measures. The goal should be the best security within the restrictions of the commander's budget guidance. Physical-security planners must remember that anyone can provide adequate security with unlimited funds; however, this is not a realistic approach. There must be a constant endeavor to effect justifiable economy where possible without jeopardizing the physical-security program.


9-37. All security-force personnel are required to wear the complete prescribed uniform as outlined in their special orders. Deviations from the prescribed uniform should not be made except for items to protect the guard force's health, comfort, and safety. The duty uniform will be worn during all tours of duty and may be worn during off-duty hours only between the place of residence and the place of duty. Each member of the security force is required to maintain high standards of appearance.


9-38. The security force should be furnished with sufficient and reliable vehicles to maintain patrol standards established by the installation commander. Vehicles assigned to the force should be equipped with two-way radios to obtain the greatest possible use of all personnel and vehicles.


9-39. Before issuing weapons, the security force will be briefed on the use of force. Security-force personnel will be issued weapons as prescribed by AR 190-11 and the unit's SOP. The commander may prescribe other weapons for the security force based on needs and requirements. Weapons normally are loaded with live ammunition, except where prohibited for safety reasons. The use of privately owned weapons while on duty is not authorized. Weapons and ammunition issued to security-force personnel will not be removed from the installation except in the course of official duty. When not in use, weapons are secured in arm racks in storage rooms as prescribed by AR 190-11.

9-40. Weapons are inspected as necessary to ensure proper maintenance. A written report is prepared and filed on the discharge of any weapon except for authorized and supervised training. The patrol supervisor or an MP investigator prepares the report (DA Form 3975).

9-41. Ammunition supplies for the security force's use must be maintained in secured storage containers according to AR 190-11. Ammunition must be issued only under proper supervision for authorized purposes. Ammunition issued to members of the security force must be accounted for by individual members immediately upon completion of duty. Any ammunition unaccounted for will be the subject of a report of its disposition by the individual.


9-42. The security force should be equipped with two-way radios. These may be vehicle-mounted and portable, or they may be telephones. A secure-voice capability should be used where possible. This equipment is considered essential for the efficient operation of the security force and the accomplishment of its assigned mission. Proper use and care by security personnel will enhance the equipment's usefulness and capability.

Miscellaneous Equipment

9-43. Security managers or supervisors should obtain other equipment necessary to accomplish their security mission. Items in this category may include (but are not limited to) warning lights; sirens; spotlights; portable lights; flashlights; first aid kits; traffic-control devices; and items of wear for the health, comfort, and safety of security personnel. Some of this equipment may require local purchase.

Military Working Dogs

9-44. The requirements for physical protection of installations or facilities within the US and overseas theaters of operation continue to increase. Manpower available for this purpose has always been (and probably will continue to be) limited. The MWD, properly trained and properly used, can enhance a physical-security program. See AR 190-12 and DA Pam 190-12 for information regarding the use of MWDs.


9-45. A security force is the critical element of a successful physical-security program. It is as strong as its weakest member. A comprehensive training program is essential to a knowledgeable, disciplined, and alert security force. A well-trained security force will be prepared to respond to a security breach.

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