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by the CMTC "Adler" Military Police O/C team: CPT Gretchen Cadwallader,
SFC Ray McIntyre, SFC Paul Leenheer, and SFC Dale Walker


Although experience at the CMTC has shown that at least half of USAREUR maneuver brigades will routinely use MPs forward, this article focuses on MP support to the BSA. Our specific intent is to set the conditions for mission success by providing commanders, staff, and BSA tenants with answers to questions on MP doctrine and capabilities.

The Forward Support Battalion (FSB) commander must have a clear understanding of the four basic MP missions on the battlefield.

1. Battlefield Circulation Control (BCC)
2. Area Security (AS)
3. Enemy Prisoner of War (EPW) Operations
4. Law and Order (L&

(References: FM 19-4 and FM 19-1)

(BCC)On main supply routes (MSRs), the MP security mission falls under the heading of BCC. Military police get combat power forward.
(AS)The MP platoon offers a flexible resource to assist in the defeat of level II threats, and delay and maintain contact with level III threats until the arrival of the tactical combat force (TCF). MPs accomplish area security through aggressive patrolling of the area of operations (AO). Area security missions also allow for the safe movement of soldiers, equipment, and supplies in and around the BSA.
(EPW) An MP platoon provides the brigade with a holding and supervisory capability for EPWs, freeing capturing forces to resume their primary mission(s) as soon as possible.
(L&O)Law enforcement operations within brigade boundaries is an on-order mission. Most minor violations are within the commander's purview for disposition, and the Criminal Investigation Command (CID) handles more serious offenses.


1. To increase the efficient use of MP in the BSA, the MP platoon leader must play an active role in the planning process. Planning by the S3 begins with a frank conversation with the MP leaders to define priorities of effort: command, control and communication (C3); and a basic understanding of the MP MTO&E. This discussion should consider MP capabilities to move, shoot and communicate and the most efficient manner in which to maximize these resources in accordance with METT-T.

2. An MP platoon provides a brigade with seven highly mobile, heavily armed MP teams. Critical predeployment coordination should also define MP support requirements. While the FSB provides support, MPs must quantify their support requirements and appropriately forecast their needs through the FSB support operations office. This is also the ideal time to resolve differences between FSB and MP SOPs, and define the task organization.

3. Generally, if the brigade conducts an offensive mission, the MP platoon can best support the brigade by performing BCC and assisting in the movement of critical personnel, supplies and equipment along the designated MSRs. The platoon should also plan and coordinate with the FSB S-3 to receive EPWs captured during offensive operations.

4. During a defensive operation, MPs can best provide support while performing area security missions. Through aggressive area patrolling and reconnaissance, MPs provide the BSA with a highly mobile and efficient early warning asset that allows the BSA tenants to focus on their primary support missions.


Competing requirements between the FSB and brigade define the task organization of MPs within a maneuver brigade. Ultimately, the final decision for MP employment rests with the brigade commander. Doctrinally, each heavy/mechanized brigade has one MP platoon in direct support (DS) from a division MP company. This 21-soldier platoon has three squads with two, three-soldier teams in each squad. The platoon leader/sergeant with a driver provide command, control and coordination for the platoon. Usually, this platoon is collocated within or in close proximity to the BSA.

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Division Military Police Platoon


MPs locate in the BSA for two reasons:

1. The BSA provides easy access to life support from the FSB. The geographic dispersion of the platoon from the MP company makes the platoon dependent on the FSB for all classes of supply and maintenance support.

2. The BSA offers the first real holding area for EPWs. Collocating the MP platoon within easy access to the supply and transportation assets available in the BSA expedites the movement of EPWs during back-haul missions to the division rear.


1. Mission prioritization provides another key to successful employment of MP assets. Although the platoon can conduct any of the missions outlined earlier, the platoon is too small to effectively perform more than one mission at a time. METT-T may necessitate a combination of two missions simultaneously for a limited period of time; however, the platoon cannot sustain this surge capability for extended periods.

2. Frequently MPs are tasked to perform BCC (such as several concurrent convoy escorts) and then expected to conduct a quick consolidated response to Level II or III threats in the BSA. Dispersion of MP teams and the MP command and control element often make this expectation unrealistic.


One technique for employing MP assets is to use applicable battlefield operating systems (BOSs) as a guide in high- to mid-intensity threat environments (see FM 25-101) and the principles of stability operations in peacekeeping or peace enforcement operations (see FM 100-5 or FM 100-23). The following example outlines use of MPs by BOS:


1. MPs can greatly influence the success of the brigade's mission by being the commander's eyes and ears in and around the BSA. While scouts provide the commander with updated intelligence on the status of the battlefield, MPs are also ideal for this mission. MPs provide information in SALUTE report format while conducting daily reconnaissance and surveillance (R&S) patrols and BCC missions on MSRs around the BSA. The intelligence gained from these patrols prepares the FSB to defend itself from any enemy by providing real-world intelligence to the FSB S2. This assistance is essential in the intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) process.

2. Use MPs to observe NAIs, observe possible landing and drop zones (LZs/DZs), and gain intelligence through interactions with the local populace. Timely SPOT reports by MPs can prevent loss of life and influence the logistical plan for the brigade. Conversely, updated intelligence from the S3 on the location of friendly minefields and observation posts (OPs) in the BSA can prevent the loss of MP assets to avoidable incidents.

Fire Support (Close Air Support)

MPs can provide the FSB commander with trained soldiers to call for, and adjust, fire in the BSA. Although fire support is not always an available asset for the BSA defense due to priorities of fires, Army and Air Force aviation assets are options that MPs can use to defeat level II or level III threats.


Incorporate MPs into movement and defense plans to ensure freedom of movement on MSRs and increase soldier survivability. MPs conduct reconnaissance and aggressive MSR patrolling to keep MSRs open and identify alternate routes. MPs provide escort to critical support convoys and overwatch MSRs from key terrain to deny the enemy any advantage. MPs also provide NBC detection, monitoring, and reporting capability throughout the area of operations. The S3 should include this data in TOC overlays, and update FSB personnel before allowing units on the MSR.


1. After planning MP employment in accordance with BOS, execute mission rehearsals to ensure mission accomplishment. Although initial coordination with all key leaders may have established a good game plan, the need for continued coordination and rehearsals remains paramount to success. Particularly, the movement of MPs to counter level II/III threats requires numerous rehearsals (day and night and MOPP IV) to prevent fratricide and ensure a coordinated response.

2. The FSB S3 is the key person to conduct these rehearsals. The S3 must practice providing the C3for a coordinated base defense. Specific responsibilities must be clearly understood by all soldiers. Each soldier remains responsible for providing for his own defense to a level I threat. The FSB quick reaction force (QRF) is organized to quickly move to reinforce any unit position within the BSA perimeter, and MPs are organized to consolidate and respond to the threat outside the BSA perimeter. Everyone must know linkup points, identification signals, and how to talk to each other.


Daily tenant meetings provide the MP platoon leader and the FSB S3 with another opportunity to discuss updates and changes to the FSB defensive capability. These discussions help prevent hazardous, unexpected encounters of friendly personnel during operations of limited visibility due to fog, rain, snow or darkness.


1. DON'T assign MPs to TOC security duty.
2. DON'T assign MPs a portion of the BSA perimeter.

Two items that detract from BSA defense are assigning MP TOC security duty, and assigning MPs a portion of the BSA perimeter. Assigning MPs a portion of the perimeter guarantees that a portion of the MP response will be unable to provide an external response to the threat.


1. DO place the MP platoon headquarters within the BSA.

Place the MP platoon headquarters within the BSA and allow it to maneuver its teams outside the perimeter for maximum support against hostile forces. Ideally, MPs operate on a continuous basis and only return within the perimeter of the BSA for rest, resupply, and mission or information updates. Make MPs a better combat multiplier by allowing them to navigate throughout the area of operations.


Realistically, MP employment throughout the brigade area of operations will vary, depending upon METT-T and the commander's intent. The techniques outlined in this article provide commanders at brigade and FSB levels with a few tips to set the conditions for MP mission success in support of their operations.

BSA Tenants' Meetings
Reconnaissance and Surveillance Planning in the Brigade Support Area (BSA)

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