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Thread: Gendarmerie / Paramilitary Policing (again)

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    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Default American Gendarmerie

    OK, so this is more of an RFI than a thread, but it might be interesting to see people's thoughts on the subject.

    I am trying to find a recent article that I believe was on the ISS web site dealing with the future of the US Army. The basic gist was that the Army needs to put more effort in creating a functioning occupation force than in perfecting a maneuver element. The thought process was that we are great at destroying the enemy. We can do it by air, by sea, and on the ground. Any future war will be of limited duration, but the occupation and stabilization will take years and the responsibility for that operation falls squarely on the Army (as opposed to the Air Force, Navy, or Marines).

    Curious if anyone remembers the article. Also curious what thought you might have on the concept that the Army needs to develop a gendarmerie type capability in order to successfully prosecute future wars.
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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    This assumes a whole lot, especially about future wars and whether it's a good idea to prepare for them (you should probably not give a machete to your child because it got badly hurt in a knife fight - you may prefer to take its knife away and make sure it stops having stupid ideas).

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    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    Also curious what thought you might have on the concept that the Army needs to develop a gendarmerie type capability in order to successfully prosecute future wars.
    I have a problem with the notion of "occupation force." Specifically, I disagree with the idea that "... the occupation and stabilization will take years and the responsibility for that operation falls squarely on the Army ..." I think we are better off thinking in terms of the people of a given country being responsible for their own rebuilding, with some outside assistance as long as it's welcome.

    Along those lines, isn't that the mission (or part thereof) for MPs and Civil Affairs?
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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wolfsberger View Post
    I have a problem with the notion of "occupation force." Specifically, I disagree with the idea that "... the occupation and stabilization will take years and the responsibility for that operation falls squarely on the Army ..." I think we are better off thinking in terms of the people of a given country being responsible for their own rebuilding, with some outside assistance as long as it's welcome.

    Along those lines, isn't that the mission (or part thereof) for MPs and Civil Affairs?
    Gendarmerie ~ MP

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Here is an article that appeared in Best Defense last year. You may have already seen it but if not...

    http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts...s_actual_tasks

    The author argues that the Army should take more interest because for so much of its history, it has acted as an occupation force.

    I don't see why the Army should develop a structure more suited to occupation than fighting. The many occupations we have done were done well enough by forces that were regular fighting forces. The more important thing is that the Army leaders concede that it is something that should be thought about and allow good leaders, well recruited and trained, the freedom to do things that need to be done according to the local situation in the occupied area.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default We've been here before

    Ah TheCurmudgeon,

    SWC has passed through this area of interest before.

    Just using 'gendarmerie' in a simple search I found threads:

    1943 - Reorganization of the Imperial Iranian Gendarmerie (x7 posts 3k views)
    What are the SWC thoughts on policing in combat? (x37 posts 11k views)
    Federal Restrictions on using U.S. MPs for law enforcement on foreign soil (x40 views 7k views)
    Law Enforcement Advisory Capability as a Major Shortcoming (x32 posts, 5k)
    Cops Show Marines How To Take On Taliban (x20 posts, 5k views)
    U.S. Police in Peace and Stability Operations (x6 posts, 4k views)

    Incidentally during 'The Troubles' the British Army increased the size of it's military police, with two regiments deployed at one time - when the army had responsibility for LE long ago.

    In the Balkan peacekeeping much emphasis has been on the presence of small, company sized gendarmerie units; invariably from France, Italy and Spain.

    In Afghanistan the UK was handicapped in deploying police advisers as most LE have no arms training, let alone experience; hence the reliance on our few armed police bodies (RUC/PSNI and MoD Police).

    Didn't the USMC or US Army announce last year standing up a new enhanced military police unit?
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    Gendarmerie ~ MP
    In some countries yes, in others, including the U.S., no.
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    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Didn't the USMC or US Army announce last year standing up a new enhanced military police unit?
    Was this what you were thinking of? "The Marine Corps is always looking for a few good people. If you have pride in yourself and what you do, the Marine Corps Civilian Police may be for you."

    I recall hearing something along those lines a few years back, but I can't find anything now. I do think the Army MPs have increased their emphasis on population control.
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    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Default Thanks Carl

    First, Yes Dave - I thought we had, but I was looking for something specific. I apologize for creating a redundant thread.

    Carl,

    Thanks, that's the one.

    I started in the Army back in the early 1980's as an enlisted MP, so my memory of our actual mission is going to be clouded by time and youthful misinterpretations but I remember there being a FLOT and something called RACO (Rear Area Combat Operations). As MP's it was our forte. It was primarily a security mission. In those days we understood there would be civilian's on the battlefield but they were not of strategic significance. None-the-less, it was our job to maintain security, keep the supply routes open, and do limited humanitarian operations.

    Then came the era of "the battlefield is everywhere". There was no rear area and infantry, armor, and artillery units conducted operations in what back then would have been considered a rear area. They brought with them a combat (as opposed to security) mindset. I personally believe that the two missions are significantly different enough that separate force structures (MTOE, ARTEPS, etc.) are warranted. I believe that has become apparent as we began to order MRAPs and other vehicles designed for a specific mission and teaching tactical site exploitation, or as it is known to almost everyone else, processing a crime scene.

    I also believe that no one in the Army want's to admit that, or go down that road. We prefer near peer competitors. I am just curious if the capabilities of our sister services, particularly the air force, can effect regime change what is the Army uniquely capable of doing ... what it can do is hold the ground after the collapse of whatever government used to exist. Therefore we become the element with the task of accomplishing whatever ultimate political objective accompanies the military mission. In the recent past (and in the foreseeable future) that will mean supporting a more liberal, human rights oriented government. In the past even the MP's did not need to go that far.


    In any case, thanks for the article.
    Last edited by TheCurmudgeon; 01-30-2013 at 05:08 PM.
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    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Default We can't do it now

    Quote Originally Posted by J Wolfsberger View Post
    In some countries yes, in others, including the U.S., no.
    This would be new to us. The MPs we have don't really have this capability. MP's are trained to conduct most their policing operations on the military. They are not trained as a civilian police force. Plus you are looking at a huge structure. I recently read an article on mission requirements in the event that North Korea collapsed. The author was estimating between 180,000 and 312,000 soldiers for security operations (Humanitarian relief and Policing). Obviously in this case the South Koreans would be the lead, but it gives you an idea of the size of a force that would be required in a large scale military occupation.
    Last edited by TheCurmudgeon; 01-30-2013 at 05:34 PM.
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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Checking for "constabulary" might give you more results. That's usually what the US has attempted in post-conflict situations.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    This would be new to us. The MPs we have don't really have this capability. MP's are trained to conduct most their policing operations on the military. They are not trained as a civilian police force. Plus you are looking at a huge structure. I recently read an article on mission requirements in the event that North Korea collapsed. The author was estimating between 180,000 and 312,000 soldiers for security operations (Humanitarian relief and Policing). Obviously in this case the South Koreans would be the lead, but it gives you an idea of the size of a force that would be required in a large scale military occupation.
    You know we have been trying to convert infantry KATUSAs and regular GIs into MPs at the MDL since the late 70s and it doesn't work. Riot control is one thing, but controlling the civilian population under more peaceful situations turned ugly in a big way.

    We've also tried to convert our ground forces into humanitarian tools in the POTUSs kit bag and we all know that Army dogs do not do hugs and kisses well at all.

    We are trained to destroy things and we have a handle on that. We also have UN orgs out the jinjiang doing the baby hugging stuff, so why are we trying to do something only the French are famous for ?

    Gendarmes and Guard Civil are only notorious for robbing people. Do we need such a label with all our other blunders in front of the Euro bros

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Stan:

    Since 1898, at one time or another, we've occupied Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Philippines, Korea, Japan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Italy, Germany and probably a bunch of places I haven't thought of. The point of the article that I linked to above is occupation is something the military does, often; so it would be wise for it, specifically the Army, to think about how to do it well.
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    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    The point of the article that I linked to above is occupation is something the military does, often; so it would be wise for it, specifically the Army, to think about how to do it well.
    As an alternative, why not establish a completely separate American Gendarmerie? Maybe put it under control of the State Department, and limit its TOE to lightly armored vehicles and small arms.
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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wolfsberger View Post
    As an alternative, why not establish a completely separate American Gendarmerie? Maybe put it under control of the State Department, and limit its TOE to lightly armored vehicles and small arms.
    Ya mean sorta how they used to use the Marines?
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Default There was a day when...

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    Ya mean sorta how they used to use the Marines?
    There was a time where the Marines were the only standing land force authorized by the Constitution, so yes, it would have fell to the Marines before WWI.
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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wolfsberger View Post
    As an alternative, why not establish a completely separate American Gendarmerie? Maybe put it under control of the State Department, and limit its TOE to lightly armored vehicles and small arms.
    Well I suppose you could do that if you ran out of Marines and had a whole bunch of extra money and manpower to spare waiting around. It is easier if you have the forces that took the place do the job, as they have so often in the past. Given our history, it is as much part of the military's job as taking the place.
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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    There was a time where the Marines were the only standing land force authorized by the Constitution, so yes, it would have fell to the Marines before WWI.
    The Army did it in the Philippines, in the South, in Mexico, Cuba and other places, all before WWI.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Well I suppose you could do that if you ran out of Marines and had a whole bunch of extra money and manpower to spare waiting around. It is easier if you have the forces that took the place do the job, as they have so often in the past. Given our history, it is as much part of the military's job as taking the place.
    I am not sure that is true. In the past we have put together a military force out of the civilian population. They were there for as long as they needed to be, and then they were gone. They were not a "professional" military.

    Today you have a different system in the US. A professional military trained to search and destroy. I don't think history is on their side. I think they have a different attitude than there predecessors in WWII or maybe even Korea and Vietnam where the draft was still bringing civilians in for a short stint and then they were gone.
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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    I am not sure that is true. In the past we have put together a military force out of the civilian population. They were there for as long as they needed to be, and then they were gone. They were not a "professional" military.

    Today you have a different system in the US. A professional military trained to search and destroy. I don't think history is on their side. I think they have a different attitude than there predecessors in WWII or maybe even Korea and Vietnam where the draft was still bringing civilians in for a short stint and then they were gone.
    In the Philippines it was largely a professional Army that did the occupying, as it was in the South. The Marine occupation forces in the old days were professionals, as were the soldiers who occupied the American frontier. The draft was an anomaly in American history. A professional force has been the norm. Those forces handled things well enough. The current Army may prefer to concentrate on the bang and boom stuff but given the history of what it has been called upon to do, professional competence would tend to ask that it at least acknowledge that and think about it some.
    Last edited by carl; 01-30-2013 at 11:54 PM.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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