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Military Police in Contingency Operations: Often the Force of Choice

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Journal article

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Within the last decade, the Military Police Corps has often been selected as the preferred force in responding to contingency situations. Military police are uniquely qualified to carry out a variety of peacekeeping and peacetime contingency missions in low-intensity conflict operations. This article explores the unique qualifications of MPs to undertake such roles and discusses the analytical process for determining the contingency situations most appropriate for their use. The capability to field combat-ready forces in response to worldwide contingencies is one of the Armys primary strategic roles for the 1990s and beyond. The process of tailoring force packages that sufficiently demonstrate U.S. resolve and protect national interests while preventing or de-escalating open military conflict is an essential component of strategic contingency planning. Todays volatile and politically charged international environment challenges strategic planners to design force packages capable of responding to specific contingency scenarios in a wide range of environments. The last decade has seen a number of contingency situations where the Military Police Corps became the obvious choice. The Dominican Republic, Grenada, Honduras, St. Croix, and Panama have demonstrated the necessity of a guiding concept in the force-selection process -- one that factors in the political imperatives and carefully correlates the type of military unit employed with the type of threat to be encountered and the type of military task to be performed. Analysis based upon such a guiding concept will show that U.S. interests are often best served not by the trumpeted forced entry of a U.S. expeditionary force bristling with big guns and seconded by the full panoply of war, but rather by the unobtrusive introduction of constabulary soldiers trained to satisfy those basic needs of any society law, order, security, and civil assistance.

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  • Sociology and Law
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Unconventional Warfare

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