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NEWS | June 29, 2022

General support and detainee operations no longer afterthoughts

By Lt. Col. Dante Brown 200th Military Police Command

-Military planners went from hand-waving to handshaking during recent exercises in Europe.

From June 4 to June 11, members of the 200th Military Police Command participated in a staff exercise in Kaiserslautern, Germany in support of United States Army Europe and Africa’s Defender Europe 22 Exercise.

Twenty-two Soldiers from the 200th Military Police Command participated in this staff exercise with the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, gleaning a lay of the land, determining which units would be operating in which locations and refining priorities of protection.

“The 200th MP Command’s main focus during this exercise was area security and detention operations,” said Maj. Gen. John F. Hussey, commander of the 200th Military Police Command. Headquartered at Fort Meade, Maryland, the 200th Military Police Command has 14,000 soldiers and civilians, with brigades and battalions throughout the United States.

One of the battalions subordinate to the 200th Military Police command is the Pennsylvania-based 744th Military Police Battalion, an 800-soldier detention operations battalion, commanded by Lt. Col. John Mullaney.

“The 200th’s participation in the table top exercise was a great opportunity for the military police to remind logistics planners that they also need to account for both detainees and dislocated civilians during a wargame of large-scale combat operations,” said Lt. Col. Mullaney. “Far too long in recent history, we have simply hand-waved those two groups of folks away and minimized their impact on the battlefield during our calculations.”

Lt. Col. Mullaney draws from a wealth of military police experience in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. As well, he is cognizant of the war in Ukraine. Bearing all of this in mind, Lt. Col. Mullaney detailedly scrutinizes operations dealing with detainees and displaced civilians.

“Both groups require essential life-sustaining supplies such as food, water, clothing, medical and shelter,” added Lt. Col. Mullaney. “Each group will cause clogged main supply routes if not properly handled, which will negatively impact the maneuver forces.”

Because of this habitual “hand-waving,” as so Mullaney phrases, not everyone is prepared to handle these operations.

“The logisticians don’t know what they don’t know, and it is incumbent on us to provide that expertise so the Army is fully prepared to handle the challenges of the modern battlefield,” added Mullaney.

This exercise provided opportunities for further solidifying bridges with NATO allies. The 200th MP command worked with logisticians and military police officers from Poland, Germany, and Great Britain, discussing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats regarding general support and detainee operations.

"Fighting the enemy, serving and enabling the troops, shoulder to shoulder, can make the place and situation a better one,” said Lt. Col. Henning von der Brelje, a military police operations officer from the German Bundeswehr. He participated in the Defender Europe 22 exercise.

Hosting this exercise in Kaiserslautern was the 21st Theater Sustainment Command.

"Working with the 200th Military Police Command during this exercise was a privilege," said Maj. Gen. James Smith, commanding general, 21st Theater Sustainment Command. "Our reserve units play a critical role in our operations. It's always a bonus when we can come together to physically plan, coordinate, and build lasting relationships together in the same room. The protection plan is essential to every mission and their expertise was vital and necessary for success."

Guiding all participating units through the exercise was Lt. Col. Robin Eskelson, the chief of training and exercises for the 21st Sustainment Command. She scheduled twice-daily update briefs so that participants would get out of their shells, communicate with each other, and know what tasks others were trying to tackle.

“This exercise demonstrates how critical interoperability is in the European theater,” said Lt. Col. Eskelson. “It is critical that we tie in our Reserve units so that they have an understanding of the European theater and foster relationships between the 21st TSC and its reserve sustainers.”

The 200th Military Police Command anticipates more training and chances to foster interoperability in the European theater.

“This was an invaluable training exercise and professional development opportunity for the Soldiers of the 200th MP Command,” added Maj. Gen. Hussey. “We are invigorated and energized to bring our expertise into this dynamic theater.”