JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. –
The 200th Military Police Command hosted the Displaced Civilian Operations Training Event (DCOTE), a two-day workshop, in late August. The workshop was a logical and needed follow-up to the very successful Detainee Operations Training Event (DOTE), which took place in the summer of 2021.
This workshop, like the DOTE before it, was a continued emphasis by 200th leadership on the increased role that military police personnel are expected to play in future conflict, however this time in helping manage the projected large numbers of civilians who would be displaced by conflict during large scale combat.
Joining in the planning and execution of this training event were leaders from the 353rd Civil Affairs Command. The workshop brought together many seasoned minds on the topic of dislocated civilians. Also present were personnel from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). So over two days, soldiers and their commanders got to learn from different perspectives about dislocated civilians.
Maj. Gen. John F. Hussey, hosting his last major event as commanding general of the 200th Military Police Command, welcomed everyone to the event. He utilized a concept he had learned from retired Marine General Charles Krulak, former commandant of the Marine Corps, to explain why this training was needed. “Three-Block War. On Block 1, you’re at actual war. On Block 2, you have your peacekeeping operations. On Block 3, you have humanitarian care,” Hussey reiterated.
Maj. Gen. Rodney Faulk, commanding general of the 99th Readiness Division and one of the distinguished guests at the workshop, followed Hussey’s welcome charge to the participants, stating that logistics was vital in the successful running of a base camp. “Know what you need. Know what you’re going to need,” Faulk said.
The first two briefs were given by a military police captain and a civil affairs senior professional, spelling out doctrinal guidelines regarding dislocated civilian operations. Military police Capt. Carlos Valencia, a training developer with the U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, in his brief, spelled out the nine different kinds of dislocated civilians, while elaborating on doctrinal guidance from the military police standpoint. The commonly known categories are Evacuee, Refugee, Migrant, and War Victim. The not so known categories are Displaced Person, Internally Displaced Person, Returnee, Stateless Person and Resettled Person.
Following Capt. Valencia’s brief, Maj. Gen. Hussey hailed the importance of doctrine but added another important factor needed for success. “Doctrinal knowledge is good, but you need strategic foresight in the running of these camps,” Hussey said.
Next up, talking about doctrine from the civil affairs standpoint was Mr. Al de Veyra, a deputy supervisor with the Doctrine Division of the U.S. Army Civil Affairs. He stressed the importance of considering all the facets needed to successfully run a dislocated civilian operation. “You have to be like a wedding planner when you are doing this,” he said to laughter in the audience. When asked about the wedding planner remark after his brief, de Veyra pointed out that one must think of everything that goes into the operations.
A training event like this would not be complete without talking about legal considerations. Lt. Col. Robert DiStefano, chief of international law at the 353rd Civil Affairs Command, gave the definitions of the most widely known terms associated with displaced civilians. He then explained the legal protections to which displaced persons are entitled under the Geneva Convention and international law. DiStefano’s briefing, no doubt, spotlighted the importance of getting things right legally.
The next speaker for the day was retired Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Ricky L. Waddell, whose last military assignment in the Army Reserve was commanding the 76th Operational Response Command in Salt Lake City, Utah. He discussed the strategic impact of dislocated civilians and spoke on planning for the massive numbers of people who are displaced during conflict. He stated that over six million persons were displaced during the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Many of these people, he said, fled to the surrounding NATO countries in the area. He stressed the importance of soldiers doing the right thing as they served. “Not knowing what to do, people do what they know.”
Acting as neutral observers who stress and promote knowledge and respect of international humanitarian law, representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Paul Baker and Maggie Dudgeon, then took to the podium to talk to the soldiers present about their role. Hussey likened the ICRC’s presence to a “staff-assisted visit,” where they come to a military area of operations, observe the operations, and give feedback to the leadership of the units. The segment also included a brief from a representative of the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), Lt. Col. Tyler Waterhouse.
The U.S. forces’ withdrawal from Afghanistan in the summer of 2021 and subsequent evacuation and relocation of Afghan citizens to the United States under Operation Allies Welcome was the topic in the closing event of the first day as a panel discussed the mission from inception to execution. The panelists described how they became involved in various phases of the mission, either while in Europe or at the U.S. locations where the Afghan refugees were temporarily housed before being sent to various permanent locations in the United States. Maj. James Balutowski, chief of operations for the 200th Military Police Command headquarters, was enroute to another mission in Wisconsin when he received a call to proceed to Fort McCoy. “Maj. Gen. Hussey knew that I had been previously stationed at Fort McCoy and asked if I could assist with providing him information as a request for 200th forces coming soon. At the request of Maj. Gen. Hussey, I ended up staying at Fort McCoy as a liaison officer for the command and assisted in the protection cell with planning security for our guests,” Balutowski said.
On the second and final day of the conference, another panel, one which contained some panelists from the previous day, did a case study on Operation Allies Welcome. Col. Caroline Pogge, chief of staff of the 353rd Civil Affairs Command and a partner planner of the DCOTE, led this case study. At the conclusion of the event, she explained why her command was heavily involved in the planning of the training event. “It is important to share our experience and help units to identify who their partners are when it is wheels-up time.”
The final speaker of the event was National Defense University professor Dr. Sean McFate, a renowned author and mind on international security. Professor McFate spoke about the future of war and how countries continue to wage war in less conventional ways. “Conventional warfare we like to think of, state on state, military on military, that type of war has almost gone to zero.” He cited numerous examples, using the current Russia-Ukraine conflict and Israel-Hezbollah conflict to explain why war is getting sneakier, alluding to the title of his presentation, “The Sneaky War.”
The DCOTE wrapped up with Maj. Gen. Hussey thanking all the speakers and soldiers who planned the event. He again stressed why this training was planned and why it will always be vital going forward. “As I go into the old generals’ retirement home, you guys take what you learned from here, because it will be your turn to supervise a camp one day.”
This was Hussey’s last official training with the 200th Military Police Command, as he relinquished command to Brig. Gen. Cary Cowan Jr. the next day.