UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES POLICE: THE FORCE OF CHOICE?

 

Bell, Raymond E. Jr.

 

Are the police organizations of the United States armed services really forces of choice? Indeed, the motto of the U.S. Army’s Military Police (MP) Corps is “The Force of Choice.” Yet, the actual and potential effectiveness of armed forces police in the type of combative warfare presently being conducted by the U.S. Government is too often misunderstood and under estimated by the American military community at large. Conceived by virtue of its name, military type police operations are most closely associated with law and order or prisoner confinement activities. But the Army’s MP motto, for example, implies that “choice of force” is central to its very existence and effectiveness. The employment of force in the execution of its military police soldiers’ duties is key to the execution of its doctrinal tasks.  Unfortunately, military police of all the armed forces operates in a rather inconspicuous manner which draws very little attention to their combat capabilities and consequently receives little emphasis and appreciation in conducting operations except in law and order situations.