Operation Iraqi Freedom Military Police and Counterinsurgency Operations


Initial Impressions Report (IIR)

  • 195 pages
  • For Official Use Only
  • July 22, 2008


Executive Summary

The Center for Army Lessons Learned recently deployed a Collection and Analysis Team (CAAT) into Iraq to look at Military Police (MP) operations in support of the maneuver commander in Counterinsurgency (COIN) operations and to support a Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA) requirement to look at developing an organization whose mission it is to assist a developing country in professionalizing its police forces and establishing rule of law. The collection effort was across MP full spectrum operations in support of maneuver commanders in a COIN and Stability Operations environment, required MP organizational structure to train and professionalize indigenous police forces, establish and implement a rule of law program, perform other law enforcement related functions while deployed, and to determine Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leader Development, Personnel and Facilities (DOTMLPF) implications for follow-on deploying forces and institutional Army requirements. This report highlights the MP capabilities provided to the maneuver commander and identifies insights, observations and lessons learned reported as critical to COIN and Stability Operations success. A primary focus for the CAAT was to report on how best to establish an organization with a capability to develop and professionalize a host nation police force and establish rule of law in a developing nation and how the military police support the maneuver commander in today‘s warfare. The team interviewed Rule of Law (RoL) components (police, judicial, penal), maneuver commanders, and military police Soldiers of all ranks. There has been good progress on efforts to establish Rule of Law and efforts are underway to ensure solutions are not stove-piped but instead, integrated and synchronized from the highest to lowest levels of organization and effort.

Many leaders expressed that future warfare will not be too dissimilar to what Coalition Forces (CF) are experiencing in Iraq. Recent history (Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq) indicates that as US forces begin ground operations, they have been confronted with enemy forces who have replaced their uniforms with local civilian dress; criminals who have been released from prisons and jails; populace control measures such as registration, vehicle licensing, property registration no longer in place; government records no longer in place or systems functioning; and organized crime, terrorists, insurgents, common criminals, political and ethnic groups (to include tribes) all vying for populace control. These organizations add to the complexity of the already multifaceted environment associated with warfare.

Maneuver unit leadership reported that the MP have the basic skills necessary to accomplish missions they have been assigned in support of COIN operations and developing basic host nation police capabilities. The MP also has limited and more advanced and critical skills necessary to conduct high-end criminal investigations and laboratory analysis of evidence; these skills reside within the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of the MP Corps. This CAAT effort identified training gaps though that will help take the mission of developing police from a basic survival level to a more necessary law enforcement basic, intermediate and advance skill set capability that is necessary in a successful COIN operation and in establishing a base for RoL to exist.

The maneuver commanders and division leaders interviewed typically related that the major problem with the military police is that there are not enough on hand for the mission. They believe the MP have the basic skills they (maneuver commander) need and mainly pointed to enhanced investigations skills of the basic MP as an area that could use improvement. These senior leaders also postulated that while it may be good in combat operations to have MP forces assigned to a Corps and providing support to subordinate maneuver divisions and brigades, as the spectrum of conflict moves to the right toward stability and / or COIN operations, the Army might best be served to assign MP brigades to divisions. It is the senior level MP commanders and staffs that are lacking in numbers in the current fight. To develop police capabilities in a nation, the effort must include all levels of policing and all aspects of police capabilities.

The relatively recent introduction of criminal investigators (CID), law enforcement professionals (LEP), Biometrics, and Crime Laboratories have all contributed greatly to the police intelligence and criminal analysis capabilities necessary to attack the insurgents and other organized criminal networks. The reach back capabilities that used to suffice, such as the US Army Criminal Investigations Laboratory (USACIL) are now in theater and providing expedient and dedicated criminal analysis of evidence or potential evidence. The theater is benefiting as well from being able to reach back to the Criminal Investigation Task Force (CITF) that was originally focused on other criminal investigation missions. The CITF is connected to all policing agencies and provides an extensive criminal investigation and analysis capability.

The capabilities of law enforcement personnel are increasingly being made more available to the maneuver commander. More MP units are being activated. LEP personnel, although initially deployed to theater to mitigate a crime analysis capability gap in an effort to combat the IED threat through use of police methods for attacking an organized criminal network, are providing services that range from incident/scene analysis to police advisor to maneuver battalion and brigade commanders. The Military Working Dog (MWD) program is growing and now includes combat tracker dog (CTD) and specialized search dog (SSD) capabilities that complement the extensive Patrol Narcotics, Patrol Explosive and Mine Detector Dog capabilities already residing in the Army.

Law Enforcement, Criminal Investigations, Police Intelligence Operations, Detention Operations, and developing host nation (HN) police capabilities are the priority mission sets for the military police units in support of the maneuver commander and in establishing RoL. The seams or gaps that were once wide between policing and security entities and capabilities across the theater and from border to border are slowly being closed and the effects on the criminal, insurgent and terrorist type organizations are well noticed. Border Operations, Customs Operations, police operations, and security operations continue to be the key elements that support establishment of a secure environment where RoL can flourish and best serve the populace. Enhancing the law enforcement skills, capabilities, and resources available to the MP will contribute significantly to the success of operations in complex warfare our Army faces now and will face in the future.

A review of current operations within Iraq indicated that the MP mission will continue to grow in complexity, especially within a COIN environment. To combat criminal threats will demand an appropriate MP force level, right technical MP skill sets at all levels (enlisted and officer), specialized training and equipment, leveraging Interagency and Intergovernmental talent, and building/mentoring Iraqi Police (IP) capacity in terms of both quantity and quality. Employing MP assets is never done in isolation but in support of maneuver commander requirements. Defining and resourcing MP support to maneuver commanders, particularly at the brigade combat team (BCT) and division levels deserves re-evaluation to optimize effects.

Topic 1.6: Managing Host Nation Police Development Discussion:

The 18th MP Brigade, Corps Provost Marshal and CPATT worked together to develop a plan to manage the development of HN policing capability. Together, they managed the collective efforts of supporting units, subordinate units, and several HN government level organizations to develop the model for managing host nation police development. The focus was on logistics, maintenance, human resources, and fiscal capabilities (budget development). Measuring or managing operational effectiveness of enforcing law was not in any measurement or management tool in use that the team observed but in the Corps and MP Brigade plans, this measure of effectiveness was listed.

There were many stove-pipe coalition organizations attempting to ―help‖ the police but other than a central reporting station (Corps Provost Marshal), there was no centralized location or entity within the corps responsible for planning and managing rule of law, nor for planning joint (with Iraqi Police) law enforcement related operations. Each subordinate command was left this responsibility to overwatch policing and police effectiveness in its own manner.

The personnel (Human Resources) system being tracked included progress reports on hiring requests, completion and submission of hiring packets, issuing hiring orders, and issuing pay. CPATT and the MP Brigade tracked application process, security screening, and screening established by host nation to ensure that former Party members (Baath) denounced their party affiliation, an entrance examination, a physical fitness form, medical history report and medical examiners report (Physician‘s report) all were part of the application packet.

Utilizing local businesses for logistic support was paramount in MND-N. Right now if a PHQ requires equipment or supplies they have to go to Baghdad and go get it. This is very difficult for Mosul, Kirkuk, and SaD. All the PHQ do not have transportation assets organically available in order transport large amounts of supplies and equipment. Moreover, the security environment does not support safe travel from Mosul to Baghdad so it is very difficult for PTT to persuade the Iraqis to go and pick up equipment when they are afraid of being killed.

The key materiel capabilities tracked included the vehicles (patrol and security vehicles), pistols, rifles, light machine guns, body armor, base station radios, vehicle radios, and police hand held radios. Key logistics requirements funded by the Minister level included all fuels (Petroleum, oils, preservatives, coolants, liquids, and gases), weapons and ammunition (to include cleaning kits), vehicles (to include armored vehicles, fire trucks, water and fuel trucks / tankers, sedans, utility vehicles, pickup trucks, and motorcycles), and repair parts.

Topic 3.5: Biometrics Support to Police Intelligence Operations Discussion: Biometrics supported commanders to achieve identity management during operations. Over time, units in OIF have been fielded much needed biometrics technology. Commanders now have the ability to look into the population and assess measurable physiological and behavioral characteristics that establish an individual‘s identity with certainty. The collection and exploitation of biometric modalities (i.e. fingerprints, facial images, voiceprints, iris scans, gait, etc.) has proven to be an effective and efficient tool, as well as, an evolving combat multiplier. The most successful units viewed biometrics as another ―weapons system.

Currently, the dominant biometric collection systems employed in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) are the Biometric Automated Toolset (BAT), Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment (HIIDE), Jump kit, and Biometric Identification for System Access (BISA).

Biometrics link individuals to past identities, criminal / terrorist acts, and information and is part of a detainee‘s individual detention records. Biometrics collection, analysis, and identification (match) provided a valuable capability to positively identify an individual and to place that individual within a certain relevant context. By collecting, storing, and accessing biometric data units shared authorized information to all levels of command and with Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational (JIIM) partners. Biometric identification has led to the immediate detention of thousands of insurgents, terrorists, and criminals and numerous follow on detentions from evidence collected at IED, weapons cache, and other objective locations. More importantly, biometric collections have cumulative effects which influenced future actionable intelligence and target folder development. No longer can individuals claim one identity while secretly conducting activities using an alias.

Within the TIF, the keys to success were leader awareness of biometric capabilities and system proficiency to synchronize, through the JDIC, collected biometrics on detainees to biometrics being collected on the outside during current operations. Interviews with Soldiers confirmed that leveraging the power of biometrics can be the difference between detaining, retaining, or releasing an insurgent and preventing an incident or picking up the pieces. Indeed, biometrics has proven essential to conducting COIN operations both inside and outside the wire.

Military Police used biometric technologies as another source to validate entries in the Detainee Management System (DMS) and National Detainee Reporting System (NDRS) at the TIF. The challenge here is the lack of digital connectivity between DMS and BAT. Currently, you must manually update each system. The systems are stove-piped and do not interface / populate each other. This lack of connectivity and interoperability resulted in needed available data not being accessible, migrated, or shared between systems. This migration process was not automated which required units to manually upload and download data between systems. Connectivity would have accelerated criminal information reporting and intelligence sharing supporting both the MP and the maneuver commanders who own the battlespace.

Military Police used biometrics equipment not only for DO but across the spectrum of operations. How and how much it was used varied across the Multinational Divisions (MND). Biometrics integration was particular effective in enrolling personnel while on mounted and dismounted patrols, at access control / traffic control points, and to vet candidates seeking employment in the Iraq Police Services (IPS).

The United States Army Criminal Investigations Lab (USACIL) established forward deployed forensics labs and plans to set up even more in the future. Criminal Investigations Division (CID) was fusing biometrics database information with other intelligence and forensic collection systems at these sites in theater. Establishing this capability has enhanced identity management and accelerated response times to positively identify, locate, and target insurgents involved with IED / EFP, caches, and other insurgent or criminal activity to the warfighter.

A great initiative recently organized by the corps was the distribution of BAT and HIIDE down to subordinate tactical units (BAT down to company level and HIIDE down to squad level). According to the cell in charge of biometrics in the corps, providing biometrics capability to maneuver units, at company level and below, has proven to be the single most significant action in support of maneuver commanders to accelerate biometric match results.

Until this more composite distribution plan, biometrics remained mainly a MI and MP tool supporting only their warfighting functions. Now a majority of units across the force have biometrics enrollment and verification capability. Used properly, these biometric technologies have proven effective resulting in multiple insurgent and criminal matches. It appeared the more biometric equipment you have out in battle space- the more enrollments and roll ups you get. Indeed, Soldiers and NCOs get it and have produced a large number of biometric matches. Their efforts have resulted in detaining multiple insurgents.

Many units reported their biggest complaint was the inability to access the entire biometric repository while at the point of collection. Further, units wished they had more biometrics equipment to support their mission. Commanders and laboratory personnel stated an automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS) feature needs to be embedded into handheld collection devices providing immediate hold or release determination feedback to the collector based on previously collected latent fingerprint collections. Consequently, it is also imperative that the screening process during all collection efforts continue to collect on all 10 fingerprint images.

Based on more biometric equipment capacity, units have tailored biometrics to their mission and location. Units that have exploited biometrics include its capabilities in mission planning, routinely use it during missions, and have developed measures of effectiveness (MOE) / measures of performance (MOP) to assess its utility for different kinetic/non kinetic operations.

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