Reprinted with permission from the Spring 2009 issue of Military Police.
Pentathlete, broad, and multidimensional are buzz words recently developed to describe highly valued military police officers and noncommissioned officers (NCOs). A common thread among the programs designed to develop such leaders is the multinationalty of training and experience. In fact, continuing guidance from senior military police leadership involves finding, building, and emphasizing opportunities to better prepare military police officers and NCOs for multinational deployments and assignments. There are many opportunities for military police leaders to train with soldiers from other nations around the world. For example, there are abundant opportunities to train in European nations, thanks to the United Nations (UN), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and European Union.
There are a variety of multinational (European) military police courses available. The frequency, duration, cost, and student population of the courses are extremely diverse. There is a course offered during any given season of the year, and specific courses are usually conducted once a year. For example, the annual NATO Military Police Officer Planning Course is always conducted during the second week of September. Most courses are two weeks in duration and generally accommodate about forty students. All it takes is a little research to find the right course to attend.
The NATO School ("http://www.natoschool.nato.int") in Oberammergau, Germany, hosts a variety of courses designed to prepare students from NATO and Partnership for Peace nations for NATO operations. The NATO Military Police Officer Planning Course prepares students for military police missions as part of a multinational brigade, mainly through the use of syndicate (small group) work. At the conclusion of the course, each syndicate presents its week-long project, which is analyzed by peers and group leaders.
The NATO Military Police Officer Orientation Course (conducted at the Feldj√§ger [German military police] School, ["http://www.feldjaeger-stabsdienstschule.bundeswehr.de/portal/a/sfjgstdstbw"], Sonthofen, Germany, near the end of October each year) is designed to expose students to a European view of NATO military police work. The Feldj√§ger School staff feel as though the school is the centerpiece for all German military police training. The lectures and practical exercises are German-based, and the Polizei (German civilian police) present a briefing. Students are exposed to their fair share of German culture over the week-long class.
The Swedish Armed Forces International Centre ("http://www.swedint.mil.se"), Kungs√§ngen, Sweden, conducts individual training and education for military and police personnel in support of peace support operations by the UN, NATO, and other organizations. Through a partnership with the Swedish National Criminal Police, the Swedish Armed Forces International Centre offers numerous courses suited for military police students across several levels and disciplines. The following courses, which must be arranged well in advance, vary in length and duration:
The UN Training School Ireland ("http://www.military.ie") at the Military College, Curragh Camp, Ireland, offers several courses in peacekeeping. Specifically, the International Military Police Course is designed to prepare military police officers and NCOs for duty with a multinational military police unit serving with a UN or other multinational force engaged in peace support operations. The two-week course takes place in September each year. Several techniques are used to facilitate the International Military Police Course learning process; lectures, demonstrations, group meetings, student exercises, and discussions enhance the student learning experience.
Each April and August, the Danish Army Logistics School, Aalborg Barracks, Noerresundby, Denmark, hosts a two-week Nordic UN Military Police Course ("http://www.mil.no/multimedia/archive/00073/UNMILPOC_73427a.pdf"). This course was established in 1969 as one of four Nordic UN courses; however, the course is more narrowly focused today to allow for greater specialization of graduates. Students in the course learn to perform military police officer and shift commander functions in a UN military police unit on a UN mission. The subjects discussed include general UN orientation, military police administration, military police service and duty, communications, and military English - ;all topics which are very common to U.S. Army military police.
The Italian Carabinieri Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units "http://www.carabinieri.it/internet/Coespu") at Lieutenant General A. Chinotto Barracks, Vicenza, Italy, also hosts a military police course. The aim of the annual, two-week International Police Course, which takes place at the end of October, is to train military police and gendarmerie officers and NCOs to be employed in international contexts. This is done through lectures and exercises. Due to Italy's involvement around the world, the participation of non-European students is common in this course.
All nations face the challenge of funding student attendance at these courses. At some schools, the tuition is waived, but due to national caveats on spending defense funds, fees for meals and accommodations must be set. At other schools, there are no costs except those incurred for the transportation of attendees. One technique that can be used to allow attendance at courses for which funding is an issue is to offer services as a lecturer or syndicate leader. For example, prospective students may submit a resume or curriculum vitae and receive an invitation to attend an entire course funded by the institution in exchange for serving as a speaker or assistant instructor. After deciding which course to attend, future students are encouraged to contact the appropriate school directly.
Multinational military police courses are professionally and personally rewarding. Professionally, the courses prepare students to work in multinational organizations (such as the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps) or multinational brigades. This is accomplished by a variety of means including themed lectures over a wide range of topics, practical exercises using the military decision-making process, and the analysis of lessons learned. The personal relationships formed during the courses sometimes evolve into lifelong friendships. Personal relationships are fundamental to military police work and serve as cornerstones for the staff work of many officers and NCOs.
The courses mentioned here are just a few examples of those offered in Europe. Most military police professionals who have attended these courses have indicated that their time was well spent and that their experiences were priceless. The building of a successful coalition often hinges on interpersonal relationships; among the international military police community, the family is small. Military police who are interested in taking advantage of these training opportunities should pursue attendance as soon as possible . . . the earlier, the better.