News: Commandant addresses Military Police
Story by Staff Sgt. Carmen Steinbach
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba - Joint Task Force Guantanamo service members frequently have high ranking officials and flag officers visiting to see how things are going, both for the mission and the troops themselves. Saturday, Army Brig. Gen. Mark Spindler, chief of the Military Police Corps Regiment and the Military Police School commandant, spoke at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay’s Windjammer ballroom. With an audience comprised of mostly Soldiers from within the Joint Detention Group, Spindler presented the opportunity to hear about where the MP regiment is heading and what the Army has planned for the future.
Walking into a half-filled auditorium, with troops waiting to hear what he would have to say, Spindler displayed an adept ability to relate to Soldiers in the room regardless of rank or age, and provided his audience with a down-to-earth straight talk on the MP corps’ future. Humor present throughout his time speaking, he also shared some of his own enlightening moments upon accepting his new position.
As the Army has to speculate on where to make cuts across the board, no one is excluded from the process. The MP Corps is unique in its relation to other branches of the Army, as not every company is the same. The purview of responsibility for MPs ranges from combat support, detainee operations, or even garrison military police operations just to name a few. With the push for smaller numbers, Spindler explains that there is a need to not redefine the corps itself, but its identity and how it represents itself and its specific and much needed purpose.
Spindler says he recently attended a military ball in Alaska while visiting an Army MP Battalion there and was inspired by the 91 year old guest speaker they invited to the ball, former Army Staff Sgt. Peter Schantz. A World War II veteran, Schantz spoke of what Soldiers did at the time to combat their fears and reflected on what their purpose was while fighting there. Schantz explained that as MPs they weren’t there to police the force, they were there to preserve the force for the fight.
“That’s it, that’s the point!” said Spindler.
With all responsibilities that lay on the shoulders of MP units across the country, this poignant message is one of many things that help define their mission and purpose.
“Military policing is all about preserving the fighting force,” said Spindler. “We’re here to help commanders hold the line. That is the fundamental nuance of who we are and should be.”
Another turn in the downsizing of our military and refocusing of the internal development of those still in is the concentration on character within the Army. Recruiting has become more stringent, with more older standards coming back into play, the result is a more selective choice in the breed of person that enters the fighting force. It’s a buyer’s market, says Spindler.
The regimental command sergeant major, Army Command Sgt. Maj. John Kierney, says the focus is not only on the character of those coming in but of those that are in currently and being developed as future leaders.
“There are a few things we’re trying to look at right now,” said Kierney. “We want to focus on character of Soldiers. Am I a Soldier with a proper leader presence? Do I have the technical skills of my position and the respect of my peers, commitment to competencies, your civilian education and military developments? We want Soldiers of character to represent our Army and fulfill their duties.”
This focus on a ever-improving and constantly developing Soldier is a team effort and requires the foresight of good leaders as well.
“Tomorrow’s challenges are going to require us to think different and more methodically,” said Spindler.