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    Exercise Guardian Sphinx, US Army units, NATO allies collaborate detainment, interrogation

    LAANG 773rd MP Bn MPs perform detainee ops for Guardian Sphinx at LSA Poland

    Photo By Sgt. Karen Sampson | U.S. Army Spc. Juan Justiniao, a New York National Guard Military Police from the...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Karen Sampson 

    343rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    DRAWSKO POMORSKIE, Poland – Louisiana Army National Guard’s 773rd Military Police Battalion and the XVIII Airborne Corps’ 525th Expeditionary – Military Intelligence Brigade collaborated with NATO allies and executed detainee custody and interrogation operations training during Exercise Guardian Sphinx, Jan. 16 – 26, 2024.

    “This exercise offers a rare training opportunity and environment where soldiers can focus on strengthening partnerships, working alongside military police from allied countries,” said U.S. Army Spc. Matthew Vanlangendonck, law enforcement specialist assigned to LAANG 773rd MP BN. “Most of the time when a military police general support battalion and its companies deploy, it is to support force protection measures, law enforcement, and general mobility; detainee operations are not commonly tasked or taught.”

    For approximately 200 military police, military intelligence soldiers, support from joint services, and participants and observers from nine NATO allies Exercise Guardian Sphinx’s detainee operations-centric exercise instructed NATO’s policy and doctrine, and The Geneva Convention helped to develop a uniform system that employed the control, supervision and humane treatment of detainees.

    “The Guardian Sphinx exercise also transitioned soldiers from detainee operations based on counterinsurgency to a training model suited to the current large-scale combat environment of the European theater,” Vanlangendonck said.

    The 773rd MP BN and the 525th E-MIB collectively co-opted a building in the training area. Both entities created a detention and interrogation facility, trained and integrated personnel, and then used 24-hour operations to exercise capabilities and cohesive partnerships over several days.

    Due to his experience as a Federal Bureau of Prisons senior corrections officer at a maximum-security Federal Penitentiary in Pollock, Louisiana, and being deployed for detainee operation missions with LAANG, Vanlangendonck served as observer, coach, and instructor during Exercise Guardian Sphinx 24.

    “Our job is to facilitate the training of our guard force MPs in detention operations,” Vanlangendonck said. “I instruct proper detainee intake procedures such as escorting, conducting a body search, restraint application and effective communication. I ensure these actions are done correctly per U.S. Army policy and doctrine.”

    It is imperative to build interoperability with allies and partners. The 773rd MP BN invited will show them how the battalion conducts business with detention operations to inform their efforts, Vanlangendonck said.

    Representatives from Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe/ SHAPE in Mons, Belgium, the NATO Military Police Center of Excellence, and allied military police forces discussed using the information gained and lessons learned from this exercise to help shape the future of detainee operations.

    “For us in the Canadian Armed Forces, one of the capabilities of our military police is the detention operations,” said Capt. Christopher Rickinson, an officer with 1 Military Police Regiment, Canadian Armed Forces.

    Rickinson accepted the invitation to attend Guardian Sphinx. He and his regiment are part of a task force in Latvia.

    “It is an area where we're looking to expand our capabilities,” Rickinson said. “And being able to understand how our partners work is extremely vital to us and extremely vital to the overall mission.”

    Rickinson mentioned that the 773rd MP BN and 525th E-MIB put forward maximum efforts.

    “The exercise is great training and a total U.S. Army, multinational, and joint forces event to enable shared knowledge with our NATO allies,” said Lt. Col. Doris Reed, battalion commander, LAANG 773rd Military Police Battalion. “In addition to the care, custody, control and accountability for the detainees, military police are also learning coordination with military intelligence partners.”

    The exercise tested the military police’s interpersonal communication and problem-solving skills by integrating civilian role players and employing U.S. Air Force linguists as detainees who required special accommodations and interpreters in training scenarios.

    “There is a long list of participants and mentors who contributed to the exercise,” said Reed. “The intent here is to show the diversity of the participants who added complexity and reality to the overall event.”

    Although the exercise operated on a small scale compared to the space required of a real-world military detention center, an effort exercising processes in the European theater can determine what is required to safely and humanely accommodate detainees, inform about training and sustainment needs, modify procedures, provide valuable logistics data, and possibly create future policies and doctrine.

    “This rigorous MP and MI collective training will fall into larger joint multinational exercises, so it continues to live and is an opportunity to build the readiness needed in this space,” Reed said.

    Enabled by U.S. Army Europe and Africa and V Corps at the Land Force Training Center, Exercise Guardian Sphinx provided vital on-site training in detention operations, detainee treatment, and core interrogation methods. When staffed and in 24-hour operations, the organization can use sustainment data and logistical support operations to inform training needs and theater-level planning for NATO's Eastern flank.



    Date Taken: 01.26.2024
    Date Posted: 01.31.2024 03:44
    Story ID: 462621

    Web Views: 434
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