Marine Corps activates new law enforcement battalions

Marines in Bravo Company of the 1st Law Enforcement Battalion practice non-lethal crowd control techniques. Marines in Bravo Company of the 1st Law Enforcement Battalion practice non-lethal crowd control techniques. Grant Hindsley/AP

The Marine Corps has activated its first battalions of law enforcement officers, a group created to quickly respond to emerging issues such as drug trafficking and transnational crime, the Associated Press reported.

Approximately 1,500 troops in three battalions were activated in June. Their primary purpose will be to build off the work of the military police, adding new capacities in criminal investigations and noncombat duties such as training foreign military forces.

This development comes as each of the military branches prepares to increase productivity so they can handle coming cuts to the defense budget. Each of the service branches is adapting to a climate where smaller, smarter and more agile forces will be necessary to address future threats.

The new battalions are expected to conduct intelligence, forensic and biometric work, and civil peace maintenance. A conference in Miami that the U.S. Southern Command will host later this month will showcase the battalions to officials from several Central American countries, AP said.

The new commander of the Law Enforcement Battalion told AP that the incoming troops were well-versed in lessons learned in conflicts abroad.

“Over the past 11 years of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, some lessons learned painfully, there has been a growing appreciation and a demand for, on the part of the war fighter, the unique skills and capabilities that MPs bring to the fight,” Maj. Jan Durham of the 1st Law Enforcement Battalion told AP. “We do enforce traffic laws and we do write reports and tickets, and that’s good, but we do so much more than that.”

Still, concerns about the units remain. Former Marine Corps prosecutor Gary Solis pointed to potential complications that could emerge from the new gray area between police officer and soldier, AP said.

"Cops apply human rights law and Marines apply the law of war,” Solis said. “Now that it's blended, it makes it tougher for the young men and women who have to make the decision as to when deadly force is not appropriate."

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Law Enforcement Battalions will be based out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.; Camp Lejeune, N.C.; and Camp Hansen in Okinawa, Japan; respectively.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.