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.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

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

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


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