Citizen Soldiers: On the ground with the Military Police Group
By 2Lt Suzanne Nogue, CF MP Gp
Corporal Allan Muldoon has served with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) since 2000. Constantly looking for opportunities to grow and push himself, he saw the military as one of those challenges. Serving in a reserve capacity allowed him to start his career in the CAF while pursuing his post-secondary studies. Having first joined as an Mechanical Technician, he remustered in 2002 as a member of the Military Police and soon after began working in Close Protection (CP). Throughout his career, he’s been deployed twice to Afghanistan, worked in CP for former Chief of the Defence Staff, General Rick Hillier, and on the civilian side worked CP for a Canadian in the Caribbean. Currently, his day-to-day activities involve preparations for his third deployment, spending time with his young son and juggling his busy career as a civilian firefighter.
The Canadian Forces Military Police Group (CF MP Gp) provides police and security support to every CAF installation in Canada. Currently, there are approximately 1,600 Military Police members, with 300 of that number accounting for reservist MPs[i]. Reserve Military Police members play an important role within the CF MP Gp. Not only do they provide support to their regular force colleagues with policing matters, they also handle military or field taskings such as aircraft and port security, traffic control, detainee handling, force protection, close protection and physical security (protection of information, people and installations). Whereas regular force Military Police are credited and carry a badge, reservist members are typically uncredited and tasked with unique skills and strengths useful for deployed missions.
Reserve MPs generally take on what can be classified as a “field” role, similar to that of an Army Combat Arms member. They accompany troops on missions, exercises, and other types of deployments, following them on the ground and overseas. This unique career path also provides flexibility to members as they can either work on a part-time or full-time basis. Not only does it allow individuals to serve according to their personal situations, it also allows the CAF to employ reservists with different skills and backgrounds[ii]. For Cpl Muldoon, working in a reservist capacity can also be quite challenging. The importance for him is finding the balance for so many things he deems significant- family, civilian employment, reserve commitments and serving Canada.
“I always want to be able to contribute to my platoon in a way that benefits it,” said Cpl Muldoon. “If I can be doing that while the rest doesn’t suffer, then I’ll continue to support my unit to the best of my ability.”
In addition to working civilian jobs or attending university, members go through similar training as regular force MP, attend parade nights and perform various taskings each month. According to Cpl Muldoon, “you get what you put in.” The more one participates and shows support for their local unit, the more deployment, coursing and training opportunities will become available to them.
“The Army Military Police Group is a total force formation,” says Lieutenant-Colonel Vanessa Hanrahan, Commander, Army Military Police Group. “Reserve Force members are instrumental to the Group, contributing to the formation’s ability to provide support to the Canadian Army and the CF MP Gp both domestically and abroad. As the MP Branch continues to define its role within the larger CAF, the Reservists’ role will continue to prosper, ensuring they are poised to provide MP capabilities within a part-time construct.”
According to Canada’s National Defence Policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, the new vision for the Reserve force will see a dramatic improvement on the way it is integrated into the total force[iii]. In order to maximize the operational potential of the CAF, the size of the Reserve force is expected to increase by 1,500 members for a total of 30,000 over the next 20 years[iv]. In alignment with Canada’s Defence Policy, the CF MP Gp is focusing on modernizing its Reserve force in order to augment its Regular force and sustain domestic and international missions. Specifically, the group aims at implementing the following changes:
- Update occupation specifications that reflect and define job roles and taskings;
- Revamp reserve curriculum to focus on expeditionary operations.
In order to fulfill this mandate, the CF MP Gp HQ established a small cell dedicated to reserve matters and the strategic exploitation of the Reserve force within the group. These changes will take at least 2-3 years to be achieved.
[i] Canadian Forces Provost Marshal Annual Report (fiscal year 2016-2017) p.5
[ii] Strong, Secure, Engaged, Canada’s Defence Policy p.68,69
[iii] Strong, Secure, Engaged, Canada’s Defence Policy p.68
[iv] Strong, Secure, Engaged, Canada’s Defence Policy p.16
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