By Sgt. John Carkeet IVMay 26, 2016
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii -- Aloha. The roots of this genial word burrow far below the loose layer of introductory phrases. Aloha embodies a fundamental code of ethics that advocates unity, honesty, humility and perseverance and alertness. The Spirit of Aloha inspires the people of Hawaii to lead a life that promotes abundant health, success and prosperity.
Throughout its 118-year history, U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) has honored the Spirit of Aloha by integrating its ancient teachings with modern military doctrine. Its close embrace with Aloha's harmonious laws and lessons has promoted countless partnerships whose inclusiveness reflects the vastness of the ocean from whence they came.
As budgets shrink and priorities expand, USARPAC looks to its partners to reinforce programs that promote the fusion of talent and resources among multiple players. The Army Total Force Policy stands as one of the most recent and well-received initiatives that integrates active and reserve component forces.
"The Army Total Force Policy directs its active duty, Reserve and National Guard components to produce synergies that help the Army accomplish its missions," said Army Brig. Gen. Brian E. Alvin, director of USARPAC's Army Reserve Engagement Cell (AREC). "The Army Reserve in particular brings unique capabilities the other components do not have in great abundance."
One great capability projected by the Army Reserve revolves around its law enforcement assets. The 200th Military Police (MP) Command, the Army Reserve's largest law enforcement agency, offered its immense manpower and expertise to bolster its active duty counterparts stationed in Japan and Hawaii.
"The 200th MP Command brings trained personnel, advanced equipment and other law enforcement related resources that USARPAC does not have in large quantities," said Army Lt. Col. Robert L. Barney Jr., deputy provost marshal for USARPAC. "Engaging Reserve units like the 200th MP Command is the most effective way to accomplish our missions."
"Many Soldiers in the 200th MP Command are police officers and first responders in their civilian professions," added Alvin. "They bring unique skillsets to the field that help fulfill USARPAC's mission requirements."
These requirements reach a critical stage when a contingency produces large scale deployments that deplete its law enforcement capabilities in Hawaii.
"That's why we must build these partnerships between our active duty MPs and our Reserve brothers and sisters now," said Army Col. Duane R. Miller, commander of the 8th MP Brigade headquartered at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. "By establishing these relationships early, the 200th MP Command can better prepare to provide critical functions [in Hawaii] while my command focuses making a smooth transition from garrison duties to rapid deployments that support contingency operations."
As part of its initial push into the Pacific, the 200th MP Command has worked closely with the USARPAC AREC to overcome the numerous financial and logistical challenges inherent in any large-scale training operation. Months of planning, patience and persistence came to fruition in early May when the 200th MP Command sent scores of Soldiers from its downtrace units located in the Continental U.S. to USARPAC's AO to learn how USARPAC enforces the law throughout its enormous Area of Operations comprising more than 80,000 Soldiers spread throughout dozens of countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
"Funding is often embedded in the many challenges present in the Total Army Integration program," said Barney. "However, the most critical component in this program comes the people's need to understand and embrace the necessity of combining resources."
Among the first wave of 200th MP Command assets are five Soldiers from the 414th MP Company headquartered in Joplin, Missouri, who put their knowledge and experience to the test as they strive to earn essential military law enforcement certifications.
"Our company first sergeant selected noncommissioned officers who demonstrated the most experience and leadership potential," said Ashley W. Barnes, acting squad leader, 414th MP Company. "My command has tasked my squad and me to soak in the lessons taught by our active duty instructors so we may pass on that knowledge to the other [Reserve] Soldiers in our company."
"My battalion was tasked to facilitate training for Reserve Soldiers temporarily assigned in Hawaii," said Army Staff Sgt. Latasha S. Mack serving as a law enforcement non-commissioned officer in charge for the 728th MP Battalion, 8th MP Brigade. "We are combining classroom instruction with practical exercises to ensure our Reserve Soldiers understand the essential duties of military police work."
Mack and her team of instructors have introduced Barnes and his squadmates to numerous law enforcement subjects from routine traffic stops to non-lethal weapons and tactics.
"Immersive training like this helps the active duty and Reserve component get on the same page," said Barnes. "When active duty MP units need [Reserve] support, both sides must feel confident in each other's capabilities. Our training here demonstrates that we know what we're doing and are willing to learn how to become better military police officers."
These "train the trainer" courses tailored for Reserve Soldiers have laid the foundation for a mutually beneficial partnership that simultaneously supports the Army Reserve's Annual Training requirements and USARPAC's military police capabilities.
As the 728th MP Battalion and the 414th MP Company continue to execute individual and squad-level training exercises, the 8th MP Brigade, 200th MP Command, USARPAC and the AREC continue to bridge sourcing solutions at the operational and strategic levels.
"We're operating at the platoon level right now," said Miller. "We must move forward with planning training events that operate at the company, battalion and brigade level."
"I can't predict a contingency with 100 percent accuracy," said Alvin. "Training for it is what really matters. If we train together with our Reserve partners, we will be better prepared to handle any contingency."