Military Police, United States

Military Police, United States

The U.S. military police are the law enforcement corps within each of the major services. The army has its Military Police Corps, the navy its Shore Patrol, the air force its Air Force Security Police, and the Marine Corps its Military Police. These forces are staffed almost entirely by military personnel, and are responsible for all the ordinary functions of a police force, as well as additional military duties.

Formal organization of military police in the United States dates back to the early twentieth century. Today the largest of the military police corps is, not surprisingly, that of the largest service, the Army, whose provost marshal general sits on the Department of the Army staff. Military police personnel are involved in law enforcement operations ranging from protecting school crossings and writing parking tickets to murder investigations and under-cover drug stings.

Personnel at U.S. bases around the country and the world provide temporary confinement of service members charged under the uniform code of military justice (UCMJ). Assuming the individual is found guilty after trial in a military court, where he or she is represented by a member of the judge advocate general (JAG) corps, if the sentence warrants, the convicted will serve time at a federal facility such as Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

In addition to the regular military police activities, several branches have special undercover contingents—for example, the Army Central Investigation Division (CID)—as well as corrections officers. Military police, known as MPs in the Army and Marines, are trained for combat, and are often involved in second or third waves of an invading force. Once a target area has been subdued, MPs will often undertake the preservation of order, and the MP commander will serve as effective leader of the area until replaced.



Wright, Robert K. Military Police. Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, 1992.


Dominique, Dean J. "Convoy Rat Patrol." Army Logistician 34, no. 3 (May/June 2002): 36–37.

Flatter, J. R. "Military Police: A Force of Choice for the 21st Century MEU (SOC)." Marine Corps Gazette 81, no. 7 (July 1997): 36.

Warden, John A. III. "The New American Security Force." Airpower Journal 13, no. 3 (fall 1999): 75–91.


DoD (United States Department of Defense)
Law Enforcement, Responses to Terrorism

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