Within the framework of the Central American Armed Forces Conference (CFAC), the Guatemalan Military Police School held the First International Military Police Course at its headquarters, in the municipality of San José Pinula, June 5-July 28. Representatives from Guatemala, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic received theoretical and practical lessons to develop skills to deal with situations arising in their day to day military police tasks.
“The main objective of the school is to qualify, train, and specialize not only Guatemalan Army personnel, but also CFAC personnel in the land, sea, and air forces, to perform as members of units in war and non-war operations,” Guatemalan Army Colonel Rubén Téllez, Public Affairs director of the Ministry of Defense, told Diálogo on July 16.
The course brought together 60 service members from the Guatemalan Army, 10 from the Honduran Armed Forces, and nine from the Dominican Army. The military training was divided into four main areas: tactical, technical, legal, and physical-sports.
“This first Military Police International Course under the auspices of the CFAC has a special importance, because it allows the standardization of knowledge, techniques, and procedures of the military police of armed forces members of this conference, especially assuming the need to carry out combined operations when required by any of the countries represented,” Col. Téllez said.
Instruction and training
This unprecedented military training was focused on developing techniques and protocols through a variety of courses. Among others, participants honed their knowledge on Evacuation Protocols, Search Techniques, Military Police Operations, Military Transit, Civil Disturbances, Facility Security, and VIP Security. They also received theoretical training on Public Order Law, Criminal Code, Weapons and Ammunition Law, Traffic Law, Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law, and Use of Force.
The trained personnel come from all areas of the military. “It’s an instruction center that provides education and training to troop personnel, of any weapon or service, to train them as military police,” Col. Téllez said. “The graduates have a high level of knowledge in the tactical, technical, legal, and physical sports areas, based on a democratic culture and respect for human rights.”
For the personnel of the Dominican Republic Military Police, it is also an opportunity to prepare for international events, since the military police has always been a part of the Dominican military institution. Its actions, however, were limited to internal affairs.
“Participating in this type of training allows us to have a broader vision in this area, by learning about the methods, techniques, and experiences of other forces in Military Police work,” Army Lieutenant Colonel Elvis Reyes Almonte, commander of the CFAC in the Dominican Republic, told Diálogo.
“The high command of the Dominican Armed Forces is showing great interest in training its members in matters that have to do with public order, because while it is true that the mission of all the armed forces is the defense of their country, the reality is that in recent times governments have seen fit to use them for other tasks that are more focused on public security,” Lt. Col. Reyes said.
Since the threats facing the region are similar, updating the knowledge of the military police of CFAC members is necessary to ensure better performance among Central American countries.
“Standardizing methods and techniques in the region allows us to develop military police work in a more professional manner, since sharing experiences and lessons learned enriches and strengthens the operational capacity of our forces, helping to ensure that the actions of each soldier always remain attached to the respect for human rights,” Lt. Col. Reyes said.
An international organization such as the CFAC is of utmost importance, as it contributes to regional security. The interaction with partner nations allows the approach and training of civil liberties issues, the implementation of security strategies, and the security of common borders, for which Central America receives support through partner nations such as the United States.
“The participants will be multipliers of the information and training received and in turn will apply these capabilities in the missions that in this regard are assigned to the armed forces, as well as in support operations to the national police and other state institutions, where they work on the issue of public safety,” Lt. Col. Reyes concluded.