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How Should the SPF Be Organized and Staffed? Given that the United States needs an SPF, what should it look like? e research team identified two critical missions for the SPF that will shape its organization and structure.

  • e first is to help establish a secure environment. e sec-

ond is to help the host government develop its own high-end police capability so it can establish security on its own.

To gain insight into how large an SPF would be required, researchers analyzed three scenarios: Macedonia, Cuba, and the Ivory Coast, resulting in three sizing options for an SPF: 1,000, 4,000, and 6,000 police. ey also concluded that an SPF should be able to deploy a battalion-sized force within 30 days. In terms of force composition, the team considered options ranging from a full-time force composed of either military or civilian personnel, to a reserve force that would be called up as needed, to a civilian force that included both active and reserve federal law enforcement personnel.

  • e cost of the SPF is a key consideration. When

computing costs, the research team took into account the cost of personnel, training, facilities, equipment, operations and maintenance, and administration. Costs varied by the composition of the organization and are shown in Table 1. Annual costs range from a low of about $93 million for a small (1,000-person) reserve force to just over $900 million for a large (6,000-person) full-time military force.

Where Should an SPF Be Located in the U.S. Government?

  • e next issue is where in the U.S. government an SPF

should reside. e research team considered a range of organizations that could plausibly house an SPF: the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, and the U.S. Army’s Military Police.

  • e team also examined other options, including the U.S.

Coast Guard, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the Central Intel-




















Table 1 Total Cost Estimates (2007$ million)



ligence Agency, as well as several smaller agencies within the departments of Justice, State, and Homeland Security. Researchers evaluated each organization on its tactical suitability (i.e., could it do the job?) and its institutional suit- ability (i.e., do the institutional conditions allow it to develop requisite capabilities and to carry out the mission?). ey also considered the possibility of establishing a new agency.

With regard to tactical suitability, all organizations analyzed can do some of the tasks required of an SPF, but none does all tasks. us, all would need to develop some additional capabilities. An assessment of the tactical and institutional capabilities of the organizations considered led the researchers to conclude that only two organizations—the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Army’s Military Police— could qualify to meet the requirements of an SPF. Both orga- nizations would require additional capabilities or training.

Conclusions Weighing all considerations, the researchers concluded that the best option would be a 6,000-person hybrid force headquartered in the U.S. Marshals Service. e personnel in reserve status could be employed in state and local police forces so they would be able to exercise police functions in a civilian population daily and could be called up as needed.

  • e Marshals Service was deemed to have many of the requi-

site skills. However, its training and management capabilities would need to be expanded to take on this large mission, and it would have to recruit additional personnel as well. e annual cost, $637 million, is reasonable given the capability it buys. e cost savings in relieving military forces of these duties could be greater than required to create the SPF.

  • e Military Police option was attractive for a number of

reasons, especially its capacity, training, and logistical capa- bilities, but its inability to engage in policing activities when not deployed was a major stumbling block. e Posse Comi- tatus Act precludes military personnel from exercising police functions in a civilian setting, and legislative relief might be difficult to get. Even if such relief were forthcoming, it is unclear where and how routine police skills might be honed.

Creation of a civilian SPF would not affect the roles that other elements of the U.S. government would play. Rather, it would complement other agencies such as the departments of Defense and State. But the SPF would provide a necessary capability, and the U.S. Army should support its creation.

This research brief describes work done for RAND Arroyo Center and documented in A Stability Police Force for the United States: Justification and Options for Creating U.S. Capabilities, by Terrence K. Kelly, Seth G. Jones, James E. Barnett II, Keith Crane, Robert C. Davis, and Carl Jensen, MG-819-A (available at http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG819/), 2009, 212 pp., $31.00, ISBN: 978-0-8330-4653-6. This research brief was written by Jerry M. Sollinger. The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit research organization providing objective analysis and effective solutions that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors around the world. RAND’s publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors. R® is a registered trademark.

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RB-9432-A (2009)

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