Bringing uniformity to defensive tactics

September 24, 2018

The Marine Corps implemented a new standardized defensive tactics course to help military law enforcement better defend themselves and be able to properly handle suspects up close.

Previously, law enforcement across the Marine Corps used a variety of defensive tactics programs. Personnel who were moving from installation to installation needed to acquire new skills or conduct remediation. 

“I only spent time at one PMO, but I realized that PMO’s are getting trained differently,” said Staff Sgt. Justin Territo, a defensive tactics instructor with the Marine Corps Detachment on Fort Leonard Wood. “Some were similar, but you could go from one installation to another and be trained up in an entirely different defensive tactics.” 

Staff Sgt. Jim Cassidy, a defensive tactics instructor with the Marine Corps Detachment on Fort Leonard Wood, had gone to four different Provost Marshall Offices over the duration of five years and encountered variations in the defensive tactics system at each PMO. 

A new program is being introduced with the purpose of having all Marine Corps law enforcement units use one standardized defensive tactics program.
By making defensive tactics uniform across the Marine Corps, it allows law enforcement personnel to use the same system for the entirety of their career, regardless of their duty station. 

The program is comprised of approximately 80 Marine Corps Martial Arts Program manipulative techniques that have been modified to serve law enforcement better. It also encourages law enforcement to be well rounded in their set of defensive tactics skill set. 

Cassidy said that the new system is filling a few gaps in law enforcement defensive tactics. He said that in his experience he never encountered any PMO’s that were instructing their personnel on ground fighting, contrary to this system. 

The instructor course has been taught in the Indo-Pacific region and the on West Coast of the United States and is scheduled for the East Coast at a later date. The instructors who graduated from the program will return to their home units and train their personnel in the unified defensive tactics program. 

“From what we’ve gotten feedback wise, honestly it has been very positive, but the future of the program doesn’t necessarily rest with him and I [referring to the main course instructors],” Territo said. “It rests with everybody else that we’re pushing it out to and the belief that this program is better than what we currently have.”