The US-European Freedom Defenders
Under the authority of the United Nations (UN Security Council Resolution 1244) NATO has been leading a Peace Support Operation in Kosovo since June 1999 in support of wider International efforts to build Peace and Stability in the area.
The Operational Mission:
- Contribute to a safe and secure environment
- Support and coordinate the international humanitarian effort and civil presence
- Support the development of a stable, democratic, multi-ethnic and peaceful Kosovo
- Support the development of the Kosovo Security Force
Today, approximately 5,000 Troops from the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR), provided by 31 countries (23 NATO and 8 KFOR partners) continue to contribute towards maintaining a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all citizens, irrespective of their ethnic origin.
The HQ of KFOR is located at Camp Film City, Pristina under the authority of rotating Commander of KFOR (COMKFOR) 2016 © KFOR
SPECIAL EDITION INTERVIEW WITH U.S ARMY KFOR REGIONAL COMMAND EAST (Series-2)
Interview with Capt. Jace Rivard, KFOR Regional Command East Public Affairs Officer, conducted by Editor in Chief
Sir, we are very grateful to have this special occasion with you. Thank you for accepting the invitation.
Q 1: The United States has been continuously supporting Kosovo by all means of political, diplomatic, economic assistance as well as military contributions in the multinational NATO-led KFOR mission. Could you give us the posture of the U.S troops in this mission at the current time?
U.S. Soldiers in Kosovo are currently supporting NATO’s KFOR Regional Command – East which is one of two regional commands postured beneath KFOR higher headquarters. The mission continues to be ensuring a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all people in Kosovo.
And what battalions, National Guards, Army Reserve, and Active Duty are parts of this mission?
KFOR Regional Command-East is currently led by Commander, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain), Col. Brey Hopkins. The Brigade Headquarters is from the Vermont Army National Guard and is currently deployed to Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo. The aviation Task Force supporting KFOR RC-E at Camp Bondsteel from its normal headquarters in Connecticut and is constructed of units of 1st Battalion, 169th Aviation Regiment, with the Connecticut, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico and Maryland Army National Guard. The KFOR RC-E Maneuver Battalion is led by Commander, 1st Squadron, 172nd Cavalry Regiment (Mountain), Maj. Zach Fike. This Vermont headquartered unit is currently deployed to Camp Novo Selo and Camp Nothing Hill in Kosovo. There are a multitude of enabling units to include an Active Duty medical support company from Fort Bragg, N.C. as well as a detachment from the 29th Military Police Company with the Maryland Army National Guard.
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Life, Liberty and the Pursuit by U.S Army Chaplain KFOR Regional Command – East
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit By: U.S. Army Chaplain (Maj.) Eric Stuepfert, KFOR Regional Command – East Chaplain.
The trees are beginning to turn. It’s one of the most beautiful times of the year, even for the locals. Just weeks ago, the rolling mountains stood tall, covered in green as far as your eyes could see. As a Vermont Green Mountain Boy, you’d think I’d be used to this by now. The difference this year, is that I’m not in Vermont. The 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain) is currently deployed to Kosovo on a NATO peacekeeping mission named Kosovo Force or KFOR.
As a Chaplain, I have had the great pleasure of meeting many of the religious leaders throughout Regional Command East and have been able to observe many of the religious traditions and customs found within Kosovo. I have visited historic sites that I read about as a child, and have seen the magnificent architecture of churches and mosques throughout the Balkans. Recently I had the privilege of speaking at the Kosovo Center for Peace in Pristina.
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An Exclusive Interview with U.S Army KFOR Regional Command East (SERIES-1)
An exclusive interview with MAJ. Sam K. Otto, Spokesperson of the Public Affairs, U.S Army KFOR Regional Command East. Conducted by Editor in Chief.
Sir, it is a great honor to have you with us in this interview. Thank you very much.
Q: Since 1999 KFOR has been the pillar of security and stability in Kosovo. Could you give us an overall picture of KFOR mission and the crucial role that the U.S Army holds in it.
MAJ. Sam K. Otto, Spokesperson of the Public Affairs: The US along with NATO and Allied partners are leading a peace support operation in Kosovo to build peace and stability in the area. Under the authority of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 KFOR’s mission is to contribute to a safe and secure environment, support the development of a stable, democratic, multi-ethnic and peaceful Kosovo, support and coordinate the international humanitarian effort and civil presence in the region. Regional Command East (RC-E) is the US led team responsible for the KFOR mission in the eastern part of Kosovo. This team includes aviation, medical, and forces capable of monitoring the safety and security of Kosovo citizens along with providing a response if needed.
Q: In the last two decades the United States has been the major contributor in NATO-led KFOR operation. Please enlighten us about the U.S posture in KFOR at the present time, and its achievements in this mission so far.
MAJ. Sam K. Otto, Spokesperson of the Public Affairs: The 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division from the Iowa Army National Guard is supporting NATO and operating as the US led multinational Regional Command East headquarters for KFOR. The US team is comprised of Soldiers from the Michigan, Maryland, Delaware and Washington National Guard along with US Army Reserve and Active Duty troops from Fort Hood, Texas. Our priority is to provide a safe and secure environment to build peace and stability in the area and let the people of Kosovo have freedom of movement throughout the region. Every Soldier in KFOR whether it be US, NATO or Allied Forces stand ready if called upon by the institutions of Kosovo as a third responder after the Kosovo Police and EULEX. We have full faith and confidence in the Kosovo Police, which is a fully capable force, in enforcing the rule of law throughout Kosovo.
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KFOR, EULEX, KP in Exercise Silver Sabre-2
The multinational Exercise Silver Sabre-2 was executed from November 21 -26 at Camp Film City, Camp Vrelo and Camp Pomazatin with the joint Forces of: NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR), the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX), Kosovo Police (KP) and the Kosovo Security Forces (KSF).
Brigadier General Bernd Thran, Deputy Head of EULEX (center) attedning the Silver Sabre-2 Exercise. November 28, 2016 © EULEX
The Exercise is in a series led by KFOR, aimed to assess and upgrade the operational readiness and to enhance the coordinated efforts between KFOR, EULEX, KP, KSF in Kosovo.
Briefed by KFOR Public Affairs, additional elements that have been part of the exercise were:
- KP, in the Crowd Riot Control (CRC) role as a first responder;
- EULEX, in the CRC role as a second responder;
- KSF, in the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence (CBRN) role according to their mission, response operations in Kosovo and abroad in Civil Protection Operations, Natural Disaster and other emergencies. © KFOR November 21, 2016
November 28, 2016 © KFOR News from KFOR News from EULEX Follow us on Twitter: @USEUWAffairs
On September 12, during an official meeting of Deputy Secretary General Vershbow with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Vice President of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), Mr Enver Hoxhaj in Brussels– the Deputy Secretary General reassured Kosovo of NATO’s continuous support for KFOR.
“KFOR will continue to contribute to a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement in Kosovo, working in close cooperation with the Kosovo authorities and with the EU.”
“….that NATO will continue to support the development of the security organisations in Kosovo and welcomed the increased professionalism shown by the Kosovo Police.” elaborated Deputy Secretary General Vershbow. September 12, 2016 © NATO Public Affairs
- Additional: The Role of NATO in Kosovo
News from NATO News from KFOR Source: NATO public Affairs
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited KFOR Headquarters
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Major General Francesco Paolo Figliuolo, Commander KFOR.
January 23, 2015 © NATO
The Secretary General met with COMKFOR Major General Francesco Paolo Figluolo and with the Leaders in Pristina. He described the KFOR a Success story of cooperation between Allies and Partners.
During this visit the Secretary General assured that NATO will continue its efforts in fostering a capable Kosovo Security Force:
“A professional and Capable Force. And a source of Regional Stability”.
The Secretary General also highlighted:
“Sixteen years ago, NATO came here in the aftermath of bloodshed and war. Today, Kosovo is a very different place. Peaceful, stable, increasingly prosperous”,
“Under a clear United Nations mandate, our Mission has helped transform Kosovo into a safer place. And it has helped make the Western Balkans more stable.”
and concluded “……..every man and woman who has served under the KFOR Flag has helped to change the course of history in Kosovo. And helped keep our neighbourhood stable. You have made a difference.” January 23, 2015 © NATO
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