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.
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.
Interview with 1LT Catherine M. Bean, KFOR Regional Command East Public Affairs Officer, conducted by Editor in Chief.
Q 1: Over the last two decades Virginia Army National Guard has been the vital components of the NATO-led operation KFOR with its ongoing support and deployment to Kosovo.
Can you brief us about the current mission, and the roles that Virginia National Guard is holding in KFOR RC-East? And how the U.S Army battalion leads the multinational forces in Kosovo?
1LT Catherine M. Bean: The 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 29th Infantry Division, Virginia National Guard is the commanding unit of Kosovo Forces, or KFOR, Regional Command-East. Regional Command-East is one of two regional commands subordinate to KFOR Headquarters. Regional Command-East’s mission continues to support of the overall mission of KFOR and the United Nations mandate that guides KFOR. Regional Command-East remains committed, together with our partners, to provide a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all people and communities in Kosovo.
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.
Life, Liberty, and the PursuitBy: 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 orKFOR.
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.
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.
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).
Sources: KFOR Public Affairs/EULEX/U.S Army Europe
NATO will continue its support for KFOR mission
On September 12, during an official meeting of Deputy Secretary General Vershbow with Minister ofForeign Affairsand 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.”
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