Canadian Armed Forces members support NATO peace and stability operations in Kosovo
Article / October 28, 2016
By: Ashley Black
At the Joint Logistics Operation Center in Pristina, Kosovo, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members are playing an important role in making sure that NATO operations run smoothly. This support to NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR), known as Operation KOBOLD, is the CAF’s contribution to the maintenance of a safe and secure environment in Kosovo.
Currently, the five CAF members deployed on Op KOBOLD perform logistics and headquarters support functions for KFOR. They work in the Joint Logistics Operation Center in Pristina, Kosovo.
“We’re responsible for engineering and transportation works, as well as explosive ordnance disposal,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Michel Lefebvre, the chief of the NATO Joint Logistics Operation Center and the Commanding Officer of Operation KOBOLD. “We provide training for explosive ordnance disposal. We also do force protection upgrades.”
The deployed CAF members have assisted in projects such as rebuilding bridges, clearing mines in the mountains, general transportation, and logistics operations.
KFOR assisted in flood disaster relief operations after flash flooding occurred in early August. “The Joint Logistics Operation Center led the flood relief efforts by helping with the planning, the transportation of troops, and cleaning up after the floods,” said LCol Lefebvre.
The operational demands haven’t always been easy, but a lot of progress has been made during Op KOBOLD, explained Major Glenys Bussler, the Deputy at the Joint Logistics Operation Center. “There were a number of challenges that were very unique from a Canadian point of view,” she said, “but the capabilities of the Kosovo Police and Kosovo Security Force have improved greatly and we are the second or third responder for most situations.”
The mission has been very rewarding for the deployed CAF members. The CAF works alongside 30 other nations in KFOR to support the development of a stable Kosovo. The Deputy of the Joint Logistics Operation Center said she has thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working with other members of the KFOR.
“Our cooperation and comradery is outstanding,” said Major Bussler. “I feel that I have a much better appreciation for the view of others. I have immense respect for my international colleagues. The opportunity to represent Canada has also been a privilege, and I am very proud to say that Canadians have a well-earned reputation of being extremely competent and hard working within the international community.”
Through this international cooperation, the Kosovo Force has seen much progress in recent years. One of KFOR’s major goals was to help develop a capable Kosovo Security Force. In 2013, NATO declared that the Kosovo Security Force is at full operational capability. Since then, KFOR continues to work on its current mandate to maintain a safe and secure environment in Kosovo and freedom of movement for all.
“Kosovo is fairly stable, though it remains fragile. I believe KFOR is ensuring peace here and helping things move forward. Kosovo is making gains; we saw them participate in the Olympics for the first time. They have been recognized by multiple federations in Europe. There are a lot of ways in which Kosovo is getting better,” said LCol Lefebvre.
There will be a change of command of Operation KOBOLD at the end of October.
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