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    U.S. Commander: Deterrent Presence brings adjustments to Kosovo Forces

    U.S. Commander: Deterrent Presence Brings Adjustments to Kosovo Forces

    Photo By Sgt. Joshua Dodds | A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter touches down as Soldiers of Charlie Company, 1-144th...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Joshua Dodds 

    116th Public Affairs Detachment

    CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo -- Changes are taking place for NATO forces in Kosovo, changes largely brought on by the successes and progress made over time by the people and Institutions in Kosovo.

    These changes, recognized as "Deterrent Presence," will be reflected in force size, structure and operational capability, three aspects of Kosovo Forces (KFOR) that Multi-National Task Force-East‟s commanding general says reflect positively on how the security situation in Kosovo has progressed over time.

    "It‟s an ongoing process that you would see in any successful mission, and that‟s how this should be viewed," Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann said. "In 1999, there were over 50,000 Soldiers here, there were capabilities here that we no longer need anymore. This is just another step along that continuum."

    By Feb. 1, military forces throughout Kosovo will be adjusted to an estimated total force size of 10,000. At that time, all five Multi-National Task Forces will be renamed to Multi-National Battle Groups.

    "It is a point in time, a way to make it clear to everyone that we are changing the way we‟re doing business," Dohrmann said. "The intent behind the battle group is that it will be a more
    agile, flexible force, so that if we are needed as a third responder to the Kosovo Police and European Rule of Law in Kosovo, we can respond anywhere in a rapid manner to assist those first and second responders. These battle group forces will be crowd- and riot-control capable. With our helicopters and other assets, we can get them anywhere very quickly to take care of any situation that may require us to engage."

    This is not the first time KFOR has gone through a restructuring. What began as Multi-National Brigades evolved into the Multi-National Task Force structures of today. Further progress made by the Institutions in Kosovo such as the Kosovo Police, led to further restructuring of military forces.

    "[The restructuring] is based on the security situation here in Kosovo," Dohrmann said. "An assessment is done off that. The North Atlantic Council takes a look at that assessment and makes decisions as far as what is the appropriate force structure for today‟s mission."

    One of those assessments is what led MNTF-E, which comprises about 1,300 U.S. and 800 Coalition Soldiers, to begin some of its own planning for Deterrent Presence, going back as far as mobilization training in Camp Atterbury, Ind.

    Col. Bob Fode, deputy commander -maneuver, said, while some of the planning was done by KFOR 12 headquarters leadership, some was dictated by higher commands. Because of that, he said, some changes are as of yet unforeseen.

    "We have to learn to adapt, overcome and be flexible," Fode said. "There will be changes. What are they going to be? That will depend on information received by us and other players on the ground, like NAC, like NATO.

    "There are going to be Soldiers that get re-missioned to do other things, Kosovo-wide operations and serving as a tactical reserve," Fode added.

    Dohrmann said that because of the increased capability of the Institutions in Kosovo, day-to-day security of the municipalities is being handled by the Kosovo Police.

    "That allows KFOR to shape our mission and have this reactionary reserve force capable of serving as that third responder, if needed," he said.

    One Team, Working Together

    Although the overall KFOR structure will be adjusted, the size of MNTF-E, soon to be MNBG-E, shouldn‟t change, as its troop numbers are already reflected in the 10,000-troop number. So while some roles may adjust under the Deterrent Presence posture, the U.S. Soldiers that trained together for months before the mobilization will continue to work together as the mission evolves.

    In order to reach this milestone, military and civilian leaders in Kosovo had to answer the question of "What is the security situation on the ground?"

    "We don‟t need as many uniformed NATO forces because of the increased capability of the KP," Dohrmann said. "So again, it‟s a natural evolution of a successful mission. We are just going through a transitional period here in 2010, like we have in the past, reducing what has been in the past a number of 50,000-plus to what will be approximately 10,000 now Feb. 1."

    That number will be maintained until further decisions are made based off future security assessments. In other words, to further adjust the number of Soldiers in Kosovo, the North Atlantic Council would have to re-examine how secure Kosovo has or will become.

    Maximizing Potential

    "There is a change as we move into Deterrent Presence," Dohrmann said. "What you‟ll see is fewer patrols in sector. What we‟re looking at is, while it‟s a adjusted force —from 15,000 to 10,000 — we‟re increasing our capability to react to anything, anywhere in Kosovo if there is any sort of civil unrest or something that we need to get involved in as a third responder behind, or in support of, the Kosovo Police or EULEX."

    Because the day-to-day security in the municipalities is being handled so well by the police, KFOR has the ability to adjust and serve as a reactionary reserve force capable of serving as a third responder.

    "Our abilities have not been degraded," Fode said. "I heard a lot when I deployed the first time: 'We are light, lean and lethal.' What does that mean? Bottom line, that means we are more agile, we are more mobile, we are more flexible. We have the ability to respond to any events on the ground — anywhere in Kosovo — to make sure we take care of the safe and secure environment and ensure the freedom of movement for the citizens in Kosovo."

    The potential to be a fully-capable third responder is reached by training for any possible event. Recently, MNTF-E has done just that, participating in multi-national training events like the Crowd-Riot-Control training exercise, as well as Quick Reaction Force training validations.

    "As we continue the path of Deterrent Presence, we will look to have a much more aggressive training regimen within Multi-National Battle Group-East," Dohrmann said. "Like everything else we‟re doing right now, we‟ll do this in a transparent manner so that it will be a very visible display of KFOR‟s capability to take care of circumstances of civil unrest or other events that require our intervention, but we will clearly show to the people in Kosovo that we will be there if we‟re needed."

    Another change to the force structure is the removal of the Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Although sending the BFVs back home was not part of MNTF-E assuming the Deterrent Presence posture, it is an adjustment that coincides with the change, reflecting how much the security situation in Kosovo has improved. The removal of equipment from the force structure isn‟t unprecedented, as early KFOR rotations had Apache helicopters, which were phased out from KFOR as they were no longer needed.

    "We may not be there every day patrolling their streets like we were two or four years ago," Dohrmann said. "But if there is a problem somewhere we‟ll have the agility and the training to get there very quickly to address whatever the situation is.

    "Although [Kosovo Forces] will be shaping our size, we will actually be able to increase our capability to respond to cases of civil unrest throughout Kosovo," Dohrmann said. "What I mean by that is — because of the capability of the Kosovo Police — I don‟t need to have Soldiers out patrolling on a daily basis throughout the municipalities. The KP has that under control. When I bring those Soldiers back on Camp Bondsteel, I can form them into a larger reserve force that can train for Kosovo-wide operations, so that if there is any civil unrest we have a trained reserve force — a larger reserve force than we had under our previous operational framework — to respond anywhere in Kosovo if we are needed as a third responder to either the Kosovo Police or EULEX."

    A Success Story
    The change to Deterrent Presence is, in itself, a reflection of how much progress has been made by the people and Institutions in Kosovo since 1999. As organizations and leaders emerge to take on more responsibilities within Kosovo, KFOR can gradually adjust its footprint here.

    "There‟s no doubt that our predecessors set the groundwork for what we‟re doing today," Fode said. "Without them doing excellent work there‟s no way we‟d be where we‟re at today. We‟re here to move it one step further than where KFOR 11 had it. We will set our successors up for taking it beyond where we can take it -- that is progress."

    "The reason why we are able to continue to become more agile, more mobile, more flexible is because the Institutions in Kosovo have proven their capabilities," he added. "With the KP or the Kosovo Border Police, from 1999 to today, they have demonstrated their capabilities as a police force."

    "There are a lot of folks who‟ve worked very hard over the last ten years to get us to this point," Dohrmann said. "A lot of people share in the success, not the least in which being the Institutions in Kosovo.

    "They have shown the capability to provide security for the citizens in Kosovo," he continued. "Elections were held in Kosovo not too long ago — KFOR was a third responder in those elections, and MNTF-E did not have to respond to a single incident of criminal activity or civil unrest — it was all handled by the Kosovo Police. So that‟s a success story for the people in Kosovo, and a success story for KFOR, too."



    Date Taken: 01.21.2010
    Date Posted: 01.21.2010 11:19
    Story ID: 44224
    Location: CAMP BONDSTEEL, ZZ 

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