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US Marines assist Kosovo Security Force toward NATO interoperability

US Marine Corps News

By 1st Lt. Sarah Burns | April 22, 2015

U.S. Marines with Black Sea Rotational Force continued the legacy of U.S. support to the Kosovo Security Force through three military-to-military engagements April 14-24, 2015.

Approximately 65 KSF members and nine U.S. Marines discussed command-and-control, the combat operations center and company-level tactical planning at Camp Adem Jashari in Pristina.

"I believe our members have obtained the knowledge that is very necessary for us," Lt. Gen. Rrahman Rama, Commander of the KSF said. "Because being a new force and also small in size, the battalion-level will play a key role."

These engagements are vital in Kosovo's effort to NATO interoperability.

"In order to facilitate command and control, we need a functional CoC, and I hope the experience learned from U.S. Marines will serve our positions and be disseminated throughout our force," Rama said.

The workshops ended with applying the information gained into a practical application Command Post Exercise scenario.

"These types of engagements help us to build our partnerships," explained U.S. Marine Cpl. John Martz, operations noncommissioned officer for Black Sea Rotational Force. "It also helps us to understand their capabilities (of the KSF) and see what they can bring to the table."

Kosovo currently has 11 memorandums of agreements with NATO and partner countries and a state partnership with Iowa National Guard. Throughout the past decade, partner countries have held similar engagements both in Kosovo and by hosting KSF members abroad.

"We receive education from different countries and different nations. All of these countries are supporting us in their best values of education," stated the KSF Director of Department for Security Cooperation Col. Ilir Qeriqi. "Now we are trying to standardize these engagements to determine with whom and what we want in best accordance with NATO standards."

The opportunity to benefit from other militaries' best practices and lessons learned allows the KSF to mold into a very capable organization.

"We have come a long way since the beginning of the KSF," said Lt. Liridron Poroshtica, KSF Rapid Reaction Brigade first battalion training officer and engagement attendee. "In the beginning, it was very centralized. It is getting better because of lessons learned from these trainings and engagements, and because we have more senior officers who have attended these seminars or studied abroad, as well as new personnel coming in who are willing to learn and implement it.

Therefore, we have become more flexible and better able to make decisions at the tactical level."

The future is looking bright for the KSF as there are many military-to-military engagements scheduled in the future.

"The support which we are receiving now from Marine Forces Europe is the right support at the right time," Qeriqi said.

"We know the U.S. is our strategic partner and it builds strength," emphasized Rama. "We have started building up the doctrine of our force, always taking into account the U.S. doctrine but adjusting it to our circumstances. This is our mission, this is our duty, and we shall continue with this partnership."

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