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Kosovo Security Force [KSF]

Kosovo's lawmakers have given preliminary approval to legislation expanding the size and competencies of the country's security forces during a session that was boycotted by ethnic Serb representatives. All parties in parliament, except deputies from the Serbian List that represents ethnic Serbs, on October 18 approved three draft laws to upgrade the mandate of the lightly armed Kosovo Security Force (KSF).

Many lawmakers described the proposed changes as a step toward creating a national army -- a move opposed by the ethnic Serb minority in the northern part of the country and neighboring Serbia, which does not recognize Kosovo's 2008 independence. Serbia lost control over Kosovo in 1999 after NATO bombed to stop the killing and expulsion of ethnic Albanians by Serb forces during a two-year counterinsurgency war. Nearly two decades after the end of the conflict, the landlocked Balkan territory of 1.8 million people is still guarded by 4,000 stationed NATO troops.

The laws passed on October 18 envisions the new security force will have 5,000 active soldiers and 3,000 reservists. The current KSF is a 2,500-strong force trained by NATO and tasked with crisis response, civil protection, and ordinance disposal. A NATO official said that any change "in the structure, mandate, and mission of the Kosovo Security Forces is for the Kosovo authorities to decide."

In 2017 President Thaci withdrew draft legislation to broaden the responsibilities of the KSF. Washington and the Western alliance had warned that they would reduce military cooperation if Kosovo converted its security forces into a regular army without changing the constitution. Constitutional changes require the support of two-thirds of all 120 deputies in Kosovo's parliament and two-thirds of the 20 seats reserved for non-Albanian communities. Ethnic Serbs hold 10 of the seats reserved to ethnic non-Albanians.

On 9 July 2013, the North Atlantic Council declared the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) fully operational, meaning that the KSF was fully capable of performing the tasks assigned to it within its mandate. Following the declaration of full operational capability, NATO would continue to support the development of the KSF, at the time totaling 2,200 personnel, through the NATO Liaison and Advisory Team (NLAT), consisting of a mix of approximately 30 military and civilian personnel that would help with the professional development of the KSF, providing advice and support in a variety of areas such as capacity-building and training and leadership.

The Kosovo Security Force [KSF] is a amall, lightly armed security and civil defense force, that is so small and lightly armed that it did not even merit an entry in the 2012 IISS Military Balance. The KSF conducts non-military security functions that are not appropriate for the police. Kosovo, after the declaration of independence on 17th February 2008, established new institutions, including the Ministry for the Kosovo Security Force (MKSF) and Kosovo Security Force (KSF). The Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo entered into force on 15th June 2008 and also the Law on the Ministry for Kosovo Security Force, the Law on the Kosovo Security Force and the Law on Service in the Kosovo security Force have been enacted.

The debate to transform the countrys tiny security force into a full-standing army split the nation in the 08 June 2014 general election. It is unlikely that parliament would overcome objections to create a new military force in the Balkans. Kosovo Serbs spoke with one voice against the establishment of a full-standing army. Members of this community, who lost a bitter interethnic war in 1999 against the nations Albananian population, said a Kosovo army would be a direct threat to their security. We think that the only armed force in Kosovo is NATO, and this shall not change. I must add that in the Balkans, there have been many fights and acts of war () we think it is very dangerous to create a military force of any kind, said Vladeta Kostic, a member of Serbian parliament from Kosovo.

Kosovo already has a small civilian security force established to conduct crisis response and intervene in the case of natural disasters. Kosovar leaders who support the establishment of a full-standing army say that this 2,500-strong force, equipped with rifles and lightweight armoured vehicles, is already the embryo of a national army. Kosovo has an army. It's in a developmental stage. It is evolving. () We are progressively moving towards an armed force, and our ambition is to become a member of NATO, according to Ramush Haradinaj, a senior candidate and former guerilla leader.

The KSF functions under the civilian authority of the Ministry for the Kosovo Security Force and was mentored by KFOR. The Kosovo Security Force is a new, professional, multi-ethnic, lightly armed and uniformed Security Force that is subject to democratic, civilian control. The mission of the KSF is to conduct crisis response operations in Kosovo and abroad; civil protection operations within Kosovo; and to assist the civil authorities in responding to natural disasters and other emergencies. Such duties will include search and rescue operations; explosive ordnance disposal; the control and clearance of hazardous materials; fire-fighting; and other humanitarian assistance tasks. The KSF will represent and protect all the people of Kosovo.

Pursuant to Article 126 of the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, the Kosovo Security Force will serve as a national security force for the Republic of Kosovo and can deploy its members for missions abroad in accordance with its national responsibilities. The Kosovo Security Force shall protect the population and all communities of the Republic of Kosovo, based on the competencies provided by the law. The President of the Republic of Kosovo is the Commander in Chief of the Kosovo Security Force, which will always be under control of the civilian authorities that have been elected in a democratic way.

The Ministry for the Kosovo Security Force (MKSF) is responsible for exercising civilian control over the Kosovo Security Force (KSF), including management and administration. The mission of the MKSF, which is also the highest level Headquarter of the KSF is to formulate, implement, evaluate and develop the policies and activities of the KSF within the framework of democratic governance and in accordance with the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Kosovo. It comprises a mixture of civilian and KSF personnel and is accountable, through the Prime Minister, to the Kosovo Assembly. The mission of the MKSF, which is also the highest level KSF Headquarters, is to formulate, implement, evaluate and develop the policies and activities of the KSF within a framework of democratic governance and in accordance with the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Kosovo.

The Ministry for the KSF is led by the Minister, who is responsible for overall control and administration of MKSF. He is also member of Kosovo Security Council (KSC). The Minister has two deputies and up to six political advisors, who can get specific tasks delegated by minister. Except the Ministers Cabinet, Public Relations Office and KSF Inspectorate, which directly report to the Minister, other departaments of the Ministry work through the General Secretary and KSF Commander.

On 04 August 2008 the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Mr. Hashim Thaqi, nominated Mr. Fehmi Mujota as the first Minister for the Kosovo Security Force. Kosovo's leadership did a good job in appointing the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) minister, Fehmi Mujota, a former parliamentarian who has worked well with the NATO civilian team helping to put together the KSF ministry and the KFOR-led military group leading the effort on KSF standup and selection of security force personnel.

Integration into Euro-Atlantic structures is one of the key objectives of Kosovo and the MKSF as well. In order to reach this crucial objective, the Ministry is closely cooperating with NATO member countries and KFOR. The main purpose of this international cooperation is to enable Kosovo and the KSF to participate in regional and international security organizations. The financial, training and advisory support of NATO and other countries is very important for the stand-up and development of MKSF and KSF. The MKSF aims to establish the KSF in line with NATOs standards, therefore, the continuous support and cooperation are very crucial.

The KSF has chosen weapons and equipment so that it is to the same standard as NATO member countries. The equipment of the KSF appears to be limited to some light trucks, and the only weapon in evidence is the German-made G36 rifle. Developed by Heckler & Koch in the mid-1990s, the 5.56mm G36 is a true modular weapon system made almost entirely of a tough, carbon-fiber reinforced-polymer and uses a simple, clean-shooting, self-regulating operating rod gas system. A lightweight weapon, the G36 can be configured as a rifle, compact carbine, carbine, or light support variant that delivers high performance with extremely low maintenance Exhaustively tested and currently fielded with the German, Spanish, and Greek Armed Forces, the G36 is also used by many international law enforcement agencies and other military customers.

The KSF Commander is subordinated to the Minister and exercises full command over the KSF, including the reserve component. The KSF Commander is the key advisor to the President and Prime Minister of Kosovo, Kosovo Security Council and KSF Minister for the issues related to the KSF. He is also a member of the Kosovo Security Council.

The Land Forces Command controls, commands, recruits, trains, equips and maintains its subordinate units within territory of Kosovo and abroad. Land Forces Command, through the Ministry for the KSF, provides forces in order to support its mission in close cooperation with other institutions in Kosovo as directed. It coordinates all the capacities, resources and activities of the Operational Support Brigade, the Rapid Reaction Brigade and the Training and Doctrine Command.

The Operational Support Brigade (OSB), with about 800 troops, provides civil protection, logistics and engineering capacities, as well as support services for other units of KSF. The OSB is able to activate units to respond to any crisis and provides support to the civilian authorities in Kosovo, as well as joint operations abroad. The Rapid Reaction Brigade (RRB), with about 1,100 troops, enables, trains, equips, maintains and commands its subordinate battalions, such as crisis response units, as well as supports and increase basic capacities of KSF. It also supports civilian authorities in Kosovo for joint operations abroad. Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) is responsible to conduct basic, specialized, leading and collective training for active and reserve personnel of KSF. TRADOC, in cooperation and coordination with the Ministry for the KSF, develops doctrine, documents and basic and final regulations, as well as maintains the Archive of Doctrine and other publications.

Approved budget for the Ministry of KSF according to the Law no. 04/L-029 for the year of 2012 was 35,801,832. According to the law, the Kosovo Security Force is foreseen to have up to 2500 uniformed active members and 800 reservists. Over 1400 officers and soldiers were recruited from the former Kosovo Protection Corps, with the other part recruited directly from the civil society. The recruitment policies have always respected the criteria of selection boards by selecting the best and most proficient applicants. A Selection Board has already selected the first contingent of the reservists.

KSF is based in nine locations (barracks) across the whole of Kosovo. Most of these barracks needed to be reconstructed or repaired and there is a need to construct new barracks as well. Some of the renovation and construction projects are funded by the NATO Trust Fund and implemented by local contractors. All important construction was completed during 2012. The Ministry for the KSF is funding some infrastructure projects, which will increase capabilities of the KSF in order to accomplish their mission.

NATO Membership

According to Kosovo's president, Fatmir Sejdiu, the KSF is being formed with the long-term goals of NATO integration in mind. "The process is already underway, and within a year the new security force of Kosovo will be established under the NATO standards," he said in April 2008.

The United States will help Kosovo join the European Union and NATO, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said following talks with Kosovan Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in Washington 05 April 2012. I believe strongly in Kosovos independence and territorial integrity and in its aspiration to become a full partner in the international community and a member of the European Union, and eventually, NATO, Clinton said. The United States will continue to support Kosovo and work with the European Union to resolve the outstanding issues that exist between Kosovo and Serbia, she added.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton promised U.S. backing for Kosovos drive to join the European Union and NATO. Speaking in Pristina 31 October 2012, Clinton said normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia is key to Kosovos entry into the EU and NATO. I urge Kosovos leaders to continue to carry out negotiations [with Serbia] in good faith. Certainly, addressing the concerns of the Kosovo Serbs will be critical. I will meet with a group of ethnic Serb returnees later today, and will convey Americas commitment to helping build a future in Kosovo and throughout the region where all people of all backgrounds have a chance to succeed, she said.




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