- Change of Command on the airport in Pristina.
Since October 1999, the Swiss Armed Forces have been involved in Kosovo in the international Kosovo Force (KFOR) peace support mission with SWISSCOY– short for Swiss company. SWISSCOY is composed of up to 235 voluntary military persons that are armed for self defence with pistols, assault rifles and riot agent dispensers.
The deployment of SWISSCOY dates back to the Federal Council’s decision on 23 June 1999 to participate in KFOR on the basis of UN Resolution 1244. In spring 2014, the Parliament approved a further extension of the mandate until the end of 2017. The 2015 budget comprises 44.2 million francs. Colonel GS Pacal Eggen is currently serving as Swiss national contingent commander (NCC) for the area of operations.
The positive development of the security situation in Kosovo has led to changes in KFOR structures and a step-by-step reduction in the number of security elements. While in the beginning, emergency aid and reconstruction after the war were the focus of the mission, current attention is on monitoring the development of the country. To meet the changed requirements the SWISSCOY contingent is taking on new tasks.
On 1 January 2012, a Swiss colonel assumed command of Joint Regional Detachment North (JRD North) and reports directly to the commander of KFOR. The EOD team (explosive ordnance disposal) and the liaison and monitoring teams (LMT) have been assigned to SWISSCOY since April 2010. The tasks of the LMTs consist in collecting information by conversing with the people and the authorities and passing these on to the KFOR commander who uses these reports, amongst other, as a basis for operational decisions. A local interpreter always accompanies the LMTs. The originally two LMTs were increased to four by November 2010. Two LMTs are in the south and are living in private houses in Malishevo and Prizren. Two other LMTs are stationed at Camp Novo Selo, south of Mitrovica and operate in various assigned areas.
In accordance with its mandate SWISSCOY fulfils both multi-national and national tasks. Its major part fulfils multi-national services as listed below and is for this purpose assigned to other KFOR organisations for operational cooperation:
- Transport platoon with special vehicles
- Engineer platoon in charge of general construction projects of KFOR
- Liaison and monitoring teams (LMTs) at four locations
- Staff officers at HQ KFOR and joint regional detachment (JRD) levels
- International Military Police (IMP)
- Explosive ordnance disposal team (EOD)
- Medical team
- Air force detachment with Cougar helicopter. The air force detachment is now assigned to KFOR headquarters and stationed at Camp Bondsteel.
The other part of SWISSCOY fulfils both purely national and bi-national tasks on the basis of a technical agreement with partners. These include the NCC staff, the national support element (NSE) for resupply and return tasks as well as the support company. A well organised and efficient support company is required to enable the performance of operational SWISSCOY elements.
Purely national logistic services, contingent organisation as well as personnel and disciplinary punishment issues are exclusively under the command of the NCC.
Depending on their function, SWISSCOY members have been stationed at three different camps since the summer of 2012. The staff, the military police force, the EOD team, SWIC as well as some of the signal corps and parts of the medical team are located at KFOR headquarters in Pristina. The support company, the transport platoon, the engineer platoon as well as some of the signal corps and parts of the medical team are stationed at the field camp in Prizren. The JRD-N is based in the camp Novo Selo just south of Mitrovica.
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Published at: 06.02.2015 | Size: 3006 Kb | Type: PDF