PANCEVO, Serbia - A three-day tailor-made course for 22 officers of the Serbian Armed Forces took place at the military barracks in Pancevo.
Through interactive coursework and workshops, seven lecturers – officers from Allied Joint Force Command Naples – exchanged ideas and experiences with their Serbian counterparts and gave instructions to SAF officers on the scope and importance of understanding the different forms and approaches regarding counterinsurgency operations and civil-military cooperation operations. Participants covered a wide range of topics, focusing on information operations, comprehensive approach, and also dealing with military topics, such as countering improvised explosive devices and engagement of Special Forces in counterinsurgency operations.
Underlining the importance and benefits of this cooperation, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Franz said "the training program is developed in a way that enables certain military units and in some cases military systems of partner countries to meet NATO standards of interoperability. This means that NATO forces and partner countries can operate together in missions and operations across the globe, as Serbia does now. For example, thanks to the OCC process, certain units of the Serbian Armed Forces can easily integrate into ongoing operations."
Lecturer from Joint Force Command Naples with SAF Officers at the military barracks in Pancevo
As a direct result of this, the number of peacekeeping troops contributed by partner countries has significantly increased, especially in UN-led missions, as the UN recognises NATO’s added value in boosting the level of interoperability amongst international forces. NATO’s Operational Capabilities Concept is a process, it is a long-term engagement, our work is never finished, new recruits who need to be trained are coming, and NATO evaluation status needs to be reassessed after two years.”
He also reiterated that NATO fully respects Serbia’s neutrality and very highly appreciates the country’s contribution to EU-led and UN-led peacekeeping operations.
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Franz said he is honored to be in Serbia as a representative of NATO and for being given the opportunity to exchange ideas with Serbian officers, who have proven to be highly cooperative and able to take in new knowledge with ease, in addition to being very responsible and participating actively throughout the trainings.