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EXCELLENT SERBIAN ARMY ENGINEERS


German Lt. Col. Bernard from NATO Command in Izmir talks about exquisite experience with members of the Serbian Armed Forces

18 October 2019, Bujanovac (Serbia) - Another unit of the Serbian Armed Forces has shown that it is fully prepared to participate in demanding international peacekeeping missions. Their knowledge, readiness and skills were evaluated by a team of NATO experts (together with their Serbian counterparts), including German Army Lt. Col. Holger Bernard. He spent a week at the “Jug” base near the southern Serbian town of Bujanovac, where a general-purpose engineering company declared for participation in multinational operations was evaluated in accordance with the Operational Capabilities Concept. From what he has seen, he said he would like to come to Serbia again, noting that Serbian engineers justly received the highest marks and that he had the opportunity to see for himself why Serbian peacekeepers are well-known abroad.

In accordance with the exercise scenario, a Company from the 310th Engineering Battalion carried out complex tasks specific to multinational operations, such as the construction of camps, shelters and covers, the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges, the provision of humanitarian aid convoys, and the aeromedical evacuation of injured and ill persons.

Demonstration of the medical evacuation
This form of cooperation benefits Serbia and the international reputation of its armed forces - German Army Lt. Col. Bernard Holger

“The tasks are tailored to test the ability of this company to carry them out together with engineering companies from other countries, which are also trained and certified in their respective armed forces for the same purpose. For example, these officers clearly demonstrated that, in a team with colleagues from other parts of the world, they could help the wounded or assist in other difficult situations. They also demonstrated the ability to remediate a road or bridge a river under similar conditions”, Lt. Col. Bernard said in an interview with Serbian journalists.

The impression of the whole NATO team in Bujanovac is that the dedication, knowledge and ability of the officers and commanders of the Serbian Armed Forces result in excellence. "This evaluation has shown that together we are progressing and learning from each other, which makes us safer. In the past few days, we have again seen a practical example of why Serbia-NATO partnership is mutually beneficial, "Holger said.

German Army Lt. Col. Bernard Holger

This form of cooperation benefits Serbia and the international reputation of its armed forces, as EU and UN peacekeeping missions use NATO standards in their operations around the globe. It has now been confirmed that this engineering company of the Serbian Armed Forces can apply the knowledge gained by adopting NATO standards in a multinational environment. Serbia and NATO are working together to make such engagement as efficient and secure as possible.

Working hand in hand – Serbia and NATO experts and personnel.

Lt. Col. Holger: "We learn from each other and progress together!"

"I am pleased to say that this engineering company has received excellent grades. But grades are used here for motivation only. It is much more important whether you are ready or not, because the operations they are preparing for are challenging and complicated. I would like to mention once again that this unit is ready for the most demanding tasks that can be assigned to it in the future,” concluded the German Lieutenant Colonel.

As a result of the Operational Capabilities Concept – Evaluation and Feedback program, prior to this, three units of the Serbian Armed Forces have been certified as fully trained to partake in international peacekeeping missions. This mechanism serves as an important framework for joint exercises and different types of training with Serbia and NATO members. It is one of the many successful cooperation mechanisms that have been developed between Serbia and NATO and contributes to strengthening the capabilities of the Serbian Armed Forces.

Tasks completed and high level of professionalism; The “Jug” base in southern Serbia

What is the Operational Capabilities Concept?

The Operational Capabilities Concept (OCC) is a Partnership for Peace program mechanism through which training and assessment of declared units according to the NATO standards is performed. This mechanism, apart from building military capabilities, significantly contributes to the establishment of peacetime forms of co-operation, increases mutual trust and is an important framework for conducting joint exercises and training with NATO members. The Serbian Ministry of Defence describes the OCC as one of the most measurable, visible and successful mechanisms of cooperation.

What is the Partnership for Peace program?

The Partnership for Peace is a program of practical bilateral cooperation between individual partner countries and NATO. The program enables partners to build an individual relationship with NATO by choosing their own priority areas of cooperation. The purpose of the Partnership for Peace is to increase stability, reduce threats to peace and strengthen security relations between NATO and non-NATO countries. Currently, 21 countries are partaking in the Program.

Is Serbia participating in NATO-led peacekeeping missions?

No, but with the implementation of NATO standards (recognized by the UN and the EU), Serbia is part of numerous international missions led by the United Nations and the European Union. Serbia is currently making the largest regional contribution to UN missions and is the seventh in Europe. Serbia's significant contribution is greatly appreciated internationally, and Serbian peacekeepers are well known.

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