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CIMIC in the early phases of the KFOR mission in Kosovo

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CIMIC in the early phases of the KFOR mission in Kosovo

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Samenvatting

In 1999 the Gele Rijders (Yellow Riders), the traditional name for the soldiers of 11 Battalion Horse Artillery, and with them soldiers, hussars, and gunners of numerous other units, were deployed to the municipality of Orahovac in Kosovo. In the evaluation report the Secretary of Defence sent to Parliament special attention is given to the extraordinary task that KFOR carried out in the early phases of the mission: In practice KFOR has executed military rule for a period of time. Restoring law and order has been the most characteristic part of the activities of KFOR. Like other KFOR units that initially entered Kosovo, the Battalion was faced with a situation which demanded action in many different ways. What it boiled down to was that KFOR temporarily took on administrative or government tasks for as long as it took international organisations (in particular, of course, the UN interim government) to take them over.Military rule in the sense of the Dutch Law of War (Oorlogswet Nederland) evokes associations with World War II as well as with the police actions in the former Netherlands EastIndies. This is amply demonstrated by the Van Dale Dictionary definition of Military Rule as legal authority over the civilian society in the hands of the military, known as the temporary highest authority immediately after the liberation in 1945. The military rule under General Kruls that was established in the liberated parts of the Netherlands from 1944 onwards was aimed at the restoration of law and order. In the absence of a government this military rule could (and had to) perform acts of government. In this specific case military rule was placedabove the lower bodies of civilian authority (provincial, municipal and water controlauthorities).3 The authorities of military rule can be very broad indeed and are only justified in extreme situations. In the reality of KFOR-1 this discussion was not really the issue of the day. Originally, the Gele Rijders were to go as a pure fire support unit. Consequently, no CIMIC activities were foreseen at all and so no CIMIC personnel had been allocated. Only later, in the planning process, the need for CIMIC arose. In the end, two artillery officers were appointed as CIMIC officers. The employment of specialists did not even come up at all. In the light of the air campaign and the many uncertainties of the overall situation, it wasunderstandable that CIMIC was not a major priority. Another reason why the ArtilleryBattalion was somewhat wrong-footed with regard to CIMIC was the fact that it was (is?) more or less taken for granted that CIMIC is something for specialists. Recently the importance of and the attention for CIMIC has increased sharply. The establishment of the CIMIC Group North is a good example of this. CIMIC covers a very wide area , including matters of administration, civil infrastructure, economic and commercial activities, humanitarian relief and cultural affairs. The importance of CIMIC, therefore, is beyond question. Modern military operations require a broad approach and CIMIC is an integral part of them. The author has focussed on only two aspects of the present thoughts on CIMIC. The lessons to be learned from the experiences of the mission of the Gele Rijders may not apply to other missions, as every mission has its unique characteristics. Nevertheless, there are some lessonsof a more general nature.The first focal point concerns the perception of CIMIC in terms of specialists. Of course specialists are necessary; it could not be otherwise in such a broad profession. However, there is also a need for a broader view on CIMIC, or, in other words, an embedding of civilian aspects in the military decision making procedures. The interaction with the population and the international and non-governmental organisations is too important to be left solely to the specialists. The second theme in this contribution is that CIMIC must also be a way of thinking. Just as every soldier must be capable of defending himself of herself, or acting adequately in NBC circumstances, he or she should be able to do his/her bit in the more civilian aspects of anoperation. For the commander at all levels thinking about civilian aspects of an operation should be as self-evident as the principles of combat.

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OrganisatieNederlandse Defensie Academie
Gepubliceerd inCivil-military cooperation : a marriage of reason Royal Netherlands Military Academy, Breda, Vol. 2002, Pagina's: 117-128
Jaar2002
TypeBoekdeel
TaalEngels

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