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The Multinational Sites Control Unit

By 1Lt Javier Donesteve
First published in
SFOR Informer#104, January 10, 2001

Sarajevo- In Annex 1A, Article 6 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace, better known as the Dayton Peace Agreement, it was accepted that “The Parties understand and agree that in carrying out its responsibilities, the IFOR (now SFOR) shall have the unimpeded right to observe, monitor, and inspect any Forces, facility or activity in Bosnia and Hercegovina that the IFOR believes may have military capability”. The GFAP also established that an International Force (today called SFOR) would be deployed in BiH for contributing to the peace efforts.
SFOR HQ has a branch, JMA (Joint Military Affairs) in charge of following compliance with the military aspects of the agreement and liaison with the Parties.
One of the tasks of the JMA is overseeing the inspection of Military Sites, to control the weapons, ammunition and equipment of the Entity Armed Forces.
Each of the three SFOR Multinational Divisions carries out this mission in their own Areas of Responsibility (AoR). But, while in MND-North and -SW this task is carried out by the Battle Groups, in 1998 MND-SE created a specialised inspections unit to discharge the Battlegroups of this responsibility. It is called the Multinational Sites Control Unit (UMCS).
The UMCS is commanded by a Spanish Major with a German Deputy Commander, at present, respectively, Major Jose Galvez and Major Klaus Frey. Personnel come from the four main main contributing nations of MND SE: France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The organisation includes a headquarters with three teams (Administration, Documentation, and Technical Advisory) and five Inspection Teams, each of them composed of personnel from two nationalities, two officers, two NCOs and two corporals/privates, plus an interpreter.
"And it works" says Captain Rubio, Spanish Army, Team 1 Commander. "The other MND's are organising similar units, and we are going to train them. It's a specialised job. Our Battle Groups have other duties".
The Unit controls more than one hundred sites located in the Divisional area. Their tool is the "Dare Programme" a software database where all inspection results are listed. "Everything must be justified. Any discrepancy means a “does not conform” appears in the final report of the inspection. This carries sanctions, normally a confiscation" says Capt. Luis M. Torres, Spanish Army, Team 2 Commander. "But failed inspections are very unusual, about a three percent. The Entities are very concerned about it. They are usually very accurate and helpful".
Today Team 2 has a confiscation task in Knezina, RS, in the Area of Responsibility of the Italian Battlegroup. "On the last inspection here, there were one hundred cartridges too many," explained Lieutenant Stefano Proietti, Italian Army. After the failed report, the confiscation was requested.
A squad of Italian Mountain Troops is waiting for Team 2. "The confiscation must be carried out by the Battle Group. We are just mediators in this task" says WO1 Salvador Tarin, Spanish Army. "This will take a few minutes only. But behind this, there are many hours of admin work."
A VRS V Corps Liaison Officer receives the Team. Everything happens very fast: The arsenal is opened, and the ammunition handed over. Capt. Torres and the VRS Lieutenant sign the forms helped by the interpreter, Vladimiro Perez, an ex-Spanish legionnaire. The task is over. The information about the site will be analysed and updated, and used for future inspections. It is a job based on attention to detail - counting down to the last bullet if necessary.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: France, Italy , Spain, Germany
SFOR at Work