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Inspection team shares its experience

By 1Lt. Francois Xavier Miller
First published in
SFOR Informer#105, January 24, 2001

Ljuta - January 11, the Multinational Sites Control Unit (UMCS) carried out a slightly out of the ordinary visit. The mission, as much as the site itself, presented exceptional features.
UMCS is an unique structure of MND-SE (editor's note. SFOR Informer, n°104 p.4) which releases battle groups from their weapons storage sites control duties. This specialisation enables a unity of methods and means, and it centralises data collected after each inspection.
Since the previous day, 17 trainees coming from the two other Divisions and from Joint Military Affairs (JMA), came along to share the experience acquired jointly by Germans, Spaniards, French and Italians. The previous day in Mostar an explanation for the principles, means and methods of UMCS had been given. MND-SE guests were now going to see how inspectors are used to working in the field.
The site of Ljuta is located north of Mostar, in a steep valley near Konjic. It houses the 3rd battalion of the 401th Brigade of the Federation of BiH Armed Forces. Its buildings spread out over the whole valley, and its warehouses keep several brigade’s worth of stock. Considering the extent of the site, the five inspection teams have had to regroup. "One team takes the lead of the visit and the others are at its disposal, explained French Maj. Michel Vives. They divided the buildings to be inspected among themselves, and, if the case arises, two teams for a bigger building."
German Capt. Christian Göttfert finished the joint briefing with Bosnian liaison officers and gave his orders. The demonstrative teaching was going to enable trainees from other SFOR divsions to apprecite the UMCS methods. "There are inventory lists for each room, and we count down to the last item. Discrepancies are compared to the in & out bills we were given, said Maj. Vives.
This know-how hinges on substantial knowledge of equipement - that has to be identified - and on a thorough documentary preparation. "There are some things we are learning which we will consider applying. The way they standardize is especially interesting," admitted Canadian Capt. Dick Cruickshank, from MND-SW. "They also have a very complete database with lots of people doing the preparation work."
UMCS is also used to communicating very accurate specifications on the way to store weapons and ammunition to the Entity Armed Forces. Ammunition stores must be clean, with no electric lighting - a spark could have explosive consequencies - and be provided with a storage poster displayed on the wall, wire netting on windows, and a fire safety kit for each building.
"I like what they do. Their inspections are organised at a division level, I like the consistency, the same team doing it," said American Maj. Jay Hallam, from Tuzla. "When a multinational unit shows up at a weapons storage site, it shows the EAF a different group of people working together in one team, that's good."

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