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New course for ESS

By 1Lt. Kristoffer Egeberg
First published in
SFOR Informer#106, February 7, 2001

Sarajevo - The Engineering Support Services (ESS) is reorganising. The department provides SFOR engineering support, and was adopted from the UN when NATO came in to the theatre.
Now it will be split in two, giving the HQ Commandant full control of maintenance, and the rest a more goal-seeking organisation named Engineering Support Unit (ESU).
"The part which will go over to the HQ Commandant is the Public Works Unit. This unit does all maintenance on SFOR HQ sites. This will give the HQ Commandant overall control over maintenance projects, which he already is responsible for," said acting chief of the ESS Rob Jones.
The HQ commandant, who has had a very small unit at his disposal, will now have a larger unit under his direction to provide maintenance for HQ Buildings, accommodation blocks, and SFOR HQ facilities at Tito Barracks.
Jones has been working with theatre engineering since UN deployed engineers to the UNPROFOR mission. In January 1996 parts of this structure was adopted by NATO and IFOR, called it ESS and made it a part of HQ ACE Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC). It has had the same structure up until now. Among the ESS's recent tasks are the construction of SFOR HQ at Butmir, the closure of Parliament, Residency, parts of Tito Barracks and the withdrawal from the Ilidza Complex. Also the relocation of the Material Management Unit (MMU) from Split to Ploce has been an important task. The MMU, which is redesigned as the Balkans strategic bridging reserve, is a part of the ESS, and will go on as a part of ESU.
"The new ESU will be able to concentrate fully on theatre-wide engineering projects tasked by CJ Engineers (Engineer Branch), having no conflicts of interest and priority toward the maintenance side we have been tasked with until now," Jones said. But the ESU will continue maintenance of the "Bozina" light mine flails, given to the Entity Armed Forces by Norway and SFOR to support mine-clearance.
"Some workers will have to change their job because of the change and that saddens me. But at the same time, I think it's good to separate the two lines of work. This gives us a basic structure to work with," he said.
The new organisation will have a working force of 49 after 27 workers have been transferred to the HQ Commandant.
Upcoming tasks are the construction of the Hazardous Waste Disposal Area at Butmir, building new communication extensions out to the MND HQ's, installing fire-depression equipment in all HQ communication rooms and installing a centralised fire-alarm panel at the fire station.
Although the organisation-changes are big, and that at the same time the name changes, Jones emphasised that the service given to their customers will not change.
"We have had a very good relationship with the HQ Commandant, and what both offices want is that the handover becomes invisible. No one should notice the difference," he said. The ESU will still be found were the ESS was, beside the HQ Commandant building 103 at Butmir.

Related links: SFOR at Work
Restructuring and Reserves