CIMIC Course, a co-operative effort
Maj. Pellumb Elezi
First published in
SFOR Informer#148, September 26, 2002
CIMIC is the means by which the military command establishes
formal relations with national and local authorities, the
civilian population, International Organisations and Non Governmental
Organisations within its Area of Responsibility.
From Sept. 9-13 SFOR held a five-day Civil Military Co-operation
(CIMIC) course at Camp Butmir and Army Hall in downtown Sarajevo.
Camp Butmir - Approximately 50 international participants
attended the course. It was a link between the efforts of
civilians and SFOR to re-establish Bosnia and Herzegovina
(BiH) in accordance with the goals of the International Community.
They are willing to assist the people of BiH to return to
normal life and to make the psychological transition for the
pursuit of economic well being. As said by Maj. Kevin Nykanen,
U.S. Army, CIMIC Course Director, "Since 1998 there were
more than 20 CIMIC courses. The next (and the last in this
formula) is scheduled for November. Our intention is to create
a Balkan CIMIC Course. We want to bring together SFOR and
KFOR CIMIC structures, because the problems we are dealing
with are similar. The first Balkan CIMIC Course is scheduled
to begin in early 2003."
In the field
On Wednesday morning the students went by bus to the small
village of Kijevo, not far from Sarajevo. This is where the
German CIMIC Company re-constructed the school. The elementary
school in Kijevo was built in 1971 and partly destroyed in
1993. The construction cost 122,000 Euro. The CIMIC Company
was responsible for the planning, supervision of the construction,
the final inspection, the cashing up and the documentation.
Three civilian enterprises were in charge of the execution
of the construction.
"We are here to help with such things as re-opening of
schools, hospitals, routes and return the smile of these people.
This is our philosophy here," said German Lt. Col. Eberhard
Jendricke, Tactical Support Team (TST).
In the village of Zabdra, in the part of Trnovo's municipality
belonging to the Federation, the German CIMIC Company is in
charge of the construction of a path. Zabdra had been completely
destroyed during the war; all inhabitants left. The path cost
16,000 Euro. The European Union provided the funds.
A few of the participants visited the municipality of Kresevo,
a one hour drive Northwest of Sarajevo. The destination of
this tour was the local medical facility that was being restored
under the direction of the German CIMIC Company without interruption
of the daily consultations. The director, Karlovic Peric,
expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to have the building
restored, and as a sign of her gratitude and as a little surprise,
all participants were given Kresevo eggs.
Aims and hopeful signs
The five-day event was filled with a mixture of lessons and
field trips. "I think that the most important goal for
a CIMIC officer is to think how he can interact with the population.
What the civilian population really wants is not to see us
in uniform, but to interact with them in order to improve
their life in this country," said Capt. Richard Stephen,
Major Mihail Ceausu, Romanian Army, emphasised: "I am
here for the first time, that's why the most important moment
for me (speaking about this course) was when we graduated.
When Brig. Gen. Quinlan handed me the certificate, I realised
that I'm a CIMIC officer now and my mission here is to continue
to bring hope for the people by interacting with them, by
understanding their needs and helping them. It is a very important
goal for all of us."
Approximately 50 people gathered together with the common
goal of learning more about the CIMIC world and how it operates.
For the third time, officers from the Entities' Armies took
part in the course.
The example of the elementary school in Kijevo is a good one.
At the beginning only six children started lessons and now
there are 15. This shows that the reconstruction of a school
has an influence on the process of the returns. As a result,
close to 80 percent of the families have returned to Kijevo,
up to now, the city had been severely destroyed during the
Nations of SFOR: Germany