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EAF see how UK trains for deployments

By Capt. Doug Allison
First published in
SFOR Informer #90, June 21, 2000

Banja Luka, Bosnia - As part of its mandate, SFOR maintains a close dialogue with the Entity Armed Forces (EAF's) through formal meetings such as the Joint Military Commission, and regular day-to-day contact on a wide range of issues.

One of SFOR's main tasks is to monitor the EAFs. The overall aim, though, in the medium-long term, is to establish conditions in which the strictness of this monitoring can be relaxed due to the EAFs establishing methods of internal control and through professionalisation into a modern democratic army.

While much of the professionalisation process takes place in Theatre, some SFOR contributing nations have begun to work towards improving the professionalism of the EAFs through training in their own countries.

Recently, fifteen officers, five from each of the EAF, visited United Kingdom under a UK Ministry of Defence supported programme. The group travelled to Longmoor Camp in southern England for a week-long course run by the UK United Nations Training Advisory Team, a group of subject matter experts who prepare UK military personnel for deployment throughout the world.

Canadian Captain Glen McNeil, who is currently working at HQ MND-SW in Banja Luka, accompanied the group. According to McNeil, the purpose of the visit was twofold. "They went to observe the typical training that a NATO country undertakes to prepare their soldiers for a peacekeeping mission. In this case, it was about 400 British soldiers training to deploy either to Bosnia or to Kosovo. Secondly, it was an opportunity for members of each of the EAF's to develop professional contacts within their respective militaries."

The visitors had an opportunity to both observe and take part in most aspects of the training. Instruction was given on cantonment site inspections, first aid, mine awareness, weapons familiarisation, Rules of Engagement stands, and weapons ranges.

In addition, they observed a number of training scenarios that are set up by the instructors to expose the soldiers to typical situations they may encounter in Theatre. These scenarios exercise the different skills that the soldiers will require while on the mission. Theatre awareness and familiarisation briefings, troop welfare, and administration and logistic issues were discussed.

"In all" said McNeil "they covered general preparation for soldiers deploying on a peacekeeping mission. The training also left a mark on the visitors, according to McNeil. "They were quite impressed by the training techniques used by the British Army to prepare their soldiers. Many of them stated that they would take these training techniques back to Bosnia and apply them when conducting training within their own militaries" he recounted. "Visits such as this are a good way for the EAF's to become more aware of how we do our training so that they can adopt some of these techniques to make their armies more effective, and works well within the professionalisation programme."

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: UK
EAF professionalisation