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Newcomers reception and integration training

By Capt. Luis Barber
First published in
SFOR Informer #91, July 5, 2000

Sarajevo - Newcomers usually need as much help as possible to cope with new things, meet people and discover different places. This applies to those in HQ SFOR Butmir.

Every newcomer to Butmir has to attend and complete training which provides them with all the information needed not only to carry out their mission, but make it as easy as possible.

The pre-deployment training in home countries differs a lot. The schedule and briefing should be adapted to that fact. Moreover, people in charge of training have found a good schedule and the training is shorter than before.

Norwegian Maj. Hans Petter Berg, from CJ-1 Plans at HQ SFOR, is responsible for coordinating this event. "As soon as possible after newcomers' arrival, we are asking branch heads and unit commanders for include this training into the overlap period with the predecessor," he said.

Training is divided into three sessions, each of them consists of short briefings grouped in a logical way. In spite of lasting about four hours, the meeting becomes more interesting than expected.

"The very important aspect of this briefing is to ensure security," stressed Chief of Staff German Brig. Gen. Georg Nachtsheim, speaking to an audience in his introduction. "All the nations work to standards of democracy, rules of laws, human rights. Don't forget the reason why you are here," continued Nachtsheim.
After this welcome, Berg proceeded to explain the programme.

"For some attendees everything will be completely new. And all newcomers to HQ SFOR are trained soldiers and should be treated like such," he said.

The first session includes subjects concerning HQ SFOR structure, operations and intelligence, such as regional situation, political factors or geography among them.

"It is very useful for newcomers because at the beginning they can't understand the situation," said Italian Brig. Luciano Neri (ACOS SPT). In addition, a brief overview of each MND and the MSU is given.

The second session mainly focuses on force protection - alert states, driving, safety, health protection and mine awareness.

And last, the third session takes in issues of the daily life at Butmir, security, computers, phone system, fire and safety, etc.

After finishing the training, attendees are requested to fill in a simple inquiry. The feedback from them is that an average of about 85% feels they got good value from the training and about 95% say they have very good or good value. So, it seems they are on the right track.

Related link:
SFOR at Work
Nations of SFOR: Norway