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On 06 and 07 November 2013 the 7th Joint EUFOR/Armed Force of Bosnia & Herzegovina Engineering Conference was conducted inside Camp BUTMIR, HQ EUFOR. The aim of the Conference was to establish and agree on the necessary foundations for the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina (AF BiH) to progress towards engineering inter-operability and a self-sustaining engineering training programme.

The conference was chaired by the Chief Training EUFOR, LtCol Johan E.C. BOUHUYS and attended by teams from EUFOR HQ’s Capacity Building & Training (CB&T) Division and representatives of the AF BiH including experts from the Joint Staff, Operational Command, Tactical Support Brigade, and the Engineering Battalion.
The conference was part of EUFOR’s wider CB&T activities and was aimed at establishing an appropriate and sustainable engineering force structure within the AF BiH by the end of 2014. The CB&T Division will provide the BiH authorities with military expertise and technical support through the Joint Military Affairs (JMA) Unit conducting training, mentoring, monitoring and advising for the MOD and AF BiH throughout the command structure and in close coordination with NATO.

The Conference also served to update next year’s training calendar that includes a wide range of specific engineering courses and to define the specific needs for all the engineering activities of the AF BiH. The specific training, mentoring and monitoring activities within the framework of the EUFOR CB&T program are supported by special teams from participating countries.

Several essential outputs from the previous conference held in March 2013 have already been achieved, including the creation of appropriate action plans and the setting of necessary timeframes. This time a mission statement outlining the requirements for engineering capabilities needed by the AF BiH and pointing out the specific engineering competencies required by AF BiH in the future, has been agreed. Furthermore, it has been recognized that a broad level of knowledge and skills will be required within these competencies in order to meet international inter-operability requirements as set out in the partnership program, which is considered a vitally important step on the path towards Euro-Atlantic integration.

Achieving the goals outlined above at the correct time is essential in order to safeguard the training program for 2015. EUFOR is assisting with advice and consultancy to help in the development of these key foundations. For EUFOR to meet its own objectives within BiH, the AF BiH must continue to develop into a modern, relevant, credible, and affordable force that can act as a Security Provider across the World through PSO activities.

The armed forces of BiH have already quickly developed to become a contributor to regional and international peace efforts abroad. Achieving standardization and full interoperability is a long-term process that can only be achieved through effective training and joint operations with the military forces of the International Community.

This two-day conference was once again a highly productive activity. In his address to the participants, COM EUFOR Major General Dieter Heidecker said “ EUFOR’s non-executive mission focus is to contribute to the Capacity-Building and Training of BiH Armed Forces in order to ensure [they] continue to develop as a modern Armed Force at the level required for Euro-Atlantic integration.”

General Heidecker further highlighted the fact that the role and function of engineering capabilities in any Armed Force cannot be underestimated. “Every army requires engineering capabilities to provide its forces with mobility, survivability and general engineering in this respect AF BiH is no different to any other armed force.” He also stated that in keeping with EUFOR’s CB&T focus it is intended that the activities of the different training teams will be streamlined to ensure that the AF BiH fully benefit from both NATO and EUFOR efforts.

Chief Public Affairs lt Col Otmar Lindner:
00387 (0)33 495 214
00387 (0)61 131 579
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Spokesperson: lt Cdr Paul Simon Gill
00387 (0)33 495 216
00387 (0)66 914 665
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