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Stability Operations In Kosovo 1999-2000: A Case Study

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Technical Report

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Noetic Corporation Washington United States

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This case study examines the intervention and stability operations in Kosovo from March 24, 1999 through approximately 2 years thereafter. Set during the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia and preceded by ethnic carnage in Bosnia, Croatia, and elsewhere, the intervention, named Operation ALLIED FORCE, was executed in order to protect Kosovars of Albanian descent from the ethnic cleansing of the Serbian leaders of the remaining federation of Yugoslavia. The operation was also intended to exhibit the North Atlantic Treaty Organizations NATO resolve in the face of rampant violence within Europe.U.S. operations in Kosovo consisted of two major phases Operation ALLIED FORCE, the American-led air campaign to compel Serbia to withdraw from Kosovo, and Operation JOINT GUARDIAN, the follow-on stability operation led by other NATO states to which the United States provided a brigade in support. This case study explores Operation ALLIED FORCE in some detail because understanding the precursor to Operation JOINT GUARDIAN is essential in understanding why those stability operations were ill-planned and where success was based on personal experiences, ad hoc relationships, and some luck. The primary lessons of operations in Kosovo are the need to better translate national policy into joint force operations, the adverse effects of too much risk aversion, the results of failing to draw up contingency plans for inevitable operations, and the importance of including the justice system in initial campaign designs.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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