US Army contracting team trains local institutions in Kosovo

By August 31, 2015Contracting, General
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By Mr. David Chace

U.S. Army Soldiers with the 1960th Contingency Contracting Team out of Huntsville Ala., and currently assigned to Area Support Team-Balkans in Kosovo, marked the completion of a five-day training series on market management and technical specifications, for approximately 20 members and officials from Ministry of Kosovo Security Force and their Land Forces Command, during a ceremony Aug. 14 in Pristina, Kosovo.

U.S. Army Master Sgt. Lesly Richardson, one of the instructors of the training, said the training’s value exceeded her expectations.

“They had a lot of questions, and that made the training much more energetic,” Richardson said. “There was a good exchange of information.”

AST-Balkans serves in support of U.S. Army Europe, the overarching organization which oversees the readiness of Army forces forward-stationed in Europe, and works side-by-side with U.S. allies in the region. AST-Balkans, headquartered out of Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, supports USAREUR priorities in the region, and also provides logistical support to U.S. Army forces serving in support of the Kosovo Force, or KFOR, mission.

AST-Balkans provided subject-matter experts to conduct this training in order to further build partnership and capability between the U.S. Army and Kosovo’s institutions.

“There was a recognition of their own policies and laws and how in the future they may look to modify some of them,” added Richardson. “The organizations spoke with one another and there was a good dialogue and exchange of information so we think it created a great baseline for them.”

Kosovo Security Force Maj. Skender Hajdari, a planning and maintenance officer for logistics department with KSF’s Land Forces Command said that he was happy with the instructors and the training.

“This training was necessary for us, we saw that we have a need to train and develop our forces in technical specifications and market research, also managing contracts as a process in whole,” Hajdari said.

According to Hajdari, the training was fruitful because they exchanged experiences with the U.S. Army contracting team.

down to a science

Kosovo Security Force Maj. Skender Hajdari, a planning and maintenance officer for the logistics department with Kosovo Security Forces Land Forces Command, presents with a gift to U.S. Army Maj. Justin Todd Floyd and Master Sgt. Lesly Richardson, respectively, the chief of contracting and NCO in charge for the 1960th Contingency Contracting Team, out of Huntsville, Ala., and currently assigned to Area Support Team-Balkans, during a graduation ceremony, Aug. 14, 2015, in Pristina, Kosovo. Soldiers with the 1960th Contingency Contracting Team held a course on market management and technical specifications for a group of approximately 20 members and officials from Ministry of Kosovo Security Force and their Land Forces Command. (U.S. Army photo by Ardian Nrecaj, Multinational Battle Group-East).

“Every day we did our after action review and all participants from the training came out with recommendations and conclusions that in the future we can incorporate them into our procurement laws in Kosovo, and use them for market research and managing contracts,” added Hajdari.

Students received their certificates from German Air Force Brig. Gen. Werner J. Haumann, the outgoing director of NATO’s Liaison and Advisory Team and Kosovo Security Force Brig. Gen. Zymer Halimi, director of operations for MKSF.

Haumann called the training an important step for KSF.
“Contract management it is one of most important things you have to look after, and you have to be well-trained,” Haumann said. “So I see this course as a very important step forward for MKSF and Land Forces Command of KSF.”

Kosovo Security Force Brig. Gen. Zymer Halimi, director of operations for MKSF said that this training was organized at the right time and it was more than welcome for them.

“The market research and technical specifications are a very important topic for us,” Halimi said. “We know it is a basic training, but we know also that training will continue, and we will prepare in time for the coming activities.”

U.S. Army Maj. Justin Todd Floyd, chief of contracting with the 1960th Contingency Contracting Team, was happy with the outcome of the training and said looks forward to see how they will incorporate it into the changes they want.

“They’ve got some really smart guys here that are knowledgeable about contracting procedures,” Floyd said.

down to a science

U.S. Army Soldiers with the 1960th Contingency Contracting Team out of Huntsville, Ala., and currently assigned to Area Support Team-Balkans in Kosovo, pose with their Kosovo Security Forces partners following a five-day course on market management and technical specifications. The training culminated with students receiving certificates as an achievement for their efforts, during a ceremony Aug. 14, 2015, in Pristina, Kosovo. (U.S. Army photo by Ardian Nrecaj, Multinational Battle Group-East).