October 28, 2016 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
Lieutenant-Colonel Simon Poudrier assumed command of Operation KOBOLD from Lieutenant-Colonel Michel Lefebvre today in Pristina, Kosovo, as part of Canada's contribution to the Kosovo Force (KFOR), the NATO-led peace-support operation working to develop the Kosovo Security Force.
Lieutenant-Colonel Poudrier and four other Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel constitute Task Force Pristina. These experienced CAF members serve in a variety of staff roles at the Kosovo Force headquarters, including assisting the development of the Kosovo Security Force and coordinating logistical support for the NATO force.
The Kosovo Force (KFOR) was established in June 1999 when NATO’s 78-day air campaign against Slobodan Milosevic’s regime, aimed at putting an end to violence in Kosovo, ended. KFOR derives its mandate from UNSCR 1244 (1999) and the Military-Technical Agreement between NATO, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and Serbia.
“I am honored by the opportunity to command a group of highly-trained professionals dedicated to ensure the continued peace and stability in Kosovo. I will conduct this mission in the footsteps of my predecessor and will continue to represent the Canadian Armed Forces in their contribution to NATO’s Kosovo Force by maintaining a safe and secure environment in this country.”
Lieutenant-Colonel Simon Poudrier, Incoming Commander, Task Force Pristina, Operation KOBOLD
“I am extremely proud to have led this team of professional and dedicated Canadian Armed Forces members over the past six months. I leave this mission with a great sense of accomplishment and I salute the achievements of the deployed personnel on Op KOBOLD in support of peace and security in the region.”
Lieutenant-Colonel Michel Lefebvre, Outgoing Commander, Task Force Pristina, Operation KOBOLD
As of June 2016, KFOR comprises approximately 4,500 troops from 31 nations, of which 21 are members of NATO. It is organized as two multinational battle groups supported by a reserve battalion, a specialist unit, a joint logistics group, and a headquarters. KFOR works closely with the European Union (E.U.), especially the E.U. Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), the United Nations, and many non-governmental organizations.
Canada has supported the Kosovo Force periodically since its establishment in June 1999. CAF originally deployed a Task Force until June 2000 as part of Operation KINETIC. In August 2008, CAF committed staff officers to the Kosovo Force headquarters, which continues to this day.