Operation Joint Guardian
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OPERATION JOINT GUARDIAN: THE U.S. ARMY IN KOSOVO
The U.S. Army has a long history of conducting irregular operations of almost every nature and size. The Vietnam War (and the larger Cold War of which it was a part) sparked a renewed interest in both counterinsurgency warfare as well as a broad range of "operations other than war" missions. Working in concert with European allies, U.S. forces entered Kosovo in June 1999 with the primary objective of bringing peace to a troubled land where Serbian forces under Slobodan Milosevic had driven out more than 800,000 ethnic Albanians-while an estimated 12,000 were murdered in a wave of ethnic cleansing that horrified the world.
The task, code-named Operation Joint Guardian, proved exceedingly difficult. Organized as the Kosovo Forces (KFOR), the Allies were finally able to enforce a tentative peace by October 1999. But even now, there is no end in sight for the current peacekeeping mission, and the path leading to a larger political solution regarding Kosovo's future has been equally elusive. The Army's mission in Kosovo was significantly different from the warfighting customarily associated with military service, but it was no less important and no less dangerous. This brief study chronicles the origins of U.S. involvement and the peace enforcement operation that followed through 2005.
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