U.S. European Command teams with Bosnia for an "IG Outreach" to Europe's newest nation, Montenegro

PODGORICA, Montenegro — U.S European Command and Bosnia's Inspector Generals held a conference here Oct. 30 - Nov. 2 to expose the newly independent Montenegrin armed forces to the IG system.

The conference was an outreach event and the EUCOM IG, Army Col. Mike Anderson, and assistant IG's Air Force Lt. Col. David Cienski and Navy Cmdr. Kevin Mickey, together with the Bosnian IG, Brig. Gen. Rizvo Pleh, presented instruction to the commanders, Command Sgt. Maj., and General Staff of the Montenegrin armed forces.

"I've been in the military 30 years and thought that I knew all about Inspector General duties, namely conducting combat readiness inspections. But I have learned much, much more from you," said Col. Cedomir Marinovic, senior Col. on the Montenegrin armed forces general staff.

Both the U.S. and Bosnian IG models focus on assuring combat readiness, something the Montenegrins are familiar with from the former Yugoslavia. But the U.S. and Bosnian IG systems also assist the Commander, or Minister of Defense, by addressing the welfare of soldiers and providing the Commander an oversight mechanism against corruption. These aspects of the U.S. - Bosnian IG models are new to the Montenegrins and they are intrigued and keen to learn more.

"From you, I have learned that an IG should also be there to 'teach and train' along the way, and to look out for the welfare of individual soldiers," continued Marinovic.

Montenegro, along with 17 other nations, participated in a EUCOM IG-hosted multinational conference in September. This visit to Montenegro was a direct result of a request made there by the Montenegrin Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Milosavijevic. He pointed out that it was critical to set up an IG system right way.

The participation in this "IG Outreach" event by Pleh was also noteworthy. He found his Montenegrin neighbors particularly eager to hear how the Bosnian MOD had adopted the U.S. IG model and successfully adapted it to the Balkans.

That "Balkanized" IG model was more easily understood by the small armed forces of Montenegro, who share a similar language, culture, and history with Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The EUCOM and Bosnian IG offices will team up again February 2008 in Albania where they will co-host a Regional IG Seminar for all west Balkan nations.

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