KFOR Change of Command

Pristina, 18 April 2000


Today, Lieutenant-General Juan Ortuño (Spain) today took command of the Kosovo Force (KFOR) from General Dr. Klaus Reinhardt (Germany). General Reinhardt, who has commanded operations in Kosovo for the past six months, returns to JHQ Centre, Heidelberg, Germany.

General Ortuño who assumes command of KFOR Headquarters began his career as an engineer officer, continued as a paratrooper and special operations commander, and was selected to attend the U. S. Army Command and Staff General College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Following battalion command, General Ortuño was appointed as a military attach in London and Dublin. He later worked in a variety of jobs at the General Staff level and was instrumental in developing the reorganisation plan for the Spanish Army. 

General Ortuño was given command of the European Rapid Force (EUROFOR) composed of soldiers from Spain, France, Italy and Portugal. After a successful command of EUROFOR he was given command of the EUROCORPS.

The EUROCORPS will provide the nucleus of the KFOR Headquarters, providing command and control for the 46,000 strong force operating in Kosovo. The well-orchestrated and seamless transfer of command will ensure a smooth transition between commanders. The EUROCORPS staff will operate under NATO command in exactly the same manner as the two previous KFOR commands.


Welcome Message by General Juan Ortuño, Commander KFOR, to the Readers of KFOR Online

Pristina, 18 April 2000


On 18th April 2000 the Headquarters Eurocorps staff took over from LANDCENT (Land Forces Central Europe) as the nucleus of the KFOR Headquarters that commands the NATO-led Peacekeeping Force in KOSOVO. As a large part of its personnel have previous "peacekeeping experience" with IFOR or SFOR, and after thorough preparation, the Eurocorps staff is well prepared and ready for its mission.

Working in close co-operation with UNMIK and other governmental and non-governmental organisations, in difficult circumstances, KFOR has achieved remarkable results since NATO troops first moved into Kosovo in June 1999. Tribute must be paid to the men and women of the ACE Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) and of LANDCENT, as well as to Lieutenant General Sir Mike Jackson and General Dr. Klaus Reinhardt, their respective commanders.

Since the mission remains unchanged, the keyword for all our future actions will be "continuity". Indeed we will continue to act in accordance with the same guiding principles, and we will maintain the same objectives as our predecessors. With the same resolve and impartiality, we will continue to monitor, verify - and if necessary - enforce compliance with the provisions of the UN Security Council Resolution and other agreements. By doing so, we will continue to make every effort to maintain a secure environment, thus enabling UNMIK, OSCE and other international organisations to do their jobs. As with ARRC and LANDCENT before us, we will support these organisations with all the means at our disposal.

Moreover, Eurocorps' commitment within the NATO Chain of Command comes at a crucial moment for Kosovo. Now that the harsh winter is over, the time has come to begin the real economic, social and political reconstruction of this province. This is the moment at which the active involvement and commitment of local communities, the most fundamental level of society, are of paramount importance. Our support to the municipal elections is therefore a priority. Together with all the other organisations supporting the UN mission, KFOR will also encourage local initiatives, and contribute to the reconstruction effort in every way possible.

This mission is a challenge that we are proud to take up. Our presence will help all the peoples of Kosovo - regardless of origin - to achieve what they deserve: a peaceful life, improved living conditions, growing trust and understanding, and a better future for their children.

This website, which was established by our predecessors, provides up-to-date information on the structure and activities of KFOR. It also contains information on the historical and geographical background of the region, as well as useful links to other Kosovo-related websites.

Lieutenant-General Juan Ortuño
Commander KFOR


Eurocorps Assumes Command of KFOR

Text: Maj. Kristian Kahrs


Pristina, 19 April 2000: After six months as the commanding general of KFOR, German General Dr. Klaus Reinhardt handed over the command of over 45,000 peacekeepers from 39 different countries in Kosovo to Spanish Lieutenant General Juan Ortuño on Tuesday.

General Ortuño assumed command of the Eurocorps on Nov. 26 last year, and he brought a staff of 350 men and women to KFOR HQ in Pristina.


On 8 October 1999, Headquarters Allied Land Forces Central Europe LANDCENT assumed command KFOR. Now, Eurocorps will have the task of providing the nucleus of the new KFOR HQ.

Even if a new staff assumes command of KFOR, nothing will change in the chain of command.


"I only have one boss, and that is the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), and General Ortuño will also have the same boss," Reinhardt said when he met the press on Monday.


"There should be no difference and there will be no difference. Nothing has changed in the chain of command," Reinhardt said adding that he was confident that Ortuño would continue to build a safe and secure environment for all Kosovars regardless ethnicity.

Reinhardt also stated that the KFOR mission has been a great success despite the remaining challenges in building democratic institutions.

For more information about Eurocorps, please visit http://www.eurocorps.com.