Erhard Drews

Commander of KFOR

(Emg.rs - 10/09/11; JFC Naples, B92, Radio Srbija - 09/09/11; Official KFOR Website)
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Major General Erhard Drews[Getty Images]

German Major General Erhard Drews assumed command of KFOR on September 9th 2011, replacing his compatriot, Major General Erhard Buehler. He became the 16th head of the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo since its deployment in June 1999.

Drews was born November 21st 1952 in Mussen, in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany's west.

He began his military career in 1971, when he joined the 94th Tank Demonstration Battalion in Munster. In 1975, he was appointed platoon leader with the 54th Tank Battalion in Wolfhagen, where he spent the following seven years, serving also as S2 officer and then as company commander. In 1982, he took up an assignment as an S3 officer at the Headquarters of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Division located in Kassel, central Germany.

In 1983, Drews completed the Army Command and General Staff Officer Course at the Bundeswehr Command and General Staff College in Hamburg.

He moved to Koblenz in 1986, serving first as G3 staff officer with the 3rd Army Corps and then as Assistant Chief of Staff, G3 Operations, at the 34th Armored Brigade.

After a two-year service at the German defence ministry as assistant chief of Army Planning branch, Drews returned to Koblenz to take up command of the 343rd Tank Battalion stationed there.

In 1992 he became a lecturer at the Bundeswehr Command and General Staff College in Hamburg.

From 1995 to 1997, Drews served in Dusseldorf as Division Chief, Assistant Chief of Staff, G3, Operations with Military District Command III/7th Armoured Division, after which he headed the defense ministry's Bundeswehr Planning branch.

He was serving as commander of the 34th Armoured Brigade in Diez on the River Lahn in December 2001, when he was deployed to the city of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina as Chief of Staff of SFOR's Multinational Task Force Southeast. Following his return from the Balkan country in May 2002, he became deputy commander of the Airmobile Division in Veitshochheim.

The following year, Drews was appointed to the General Army Office, where he worked until August 2005, first as division chief and then as chief of staff. He then headed the Bundeswehr's transformation centre, before taking command of the Airmobile Division in 2009.

Several days after taking over from Buehler on September 9th, Drews wrote on KFOR's website that the NATO-led force will continue "to provide security for all the people of Kosovo," working closely with the local authorities and international organisations there.

"It is now up to us to take the next step necessary to maintain the gradual transfer of responsibilities to civilian structures," he added.

Drews is married and has two children.

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