Operation Eagle Eye


Early October 1998, the US put more pressure on the Yugoslav president Milosevic to allow for a verification team to check compliance by Yugoslavia with UN demands. Earlier, NATO intensified Partnership for Peace activities in the Balkans and deployed troops in Albania and Macedonia. In August 1998, plans for the offensive use of ground troops were terminated.

On October 15, 1998, NATO officials and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia agreed in Belgrade on the Kosovo Verification Mission. Yugoslavia agreed on an air surveillance system comprised of NATO non-combatant reconnaissance aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles.

On October 17, 1998, NATO started an aerial surveillance mission by sending American U-2 planes high over Kosovo in anticipation of the beginning of routine multinational missions.

On October 19, 1998, a reconnaissance team of the Kosovo Verification Coordination Centre deploys near Skopje.

The North Atlantic Council approved the operations plan for operations on October 21, 1998. A NATO Activation Order dated October 30, 1998 marked the official launch of this high-tech verification mission. The operation was code named Eagle Eye.


This NATO Kosovo Verification Mission consisted of NATO verification flights over the Yugoslav province of Kosovo. Like SFOR, it was a multi-national peace-support operation that enables NATO to verify compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1199. The operation resulted from the Oct. 1998 agreement between NATO and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on the Kosovo Verification Mission.

This multinational peace-support operation enabled NATO to check verification of compliance with UN demands. Eagle Eye flights ware parallel to and coordinated with the ground verification conducted by a 2000-member team belonging to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).


There were three mission elements:

This included verifying -- with the use of unarmed aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles -- the activities of security forces, the removal or cantonment of weapons systems, the respect of the ceasefire by all parties, the free movement of civilians, ground monitors and humanitarian organizations, the delivery of humanitarian supplies, and any air-observable compliance or non-compliance with Security Council Resolution 1199.

This was achieved through the collection, validation and analysis of available data.

Through the chain of command to the North Atlantic Council. NATO and the OSCE shared information to facilitate their respective overall assessments of compliance.


Operation Eagle Eye was conducted under the authority of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). Responsibility for the successful execution of the operation was with the Commander in Chief of Allied Forces Southern Europe (CINCSOUTH), headquarters Naples, Italy. The air component commander of the operation was the Commander of Allied Air Forces Southern Europe (COMAIRSOUTH), who exercised that authority through the 5th Allied Tactical Air Force, Combined Air Operation Center (5ATAF CAOC). The other component of the operation was the Kosovo Verification Coordination Centre (KVCC).

The Combined Air Operation Center, located in Vicenza, Italy, tasked and controlled national air assets contributing to Eagle Eye.

The Kosovo Verification Coordination Centre (KVCC), located at Kumanovo in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, conducted liaison, planning, coordination and exchange of information with the OSCE verifiers. The KVCC was formally inaugurated on 26 November 1998 at the presence of NATO's Secretary General Javier Solana, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Former Yugoslav Replubic of Macedonia Blagoj Handziski, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Wesley Clark, and of CINCSOUTH Adm James O. Ellis, Jr. The KVCC comprised personnel from nine NATO nations (US United Kingdom, France, Canada, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Norway, and Germany) and was commanded by Brigadier General David Montgomery (UK Army).

Compliance Verification

The information used to determine compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1199 was collected on the ground by observer teams belonging to the OSCE and by the Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission (KDOM), and in the air by Eagle Eye's NATO airborne surveillance platforms. Reports from OSCE and KDOM teams were shared with the Kosovo Verification Coordination Centre.

Films and images from Eagle Eye's manned and unmanned surveillance platforms were delivered to NATO processing stations. A global analysis on the NATO collected information was conducted at NATO and national information centres, resulting in a daily report produced by NATO's Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). This daily report covering all elements of Resolution 1199 was then sent to the North Atlantic Council which in turn determined if all parties were or were not in compliance. The NATO assessment was shared with OSCE and with the UN.

Contributing Forces

The NATO member states were involved in Operation Eagle Eye through the provision of air and ground crews, or through the manning force required to operate headquarters, the Kosovo Verification Coordination Centre, the Combined Air Operation Center and liaison cells.

Several NATO nations offered aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Air assets were provided by France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the USA. Unarmed aircraft conducting or supporting the missions included: U-2s, Canberras, RC-135s, C-160s, P-3s and UAVs. Several non-NATO member nations also offered to support the verification mission.

Eagle Eye assets did not include forces available for supporting its operations or air combat assets required for enforcing compliance with UN Resolution 1199.