Operation ARTISAN

International Information

International Operation Name: Operation ARTISAN

International Mission Name: Operation ARTISAN

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Region Name: Europe

Location: Albania

Mission Date: 1 August 2000 - 14 November 2001

Canadian Forces (CF) Information (ARTISAN)

Canadian Task Force Mission Statement: The Op ARTISAN team will act as technical advisor to Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), providing technical design, management and contract supervision including financial management in support of the Rinas Airfield project related contracts(s) between CIDA and local contractors.

CF Mission/Operation Notes: The influx of humanitarian aid into Albania to help the Kosovars who had been forced out of Kosovo placed unanticipated stress on that country’s only international airport. The heavy traffic caused premature wear and tear to the runway, taxiways, and parking aprons at Rinas Airport, rendering it essentially useless. Although NATO repaired the military – operated portion of the airfield, the civilian apron was left in disrepair. 

In May 2000, at a multi-donor Consultative Group convened by the World Bank on Albania’s behalf, repair of the airport was viewed as vital to Albania’s future economic development. As a donor nation, the Canadian Government pledged $6 million in economic assistance, and shortly thereafter the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) solicited the CF for technical assistance on a project to help repair the airport. The proposed project involved the construction of an 80m x 150m extension to the airports apron, for which the CF would provide project management, design, quality assurance and contracting support. 

Dubbed Operation ARTISAN, a five-man team conducted reconnaissance of the airport in August 2000 and subsequently developed a mission that would be conducted in four phases. 

Phase one was the writing of the technical specifications and statements of work for the project based on the information gathered during the reconnaissance. Phase two was the awarding of the contracts. However, with no regulations or guidelines for the awarding of government contracts in Albania, the team was conscious of the potential for graft, and relied heavily upon Canadian principles to develop a workable system. 

Phase three involved the construction process, which began in April of 2001 using civilian contactors. The project was completed by the end of October, and in early November operation ARTISAN was deemed a success with all members of the operation redeploying to Canada bringing phase four and the operation to a close on 14 November 2001.

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