CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo (July 5, 2013) -- Being good neighbors is an integral part for maintaining positive relations in a deployment environment.

"When we operate in a foreign country, it is important that we investigate any allegations that we have harmed the people or property of that nation," said U.S. Army Capt. Sean Kumar, an Alexandria, Va. native and the Multinational Battle Group-East claims officer.

Although only in Kosovo for less than a month, Kumar is already at work processing claims.

On June 11, Kumar and other members of the MNBG-E legal team travelled to Leposavic to investigate a claim.

"We met with two claimants who reside in the area to discuss and investigate their claims resulting from manuever damage when a U.S. Kosovo Forces HHMWV got stuck in the mud," Kumar said. "Damage was caused to their property as a result of the vehicle getting stuck and in the subsequent recovery."

Congress approved the Foreign Claims Act as a remedy for when the U.S. military is operating in a foreign country and causes damage to the property of civilians, Kumar said. It does not include damages caused by acts that are deemed to be of operational necessity, such as combat or security measures.

"When military conducts operations, it is inevitable that some accidents are going to happen," Kumar said.

According to Kumar, if an accident does happen, all MNBG-E vehicles are outfitted with claims forms and instructions on how to file a claim.

"If we determine that the claim has merit and is a proper claim under the act, we do our best to fairly compensate them for their loss or damages," Kumar added. "It is the just thing to do and it helps us to maintain positive relations in our area of operations."