Dynamic Response 03
Capt. Besnik Cukali
First published in
SFOR Informer#166, October, 2003
From the 26th August to 24th September 2003, NATO and
Partner nations deployed Reserve Forces headquarters and troops
to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo as part of Operational
Rehearsal, Dynamic Response 2003 (DR03). This annual rehearsal,
demonstrates NATO's ability, to significantly reinforce its
in-theatre forces at short notice.
Sarajevo- NATO and Partner units were involved in real-time
Peace Support Operations practicing and validating operational
concepts and familiarizing units with the terrain and environment.
Their presence also reinforced NATO's and the international
community's strong resolve and commitment to maintain peace
and stability throughout the Balkans region.
NATO's Reserve Forces
NATO has three different Reserve Forces, all available at
short notice: the Tactical Reserve (TACRES) are drawn from
the Multinational Brigades under command of Commander SFOR.
The Operational Reserve Force (ORF) and Strategic Reserve
Force (SRF) collectively comprise the land element of the
Over the Horizon Forces (OTHF). Commander in Chief South (CINCSOUTH),
as the Joint Force Commander (JFC), retains the ORF stationed
out of theatre and ready for deployment at relatively short
notice (4-14 days) to be Mission Ready and on the ground in
the designated Area of Responsibility (AOR). At the Strategic
Level, Supreme Allied Command Europe (SACEUR) holds a Strategic
Reserve Force (SRF), which is also held out of theatre on
15 days notice once SACEUR has received approval from North
The OTHF are multinational, professional forces with a wide
range of military capabilities, including light and airborne
infantry, amphibious, air mobile, armour, artillery and air
attack capability able to deal with any military contingency.
During DR03 more than 3,000 troops were deployed to BiH and
Kosovo. It is important to note that the timing of DR03 was
not related to any fears of instability, to any current events
or real-world developments. The reduced number of troops in
theatre under SFOR has been possible due to the improving
security situation within BiH. DR03 demonstrated the capability
of OTHF to bring in extra forces to maintain peace and stability
in the region if ever required.
The operational rehearsal
The operation rehearsal was coordinated by CINCSOUTH, the
JFC within the NATO Headquarters responsible for the Balkan
Operations. Units deployed by air, land and sea, arriving
in theatre fully mission-capable and logistically self-sustaining.
After processing through reception areas, they were integrated
into the command and control structures of SFOR, performing
duties with the troops in place on a wide variety of missions,
from manning checkpoints, to conducting routine patrols. DR03
is an opportunity to integrate and employ the OTHF earmarked
for SFOR in a coherent way, within the routine framework of
Distinguished visitors day
On the 2nd September SFOR took the opportunity to demonstrate
to the public and local and national leaders how quickly the
OTHF forces can be deployed and link up with other troops
on the ground to the public. A mixture of distinguished visitors
and media gathered at Comanche Base near Tuzla. Lt Gen William
E. Ward, (Commander SFOR) emphasied that, "This year,
for the first time, members of the Multinational Specialized
Unit (MSU) will deploy across an international border, into
Kosovo, to reinforce KFOR during exercise Dynamic Response.
This flexibility adds a potent force multiplier to our presence
and enhances our capability to provide a safe and secure environment
throughout the larger Balkan theatre." After a short
briefing on the OTHF concept, the DR03 demonstration began.
Phase one began with photographs taken from the air by British-French
Jaguars being displayed. These would be used to identify the
best drop zone. The next phase of the operation was to secure
the landing zone, which would normally take place at night
and before the main body arrived. Specially trained soldiers
known as "Pathfinders" drop in under the cover of
darkness, monitor the area, mark the landing zone and provide
communications for follow-on forces.
After his drop Capt.Minervini Glauco said, "We conducted
a free-fall drop from UH60 Black Hawk helicopters flying as
low as 1,500 meters and we were using the MT1XX-type parachute
that is standard equipment of the Italian Airborne Brigade.
These parachutes allow the Pathfinders to steer with great
precision, as you saw. Sometimes, especially during combat
operations, we can jump as far as 50km from the drop zone
and still reach it by flying and cruising with our parachutes."
First out the plane was the commander of the 186th Parachute
"Folgore" Regiment of the Italian Army, Col Rosario
Castellano. Once the Pathfinders were on the ground, they
moved quickly to the four corners of the landing zone to conduct
initial security and reconnaissance operations.
Free-fall from 1,500 metres
Italian and Hungarian Multinational Specialized Unit (MSU)
soldiers of the Italian Carabinieri and the 1st Light Cavalry
Regiment (special operations capable) arrived simultaneously
in four UH60 Black hawk helicopters to conduct the air-assault
operation in order to seize and secure the landing zone.
With phase three complete the airdrop was clear to go ahead.
Type-A21 equipment loads and paratroopers were launched from
a G222 (Italian aeroplane similar to the C-27 used by US forces).
After the demonstration Col. Castellano spoke to the visitors
"In recent years the Regiment has deployed on three operational
tasks: Bosnia in 1999, Albania in 2000 and on operation "Consistent
Effort" in Kosovo in 2000.We are training our forces
to re-deploy at short notice. I think we have already proved
that we are capable of doing this successfully. I'm having
a good time here." Lt Gen Ward added that "This
is your country and this is your NATO. Together, we along
with our international community partners remain committed
to keeping the peace, providing stability, and improving the
lives of the people here in BiH and throughout the Balkans."
Related link: Training