January 2004

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SFOR RESTRUCTURING

BACKGROUND

In December 1995 NATO committed over 60,000 troops to achieving security and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Over the last eight years the security situation has improved and local authorities have played an increasing role. SFOR has adjusted its deployment, both in terms of tasks and numbers to reflect the changing environment. We have moved from three Divisions to three Brigades and shorty to three Task Forces. In 1999 the force was 33,000, in 2002 16, 000 and by June 2004 the force will be approximately 7,000 personnel.
SFOR has much experience in adapting to the changing environment and we will use this experience to ensure that the reduction in troops and barracks is conducted as smoothly as possible. Troop reductions will take advantage of planned rotations, some of these are in early 2004 and some later in the spring. The Multi-National Brigades will be able to brief you on their plans individually but essentially each Brigade will become a Task Force of about 1,800 troops.
Altough there will be fewer troops in BiH, they will be supported by NATO`s Over the Horizon Forces (OTHF) that able to deploy a tailored force package to Bosnia and Herzegovina at short notice. In short, we can, and are prepared to, reinforce if there is a need. Our ability to do this is rehearsed regurarly on events like Dynamic Response.

NORMAL FRAMEWORK OPERATIONS

Normal Framework Operations are the core of SFOR`s day-to-day activities. They consist of patrolling, random searches, control of training and movement activities of the Entity Armed Forces (EAF), weapon and ammunition storage site inspections and monitoring mine-clearing activities.
EXAMPLES
NATO and SFOR remains committed to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The following few statistics speak for themselves:
SFOR has now been in Bosnia and Herzegovina for over 2,000 days;
Over half a million soldiers have served in SFOR;
Currently there are 27 Troop Contributing Nations include 16 NATO nations and 11 Non-NATO Troop Contributing Nations;
This year on Operation Harvest SFOR has disposed of over 11,000 weapons and 45,000 hand grenades;
During the last two months SFOR working with EAF and local police has destroyed more than 2 million unsafe and unstable bombs, grenades, explosives, mines and other dangerous munitions from the stocks of the Entity Armed Forces. The RS have requested SFOR assistance in destroying 1,700 metric tones of ammunition and explosives. The Federation have also begun to identify ammunition for destruction as part of the plan to reduce the number of Ammunition Storage Sites. SFOR will again assist this process.
With SFOR support, the Entity Armed Forces (EAF) cleared over 1,300,000 square meters at minefields this year. The Entity Armed Forces de-mining activities contributed 22 percent of the national de-mining effort during the 2003 campaign, leading to an improvement in the freedom of movement for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
SFOR`s engineering units ensured freedom of movement through ongoing support to over 20 rail and 40 road projects.
SFOR`s civil-military effort shifted from providing basic humanitarian needs and reconstruction of infrastructure to focus on support to the civil implementation process, led by the High Representative.
SFOR continues to work with the International Community and BiH authorities on defense reform and in particular assisting BiH armed Forces in the development towards the NATO Partnership for Peace Programme.

BOTTOM LINE

SFOR has adapted to the improved security situation and the increasing roles played by BiH authorities. Although forces have reduced, in no way does this diminish NATO`s commitment to a lasting peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Our priority will be to continue with the mission and contribute to the improving situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.