By Capt. Russell Craig
First published in
SFOR Informer#128, December 12, 2001
Nov. 26-29, many units from SFOR took part in
the 24th Exercise Joint Resolve. This was a landmark occasion
as it saw both Republika Srpska (RS) and Federation (Fed) police
forces involved and working together in this event for the first
Tuzla - Eagle Base in Multinational Division North
was the location for Joint Resolve. The exercise trained and rehearsed
SFOR's ability to respond to civilian unrest, utilising co-operative
efforts across civilian and military lines. It consisted of two
main areas of training: on the ground with soldiers and a tactical
exercise without troops on a battle board.
Brig. Gen. Daniel E. Long Jr., assistant to the divisional commander
(manoeuvre), said the exercise "exceeded expectations,"
adding that he was impressed with the spirit of co-operation among
people in continuing "the great progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina
On the ground
Maj. Pete Yankowski, one of the exercise planners, explained that
the key objectives were to update SFOR's standard operating procedures
on civil disturbance, to understand how the local police special
units work, and to improve co-operation between SFOR and local
The exercise took place in a training area known to the troops
as "The Pig Farm," on account of its very muddy nature.
Streets and houses had been imitated through the use of ISO containers
and hardboard. This was the battleground and arena for the practising
forces. RS and Fed special police marched alongside each other
during the event and also worked closely with other forces, too.
really glad to take part with my unit
it shows we can work
together for the same cause," stated Rade Kandic, RS special
police team leader. Similar sentiments were expressed by Ebubekir
Alibasic, tactics instructor for the Fed police unit. "We
can take the knowledge we knew before and learn with new forces,"
he said. "We learn how to work together for the cause and
how to solve problems together."
Pitted against them were carefully controlled "rioters."
are acting as civilian population
we give a bit of abuse
and throw bits of wood. We get the guys
into a situation
resembling a real one. But we are just rehearsing and we are all
on the same side. So there is noise and aggression but no violence.
We get the adrenaline going," commented British Cpl. Adam
Ridley, from the 110 Provost Company Royal Military Police.
The actions of the rioters lead to more realistic and exciting
training for those troops carrying out their policing role.
is most exciting, especially when in a snatch squad,
and when there is movement, including vehicles and troops,"
said Nepalese Sgt. Grajen Augdembe of the 2nd Royal Gurkha Rifles
(2 RGR), part of the United Kingdom Battle Group. "As platoon
sergeant I command half the platoon, which is physically demanding
and mentally challenging."
A converted gym housed the battle board and command elements of
the units attending. Also present were the representatives of
those agencies that could be embroiled in civil unrest. These
included CJ9, non-governmental and other international organisations.
scenario is read and it is discussed how to solve the problem
leaders present solutions. After there is a discussion, everyone
can give their opinion," said Polish Maj. Marian Kowalczuk,
"The area depicted is 'Any-town' in BiH, and the opposing
forces are known as brown and orange. They both play good and
bad parts to therefore avoid any ethnicity," explained American
Master Sgt. Gregory Hurlburt.
On the last day the local media had an opportunity to see the
effectiveness of the exercise for themselves. They were fully
briefed on the exercise's aims and then watched two demonstrations
of the troops involved from the safety of an elevated platform.
the exercise) there were so many people doing exciting things
that the media wanted to be here
We want to be open with
what's going on here to emphasise the co-operation between SFOR
and the local police," said Yankowski.
During the first demonstration they witnessed many units who had
to deal with a variety of scenarios. The RS special police dealt
with the initial riot, with aid from the Multinational Specialised
Unit (MSU). When
shots were fired and a suspected explosive device found, more
elements were tasked. The American Quick Reaction Force moved
in, using non-lethal weapons such as baton guns. Explosive Ordnance
Disposal teams neutralised the devices, while medical units dealt
with the wounded. On the flanks Polish and Turkish troops secured
the area, allowing the other elements to work unhindered.
last demonstration was given by 2 RGR. They illustrated how soldiers
could escalate and scale down their actions in response to how
violent the crowd was. Initially they deployed without shields
and in a non-threatening posture. This escalated to the use of
shields and armoured personnel carriers as the increasingly hostile
crowd pelted them with wooden blocks and petrol bombs.
Despite the aggression on display, the spirit of co-operation
continued to be expressed by those involved at all levels. The
importance of this was highlighted by Long at the closing press
conference: "The local authorities would rather solve their
own problems than (have SFOR solve them)
this exercise begins
Related link: Training