WSS: Ongoing operations in MND-SW

Capt. Benoit Guilloux
First published in
SFOR Informer#141, June 20, 2002

Joint Military Affairs (JMA) in MND-SW contributes to the divisional task of a safe and secure environment as written in the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP) by assisting, monitoring and guiding the Armed Forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Banja Luka and Novi Travnik - Chief JMA in Banja Luka, Canadian Lt. Col. Daniel Menard explains that the importance of having a Weapon Storage Site (WSS) is obvious. His team has been busy lately with operations.
Under Op Gauntlet, there was a reduction from 147 WSS to only 58 in the divisional Area of Responsibility. The operation included the consolidation of a number of sites that have to be in compliance with a set of rules.
Under Op Vantage the focus is on the reduction in the number of the sites as a result of the downsizing of the Armed Forces.
Divisional WSS
Unfortunately, there are several locations where issues have to be addressed. Sgt. David Burr, Desk Officer and a reservist with the Canadian Grenadier Guards, pointed out that some sites were located next to areas where people live: "Our most important site is 80 by 10 metres and there are 40 houses next to it. Sometimes these houses were built without a license. Joint Military Affairs operations officer, Capt. Iain Hurst explained: "The one our personnel shall inspect today, in Krcmarice, is the second most important within the division. There are SO-7 rockets stored there." Krcmarice is a WSS of the army of Republika Srpska (VRS) near Banja Luka where the inspection team checked the weapons.
But the triggers were missing. They were in the Banja Luka Metal Factory, stored in a container. Canadian Lt. Col. Luc Boisvert, SO2 JMA Plans explained: "Technically, the idea is to hold all the triggers of these missiles whether they belong to the VRS or the Federation Army (VF). However, there is a major difference; the VRS has a lot more."
Hurst added: "All MNDs will, in due time, control all the triggers." There is also a site with no less than 30 tons of napalm oxidant that adds concern and should be looked into.
Dutch BG
Also within MND-SW, in Novi Travnik, sites are monitored. Dutch 2nd Lt. Michiel Duning has three groups with a total of 20 troops from the Regiment of Boreel Hussards. He has been visiting the nearby VF WSS. Dunning commented: "This is the first time we do this WSS inspection. SFOR, a year ago, had divided the weapons and ammunitions. The lists today are pretty compatible with what we found. We check again as I want to be sure that what I shall hand over to my successor is what is really here."
The Dutch opened and thoroughly checked a number of containers stored with boxes of weapons. There are special SFOR seal stickers to be applied but the soldiers are installing, in addition, a leaded one. They do not want these boxes to be opened again, as has apparently been the case. Dutch Sgt. Jair Lemoine takes his job very seriously: "I see it as a nice job. I try to help to recognise the right model so that none or very few discrepancies arise in the future."

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: UK, Italy
SFOR at Work

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Photos: Capt. Benoit Guilloux

2nd Lt. Michiel Dunning (far left) with his point of contact while performing checks at a Federation Army WSS near Novi Travnik. Their respective staffs assist both men.

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Cpl. Zeljko Milutin (left) of the Army of Republika Srpska holds the keys of the Weapon Storage Site in Krcmarice near Banja Luka with Sgt. Mike Sanders, JMA attached to the UK Battle Group, who leads the inspection.

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An inspection in progress; there are a lot of boxes to open.