From a 'Dynamic Response' to a 'Joint Resolve'
Capt. Constantin Spinu
First published in
SFOR Informer#154, December 19, 2002
From Dec. 1 to 7, 2002, the UK's Staffordshire Regiment
deployed from the 1st Battalion Tactical Headquarters in Kosovo
along with a Company as the 'Operational Reserve Force' (ORF)
of SFOR to conduct a planned operational rehearsal, as part
of exercise Joint Resolve. The purpose of this particular
deployment was to familiarize the troops with the terrain
and the procedures overarching the ORF deployment, in order
to reach Full Operational Capability by Feb. 1, 2003. The
1st Battalion of the UK's Staffordshire Regiment deployed
with 150 troops together with their vehicles, proving their
ability to arrive in theatre fully mission capable at short
Tuzla - A company and battle group headquarters of the British
KFOR soldiers arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) under
the command of Lt. Col. Barney. They arrived at Eagle Base,
Tuzla, on Nov. 30 having travelled from Kosovo where they
are currently serving with KFOR. The Staffords are currently
part of the United Kingdom Battle Group operating in Pristina.
The operational rehearsal primarily consisted of cross-boundary
activities in conjunction with U.S. Task Force Saber (104th
Cavalry), Multinational Division North (MND-N) and focused
upon terrain familiarisation.
"Our deployment from Pristina to Tuzla went according
plan. The US forces here, in BiH, have been very supportive,
as we expected," said Capt. Michael Seager, the Operations
Officer of A Company, ORF. "The situation in the KFOR
and SFOR Areas of Responsibility (AoR) is improving, therefore
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." emphasised Seager.
Key words: ASAP
Dec. 3 was a busy day for US Task Force Saber and the soldiers
of the UK's Staffordshire Regiment. They conducted joint patrols
on the streets of Lukavac, a city west of Tuzla. The atmosphere
was calm and the people of Lukavac seemed to be very friendly.
British Lt. Will Blackhurst, ORF, and US 2Lt. Keith Mc Keon,
who are both platoon leaders, walked side by side on the streets.
From time to time they stopped and talked with people. Everybody
was smiling and it looked like the two officers enjoyed their
day's work. "I'm having a good time here," explained
Blackhurst. "Even though this is my first visit to BiH,
there is nothing new for me or for my subordinates. We are
doing the same job in Kosovo." Working with the US Forces
is also nothing new for the UK's Staffordshire Regiment. "We
are also working together within KFOR, with the best results,"
The operational rehearsal was co-ordinated by the
Commander in Chief Allied Forces Southern Europe (CINCSOUTH)
who is the Joint Force Commander (JFC) within the NATO
Headquarters responsible for Balkan Operations including
units assigned to and controlled by SFOR.
Joint Resolve is a series of joint operations primarily
involving multinational forces within SFOR. Joint Resolve
involves rapid air and road deployments and includes presence
patrolling and checkpoint manning. Joint Resolve exercises
are run quarterly and hosted by each Multinational Division.
This was the 27th Joint Resolve in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
To maintain its ability to eliminate any threat
to a safe and secure environment, SFOR maintains a highly
capable Tactical Reserve (TACRES) consisting of a Quick
Reaction Force (QRF) maintained by each MND. There is
also an SFOR Reserve (SFOR RES) comprising several Infantry
and Carabinieri Companies and an airborne element (SFOR
Reserve Air) equipped with AH-64 Apaches and UH-60 Blackhawks.
'In addition to exercising TACRES this edition
had incorporated a deployment of part of the Operational
Reserve Force from Kosovo.
There is nothing new in seeing US and UK soldiers exchanging
military techniques and procedures. They even give each other
tips on ways to improve the way they carry out their task
in the Balkans. "I have discussed with my American colleague
the manner with which we approach the local population in
Kosovo. It is no use to hide behind a vehicle or a weapon.
You need to gain a person's trust and to do this, you have
to be on the street, out in the open." The US platoon
leader approves: "You can do the best for your mission
if you take the time to smile, shake people's hands and talk
to them. If you do that, they will know that you are a friend
who has come to help."
After just four days, the British ORF proved itself to be
fully effective and able to perform any task. "This was
our primary goal: to deploy ASAP, to increase or readiness
status ASAP and to be able to perform our tasks ASAP. So this
was our key phrase: ASAP," said Blackhurst.
Back on the streets of Lukavac, the patrolling mission continued.
US Sgt. Raul Trinidad and UK Lance Cpl. Ben Davis were working
together for the first time. "I have just met Ben this
morning but we are already friends. It is good to work together.
We discussed the differences between serving as a soldier
with KFOR and SFOR and we reached the conclusion that there
are more similarities than differences. We can work together
very well," said Trinidad. Davis added: "This has
been my first visit to BiH and I'm so glad to have this opportunity.
The Americans were as friendly as usual. I will go back to
Kosovo enriched by a new and valuable experience."
For Pvt. Rostan Bailey of the UK ORF, this was also his first
mission to BiH: "I found this very interesting. I had
the chance to talk to the people here in Lukavac and I asked
them how they feel about our presence on their streets. But
he was reassured by this reply from a local: 'You are always
welcome to our city. You are here to maintain our peace, and
we are grateful for this.' I think this is the best answer
I could have been given. That is why it is so good to be here."
A very ambitious exercise
At the end of Exercise Joint Resolve one of the most important
aims was achieved: proving NATO's ability to reinforce, at
short notice, those forces already present in the theatre
with so-called 'Over-The-Horizon-Forces' (OTHF). The ORF acted
as a high readiness force with a wide range of military capabilities.
It has proved itself to be mobile and versatile with the ability
to augment in-theatre forces in any military contingency.
"Joint Resolve is a very ambitious military exercise
that enhances our ability to respond rapidly across boundaries,"
said US Brig. Gen. John T. von Trott of MND-N and host commander
to the exercise. "The co-operative efforts of all the
multinational elements paid off and ultimately they benefit
all the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina."
Working side by side, joint patrols made their way throughout
MND (N), manning checkpoints, inspecting weapons storage sites,
and promoting the hand over of illegal weapons by civilians.
Just as in the previous exercise, Dynamic Response, held two
months ago when the Strategic Reserve Force deployed, this
operational rehearsal again reinforced a clear message of
the strong resolve and commitment of NATO and the International
Community to maintain peace and stability in the Balkans region.
Nations of SFOR: US,