Armed Forces Overviews
Bosnia & Hergezovina

 

Air Force and air defence brigade

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Other Forces
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By Dennis Peteri

 The Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Oružane snage Bosne i Hercegovine, OSBIH) is the official military force of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Bosnian Armed forces were unified in 2005 and are composed of two founding armies: the Bosniak-Croat Army of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Bosnian Serb Army of Republika Srpska.

The Ministry of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina, founded in 2004, is in charge of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are approximately 15,000 active and professional troops, 5,000 reserve troops and 1,000 civilian staff.

The AFBiH was formed from three armies of the Bosnian War period: the Bosnian (dominantly Bosniak with numbers of Serbs and Croats) Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Bosnian Serb Army of Republika Srpska, and the Croat Defence Council.

The Army of the Republic of Bosnia And Herzegovina was created on 15 April 1992 during the early days of the Bosnian War. Before the ARBiH was formally created, there existed Territorial Defence, an official military force of Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a number of paramilitary groups such as the Green Berets, Patriotic League, and civil defense groups, as well as many criminal gangs and collections of police and military professionals. The army was formed under poor circumstances, with a very low number of tanks, APCs and no military aviation assets. The army was divided into Corps, each Corp was stationed in a territory. First commander was Sefer Halilović.

The Army of Republika Srpska was created on 12 May 1992. Before the VRS was formally created, there were a number of paramilitary groups such as the Srpska Dobrovoljačka Garda, Beli Orlovi, as well as some Russian, Greek and other volunteers. The army was equipped with ex-JNA inventory. It had about 200 tanks, mostly T-55s and 85 M-84s, and 150 APCs with several heavy artillery pieces. The Air Defense of VRS has shot down several aircraft, like F-16, Mirage 2000, F-18 and one Croatian Air Force MiG-21. The VRS received support from the Yugoslav Army and FRY until 1994, when Slobodan Milošević stopped military relations with Republika Srpska.

The Croatian Defence Council was the main military formation of the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia during the Bosnian War and it was first organized military force to with the aim to control the Croat populated areas. It is not to be confused with the Croatian Defence Forces (HOS) which was a separate Croatian military unit.

In 1995–96, a NATO-led international peacekeeping force (IFOR) of 60,000 troops served in Bosnia and Herzegovina, beginning on December 21, 1995 to implement and monitor the military aspects of the Dayton Peace Agreement. IFOR was succeeded by a smaller, NATO-led Stabilization Force or SFOR. The number of SFOR troops was reduced first to 12,000 and then to 7,000. SFOR was in turn succeeded by an even smaller, European Union-led European Union Force, EUFOR Althea. As of 2004, EUFOR Althea numbered around 7,000 troops.

As the joint AFBiH began to develop, troops began to be sent abroad. Bosnia and Herzegovina deployed a unit of 37 men to destroy munitions and clear mines, in addition to 6 command personnel as part of the Multinational force in Iraq. The unit was first deployed to Fallujah, then Talil Air Base, and is now located at Camp Echo. In December 2006, the Bosnian government formerly extended its mandate through June 2007. Bosnia and Herzegovina is planning to send another 49 soldiers from the 6th infantry division to Iraq in August 2008, their mission will be to protect/guard Camp Victory in Baghdad.

In October 2012, unhappy with the costs and performance of the army, Milorad Dodik, the president of the Serb entity, proposed that the army should be disbanded and the country demilitarized.