International Cooperation of Armed Forces of BiH

{gallery}newsletters/6/3/{/gallery} Since entering the Partnership for Peace Program (PfP), Bosnia and Herzegovina has participated in several multilateral military exercises every year. However, bilateral military exercises are lacking – something that can present a great disadvantage in regional cooperation and the promotion of our army and country.

Zoran Šajinović, Deputy Minister for Regional Cooperation in the Ministry of Defense of BiH, spoke to Atlantic Initiative about bilateral military exercises and claimed that the activities of the Armed Forces of BiH (AFBiH/OSBiH) are not supported enough in national media. He believes that this subject remains unfamiliar for the BiH public.

He points out in particular that BiH was a host of an important multilateral exercise named “Combined Endeavor” last year, and it will remain its host in the future. In 2012, BiH is planned to be the host of a medical evacuation exercise in order to prepare for scenarios of unpredictable situations on a larger scale. The number of military exercises has been increasing every year. Also, increased cooperation is expected in that field, and all the planned activities are of multilateral character.

The procedure for arranging military cooperation and military exercises itself depends on the training and the scope of participation. The multilateral exercises in which AFBiH take part are also planned in Individual Partnership Program (IPP) and Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP), which also define all procedural details. Some of the exercises, in which our soldiers most often participate as observers, are defined through bilateral cooperation plans that are approved by the Council of Ministers. When AFBiH is host of exercises, procedural activities also include approval from the Presidency. This approval already exists for the exercise planned for 2012.

What is still lacking in BiH is professional military education. Bosnia and Herzegovina has about 30 bilateral partners, and most often sends its cadre to countries such as Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, Greece, as well as Canada and the USA for further education and training. As BiH still does not have its high-level professional system of military education, it depends highly on education aid programs abroad.

Another important segment is the promotion of the Armed Forces not only in country, but also abroad. The AFBiH’s planned activities also include implementation and financing of the activities as per their defined goal and purpose (for example: advancing certain abilities, exercising scenarios, and the promotion of AFBiH and the state itself). Each activity has to be implemented under certain procedure that still sometimes might complicate simple public relations activities.

This was the case last year at international air-show in Varaždin, Croatia, in which the Air Force of BiH did not take part even though one helicopter and two crews were ready and the financial costs were covered by the organizer. The procedure could not be complied with in a timely manner in spite of the fact that BiH received an invitation to participate in this event at the same time when the invitation was sent to other countries that manage to participate at the air-show. However, as we were unofficially informed, this year AFBiH will most likely manage to send one helicopter to an air-show in Croatia, and thereby stand together with many more developed Armies and Air Forces.


Photo: Archive of the Atlantic Initiative