U.S. Cuts 750 Troops, Heavy Equipment in Bosnia
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 16, 2001 The United States is reducing the number of troops and heavy equipment taking part in the NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Bosnia.
U.S. troop strength will drop from its current level of 4,400 to 3,500 by the end of April, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. Craig Quigley said here March 15. This number includes some overlap as units rotate in and out. NATO's stabilization force currently has about 20,000 troops in Bosnia.
The cuts are the result of NATO's latest six-month force level review done in December. As a part of that process, Quigley said, U.S. defense officials informed NATO allies they would reduce excess equipment, and people to maintain and operate that equipment, that they saw as "above and beyond" it's needs in carrying out its SFOR mission.
DoD officials are reducing the number of tanks and fighting vehicles to a level they feel is "still prudent to retain" in SFOR, he added. "We tend not to be very definitive on specific types of systems that are in place so as to not completely show our hand," he told Pentagon reporters asking for specific numbers.
All of the Apache helicopters in Bosnia, about 16, are being withdrawn, Quigley said.
As the equipment flows out, he said, it will not be replaced. "So it's part of the overall rotation, but unlike past rotations, you're not replacing the force with a comparable level."
Initially, about 20,000 U.S. troops entered Bosnia as part of NATO's effort to implement the 1995 Dayton Peace Accord and stabilize regional security. As conditions have warranted, the U.S. contingent has gradually drawn down its force, Quigley said.