U.S. Forces Set for Six-month SFOR Rotations
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany, Dec. 19, 1996 American troops will serve sixmonth rotations in Bosnia as part of NATO's new stabilization force, U.S. Defense Secretary William J. Perry said here Dec 13.
Perry was in Europe to attend graduation ceremonies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, meetings with defense ministers in Germany and Austria and two days of NATO meetings in Brussels.
During an interview here, Perry said he agreed with NATO's decision to keep forces in Bosnia another 18 months so civilian reconstruction can proceed in a secure environment. Such activities as refugee resettlement and local elections could "produce turbulence and produce violence, and that could cause the war to reignite," Perry said.
The United States will contribute about 8,500 troops to NATO's stabilization force. U.S. soldiers stationed in Germany have deployed in Bosnia. The 1st Armored Division served as part of IFOR, and the 1st Infantry Division currently serves as part of NATO's covering force during the transition to SFOR. Stateside units may now also be tasked for duty in Bosnia, Perry said.
"We plan to have six-month rotations," he said. "The first rotation will basically be the forces that are there now, 1st Infantry Division supplemented by some units from the United States." DoD has not yet identified which troops will deploy for the second rotation, Perry said, but it's possible they will be from stateside units.