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U.S. Will Cut Bosnia Force in New NATO Rollback

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 1999 – The United States will cut its Bosnia force by 700 troops in April during a 10 percent strength reduction announced by NATO, Pentagon officials said Jan. 26.

All NATO countries agreed to the cuts, which will shrink the stabilization force from 32,000 members down to about 29,000, Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon said. The U.S. cutback to about 6,200 troops will occur during a scheduled unit rotation, defense officials said.

"When that happens, we will close Camp Bedrock, which is about 60 kilometers from Tuzla," Bacon said. "This is another sign that our mission is successful. We've found we are able to carry on the same mission with a slightly smaller force."

The current troop level of 6,900 is 20 percent less than the 8,500 deployed in June 1998 and 66 percent less than the peak U.S. presence of 20,000 troops in 1996.

U.S. and NATO defense officials review mission requirements every six months. They will review the size of the force again in the spring. Service members from 36 countries currently participate in the NATO-led stabilization force in Bosnia.

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