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U.S. Involvement Underwrites Bosnian Peace Bid
Prepared statement of Secretary of Defense William J. Perry and Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, USA, chairman of the Joint Chi, Senate Armed Services Committee, Tuesday, October 17, 1995

The security of the United States is inextricably intertwined with the security of Europe. We know this from the harsh lessons of experience. We have learned that when the United States turns its back on European instability, in the long run we are forced to return at much greater price.

Therefore, after World War II we made the conscious decision to stay directly involved in European security. We have re-examined the importance of that commitment in the post-Cold War era, and two administrations -- Republican and Democrat -- have decided that our interests require us to stay involved.

The security and stability of Europe is a vital national interest for the United States, and the primary vehicle for achieving that security and stability is NATO, the most successful alliance in history. That security and stability is threatened by the prospect that the conflict in Bosnia could become a much wider war in the Balkans, potentially involving our NATO allies.

A peace settlement in Bosnia is now within reach that will allow us to avoid the dangerous spread of this conflict. But that settlement will not take place without a NATO implementation force. And NATO cannot undertake this role without U.S. participation, because the engine of NATO is U.S. leadership.

The North Atlantic Council decision of Sept. 29, 1995, tasked SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) to develop, as a matter of urgency, a concept of operations for the conduct of a NATO-led operation to implement the military aspects of a peace agreement among the parties in the former Yugoslavia.

The NAC approved SACEUR's [supreme allied commander, Europe; currently, U.S. Army Gen. George A. Joulwan] concept of operations for the NATO-led peace implementation force on Oct. 11, 1995. This concept of operations is based on the expectation that the parties will commit to and observe existing borders and withdraw all forces into their respective territories on the basis of an agreed map.

On this basis, when directed by the North Atlantic Council, SACEUR is to assume overall authority for the operation and operational command or control, designating CinCSOUTH [commander in chief, Allied Forces Southern Europe, NATO; currently, U.S. Navy Adm. Leighton Smith Jr.] as the commander in theater of an implementation force consisting of NATO and non-NATO forces. We expect the NAC to direct the beginning of implementation promptly after the signing of the peace agreement, in order to maximize the chances it will be effectively implemented and to prevent a deterioration into renewed fighting. A decision to begin implementation will be based on a clear indication that the parties intend to honor their commitments under the agreement, although we recognize that irregular forces not under the parties' control may pose problems of compliance. Our demonstrated willingness and ability to react will be critical in deterring or preventing violations.

CinCSOUTH is to complete the military tasks in-theater associated with the peace agreement under rules of engagement to be decided by NATO, and to be prepared to control and secure the withdrawal of UNPROFOR [U.N. Protection Force] forces in Bosnia that are not transferred to the IFOR. The IFOR will be prepared to assist in the emergency withdrawal of U.N. peacekeepers (UNCRO) [U.N. Croatia] in eastern Slavonia [region in Croatia], should that prove necessary under the agreement.

The objective of the implementation force will be to ensure compliance with the military aspects of the peace plan. The force's main task will be to oversee the withdrawal of the [Bosnian] Federation and Bosnian Serb forces to their respective territories within an agreed period as laid out in the settlement.

The force will deploy and operate predominantly in federation territory, but will be prepared to operate throughout Bosnia. The implementation force will do whatever is necessary, including the use of force, to assure its own security and freedom of movement. Once the warring parties have moved to their designated areas, the IFOR will monitor a narrow zone of separation along the internal borders between the Bosnian Federation and the Bosnian Serb Republic.

The IFOR mission will not include reconstruction, resettlement, humanitarian relief, election monitoring and other nonsecurity efforts that will need to be undertaken in Bosnia. However, there will need to be close liaison between the IFOR commander and the entities charged with the civilian elements of peace implementation.

The force will be led by NATO, under NATO command and control with NATO rules of engagement. Although the details of the rules of engagement have not been established, the ROE must ensure that NATO forces have an inherent right to self-defense and the necessary authority to implement the agreement.

There will be no dual-key arrangement with the United Nations or any other political oversight authority. UNPROFOR's authority would end when NATO assumes control of the IFOR in the theater. The U.N. will have no ongoing role or involvement in the IFOR, although we will welcome a grant of authority under Chapter VII of the U.N. charter through a U.N. Security Council resolution, if appropriate.

The Rapid Reaction Force and other elements of the UNPROFOR judged to be capable of making a contribution to the peace implementation will be invited to become elements of the IFOR under NATO command. Other UNPROFOR units in Bosnia will be withdrawn.

As the president has said since early in 1993, if peace is to be achieved in Bosnia, it will require the participation of NATO; and the United States, as the leader of NATO, must take on this role. We would welcome an authorization from Congress for this important mission.

The size of the force has not yet been determined. It will be worked out in the detailed operational plan currently being developed by NATO military authorities. Initial planning estimates call for approximately 60,000 ground troops, including combat and combat support personnel.

It is our judgment that implementation can only be assured with an adequate force on the ground; air power alone would not be sufficient. The U.S. contribution is still under discussion, but it is likely to be about a division. This will mean about 20,000 U.S. troops on the ground in Bosnia. Other U.S. troops would participate in air, naval and logistics support activities in the surrounding area.

The implementation force will complete its mission in a period not to exceed 12 months. We believe this will be more than adequate to accomplish the needed tasks that will allow the peace to become self-sustaining.

As we did in Haiti, we anticipate the IFOR will go in heavy and, if successful, would begin drawing down significantly far in advance of the final exit date.

The primary threat to the stability and security in the former Yugoslavia has been the preponderant power of the Bosnian Serb army, especially in heavy weapons. To ensure the durability of the peace agreement, we must redress this imbalance.

Our preferred approach would be for the parties to agree to arms control measures under which the Bosnian Serbs would reduce the number of heavy weapons. Absent such an agreement, we are prepared to assist in helping to create stability through an effort to equip and train federation armed forces to improve their self-defense capabilities. We will limit those efforts to the minimum necessary to create a correlation of forces, without stimulating an arms race. This effort will be separate from the IFOR and will not involve IFOR troops.

The precise cost to the United States for the IFOR will depend on the size of the American force involved and other details not yet worked out, but initial estimates are in the range of $1 [billion]-$1.5 billion. Apart from normal cost sharing for common NATO infrastructure used in the operation, we will not pay the costs of other troop contributing states. We will seek assistance from countries who do not contribute troops to the force to assist in financing for the massive economic reconstruction effort that will be needed for this war-torn region.

NATO's military authorities are in the process of requesting forces for the IFOR from the member states. We expect contributions from most NATO nations, including very substantial contributions from the UK [United Kingdom] and France. Non-NATO nations will also participate, as long as they can provide troops and equipment that can perform a function for IFOR and meet minimum criteria for military effectiveness, and can fund their own participation.

We have not concluded discussions with other potential non-NATO participants; neither can we say with certainty to what level of participation each country will commit itself. Non-NATO countries will participate under the operational control of the IFOR commander. The military forces of certain PfP [Partnership for Peace] countries have already shown in previous partnership exercises an ability to work closely with alliance forces.

We see many advantages to having the Russian military participate in the implementation force. If we can find an acceptable way to integrate them into the force without sacrificing essential unity of command, it would help share the burden -- and it would also demonstrate that NATO and Russia can work cooperatively on a key European security question.

On Oct. 8, 1995, Secretary Perry met with Russian Minister of Defense [Pavel] Grachev in Geneva to consult on this question. The meeting made some progress, particularly on modalities for further discussion. Russia has sent a three-star general to SHAPE headquarters to discuss possible arrangements for Russian troop participation, and a team led by Deputy Secretary [of State Strobe] Talbott is discussing this issue with Russian authorities as we speak.

In summary, Mr. Chairman, we believe that if a peace agreement is reached, it is essential that the United States and its NATO allies, along with our international partners, be prepared to sustain that negotiated peace. As the alliance responsible for peace and security in Europe, NATO can do no less. As the leader of NATO, the United States must lead and shape this effort -- an action necessary to protect vital national interests.


Published for internal information use by the American Forces Information Service, a field activity of the Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), Washington, D.C. Parenthetical entries are speaker/author notes; bracketed entries are editorial notes. This material is in the public domain and may be reprinted without permission. Defense Issues is available on the Internet via the World Wide Web at