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Stabilisation Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Insignia NATO Army SFOR.svg
SFOR insignia
Active 20 December 1996–2 December 2004
Country 39 countries
Type Command
Part of NATO

The Stabilisation Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (SFOR) was a NATO-led multinational peacekeeping force deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina after the Bosnian war. Although SFOR was led by NATO, several non-NATO countries contributed troops. It was replaced by EUFOR Althea in December 2004.

Mission[edit | edit source]

The stated mission of SFOR was to "deter hostilities and stabilise the peace, contribute to a secure environment by providing a continued military presence in the Area Of Responsibility (AOR), target and coordinate SFOR support to key areas including primary civil implementation organisations, and progress towards a lasting consolidation of peace, without further need for NATO-led forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina".[1]

Structure and history[edit | edit source]

SFOR was established in Security Council Resolution 1088 on December 12, 1996. It succeeded the much larger Implementation Force IFOR which was deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina on 20 December 1995 with a one-year mandate. The commanders of the SFOR, who each served one-year terms, were General William W. Crouch, General Eric Shinseki, General Montgomery Meigs, Lt. General Ronald Adams, Lt. General Michael Dodson, Lt. General John B. Sylvester, Lt. General William E. Ward, Major General Virgil Packett and Brigadier General Steven P. Schook

Troop levels were reduced to approximately 12,000 by the close of 2002, and to approximately 7,000 by the close of 2004. During NATO's 2004 Istanbul Summit the end of the SFOR mission was announced.

It was replaced by the European Union's EUFOR Althea, on 2 December 2004 at NATO HQ, Camp Butmir, Sarajevo, B-H.

SFOR was divided into three zones of operation:

  • Mostar MNB(S) - Italian, Franco-German, Spanish
  • Banja Luka MND(W) - American, British, Canadian, Czech, Dutch. The British code name for their activities in IFOR was Operation Resolute and SFOR was Operation Lodestar (to Jun 1998) and Operation Palatine (from Jun 1998). The Canadian mission was named Operation Palladium (1996 to 2004).
  • Tuzla MND(N) - American, Turkish, Polish, Russian, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish.

(Some units had troops stationed outside the assigned zone)

The three AOs were known collectively as Multi-National Divisions until the end of 2002 where they were reduced in scope to Multi-National Brigades.

SFOR operated under peace enforcement, not peacekeeping, rules of engagement. For example, it was cleared, in 1997, to neutralize Serb radio-television facilities.[2] During its mandate, SFOR arrested 29 individuals who were charged with war crimes. Those arrested were transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Netherlands.

US service members serving in SFOR were awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the NATO Medal.

SFOR operated as part of Operation Joint Guard and Operation Joint Forge. As time progressed, the numbers of troops allotted to SFOR declined. On December 2, 2004, SFOR disbanded and its functions were assumed by military units from the European Union.

Member forces[edit | edit source]

SFOR operated under the code names Operation Joint Guard (December 21, 1996 - June 19, 1998) and Operation Joint Forge (June 20, 1998 - December 2, 2004). NATO nations providing troops included:

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