International Military Operations of the SAF (Slovenian Armed Forces — Slowenische Streitkräfte)
The participation of the Slovenian Armed Forces in international operations has gradually increased in accordance with the implementation of defense reforms, security situation and national interests. Thus, in 2004, one rotation included more than 400 SAF Service members, and in 2005, it included as many as 247 service members. Since 1997, when SAF service members were first deployed to peace support Operations (one medical unit and four liaison officers to the humanitarian operation ALBA as part of international forces in Albania), more than 1200 service members have participated in international Operations.
SAF Service members participate in NATO and EU-led international operations and UN missions. During these missions, SAF service members acquire lessons learned and gain credibility, and Slovenia gains a solid reputation as a state active in the area of providing peace and stability. This also improved the interoperability and comparability with Allied military organizations and, at the same time, it built an officer structure capable of taking over more responsible duties in international operations.
From May to July 1997, 21 SAF service members participated in the OSCE-led peace support operation as part of ALBA units (Albania Force), in the ROLE‑1 medical unit. ALBA was the first peace Operation in which the Slovenian Armed Forces participated. Its role was medical provision for service members of international forces. The second peace support operation in Albania, in which the SAF were involved from May to July 1999, was the NATO-led operation Allied Harbor. Twenty-six service members of the SAF participated in this operation as part of AFOR (Albania Force). They were assigned to the ROLE‑1 medical unit, which was tasked with the medical supply for service members of international forces and refugees from Kosovo and officers for the co-operation with civil organizations.
In September 1997, the first group of SAF service members was deployed to the UNFICYP (United Nations Peace keeping Force in Cyprus) operation under the auspices of the UN. The first two contingents included a unit the size of a detachment (10 service members). In September 1998, the Slovenian contingent increased to a platoon (27 service members). It was tasked, in the framework of the trilateral UNAHSB Battalion (United Nations Austrian — Hungarian — Slovenian Battalion) patrol, observation and control in the area of separation between the opposing sides. This mission, in which eight contingents were exchanged, ended in July 2001.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Secure and stable conditions are paramount for effective implementation of political and economic reforms in all Balkan states. After the conflict on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the international community deployed NATO international forces to perform missions in the Joint Forge operation. International forces of IFOR and SFOR have achieved visible results so far, and contributed a large share to the stabilization of the situation and enhancement of security in this region through their presence and operation. NATO representatives decided at the Istanbul Summit that the Joint Forge operation would cease at the end of 2004.
Thus, peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, since 2nd December 2004, has been maintained by service members of the European Union. The EU took over the peace operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina from NATO and, hence, began the largest operation of this type in its history, operation ALTHEA. The current security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina requires a new approach to solving of problems or to changing of the strategy concept. Therefore, the international community considers that Bosnia and Herzegovina requires other experts who will assist local organizations in establishing military, police and other governmental structures, in addition to EUFOR police forces. The EU will, therefore, assign experts for different areas of administration, political issues and of various humanitarian organizations to the area of operation.
The SAF Military Police participated in the NATO Joint Forge operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina from February 1999 to March 2005. Initially, one MP platoon (23 service members), three service members, conducting staff duties at the Multinational Specialized Unit (MSU) Headquarters and a ROLE‑1 medical platoon participated in this operation. In September 2001, Slovenia deployed an additional MP platoon, so that 49 SAF MP service members participated in this operation. The unit operated in the framework of SFOR peace forces as part of MSU, which was in December 2004, through the EU takeover of the mission, reorganized it into an integrated police unit (IPU). The most important assignments of the Military Police in this operation are: collecting data, controlling and securing some areas; searching and collecting illegal weapons, ammunition and explosives; searching war criminals and handing them over to courts; assisting and co-operating with the local police and local authorities in preventing deviations; maintaining public order and peace; preventing mass riots; co-operating with and assisting other units on the entire territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In January 2003, a motorized company of 184 service members was assigned to the mission. The company was moved from Doboj to Tuzla and operated as part of a multinational combat group under Finnish command.
NATO led the peace operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina until the end of the war in 1995. However, it never completely left Bosnia and Herzegovina, since around 150 of NATO service members remained there to participate in the search of the principal defendants of the International Criminal Tribunal indicted for war crimes committed in former Yugoslavia.
From July 2001 to January 2003 a SAF officer was assigned to the UN Office of the High Representative for Refugees.
The SAF took over its area of responsibility in the mission for the first time on 25th February 2007, covering the central area of western Kosovo. About 500 service members of the 10th Motorized Battalion participated in this operation. They operated at the level of battalion that also included a company of the Hungarian armed forces. Furthermore, the Slovenian contingent was comprised of 100 members of the Military Police, veterinarian and medical groups, logistic units, helicopter units, liaison groups, an engineer detachment, a CIMIC group, a National Support Element as well as officers and NCOs that are assigned to the multinational KFOR headquarters and to the Multinational Task Force (West) — MNTF (W). The MNTF (W) was commanded by an Italian brigadier, whose deputy commander was a Slovenian colonel.
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) carries out this operation with an international UN mandate in compliance with UN Security Council resolutions no. 1386, 1413 and 1444. Forces under the auspices of NATO were established to assist Afghan authorities in maintaining security within their territory of responsibility, to enable UN authorities and personnel to operate in a safe environment and to form security forces in Afghanistan.
The main mission of ISAF is to assist the Afghan authorities in providing a secure environment in Kabul and its surroundings. Therefore, it patrols, together with the local police, in 16 various police districts in Kabul and its surroundings.
From 2004 to 2005, service members of special forces and reconnaissance units of the motorized battalion conducted reconnaissance tasks for the requirements of the brigade and provided personnel to carry out combat search and rescue assignments tor ISAF service members. Since August 2005, a platoon of the motorized battalion in Herat conducts assignments related to securing civilian and military units, which assist local authorities of the Afghan province bearing the same name as its capital, Herat. Since mid-2004, a veterinary unit and a SAF fire fighting unit at the airport have been deployed to Kabul.
Middle East — Syria
The Slovenian Armed Forces started to participate in the mission UNTSO (United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation) with two service members in 1998, and then with two service members from September 2002 to September 2003. They were mainly tasked with peace maintenance and control and other adopted agreements between both opposing sides in the areas of Israel, Syria and Lebanon.
On 8th October 2005, Pakistan was struck by a severe earthquake which inflicted heavy casualties on the population and enormous damage to materiel. The international community quickly responded to this disaster and supplied humanitarian relief to the earthquake-affected areas. On this occasion, the NATO Allied Command Operations addressed an appeal for participation in the international humanitarian operation to all member states. Based on the decision of the RS Government, the SAF joined the Alliance operation and sent two service members to participate in the humanitarian mission.
SAF service members at the Al Rustamia base co-operated with other NATO members on training Iraqi security forces. The Training Centre (NMT‑I) is located at a former air force base in southwest Baghdad. The NATO mission is included in the training, equipping and providing technical support to Iraqi security forces and defense institutions. NATO officers and NCOs are mentors to middle and high-ranking officers and NCOs of Iraqi security forces. The entire NATO NMT‑I mission was established and confirmed by the North-Atlantic Council.
Text/Bild Quelle — text/image source:
Slowenisches Verteidigungsministerium / Slovenian Ministry of Defence (MOD):
Kladnik, Tomaz: Slovenian Armed Forces in the service of Slovenia; 2nd supplemented edition. Ljubljana, 2007, ISBN 978–961-6177–14‑6