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Armed Forces of BiH - AFBiH

The signature of the Dayton Agreement found the country to have two different armies, divided according to national and ethnic lines. In practise the armies of BiH were three, due to the fact that the army of the Croat-Muslim Federation (FBiH) was made up of a Muslim Army (AFBiH) and a Croat one (HVO). These alongside the Army of the Republika Srpska (AVO) made up the peculiar and fragmented military structure of the country.

Pursuant to the Bosnia and Herzegovina Law on Defence, the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina consisted of "all military forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina, whether organised by state or entity institutions. The Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina include the Army of Republika Srpska and the Army of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Army of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was legally established in 1996 from the units of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina Army and Croat Council of Defence (HVO)." These military forces encompass ".all formations and units, both combat and support, of the land, naval, air and air defence forces organised by state or entity institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina."

The BiH Law on Defense, adopted in 2003, put the armies of the entities - Army of the Federation of BiH (VF) and Army of Republika Srpska (Vojska Republike Srpske - VRS) - under the control of the state. Thus, these two armies make up the Armed Forces of BiH, with a single chain of command, headed by the BiH Presidency as the supreme civilian commander of the OS BiH. There is a state level Ministry of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina, BiH Joint Staff, and BiH Operational Command.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina Law on Defence of 2003 defined operational command and control as ".the authority to assign military missions or tasks to subordinate commanders, to deploy units, to reassign forces, and to retain or delegate operational or tactical control." The Operational Chain of Command ".begins with the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, goes to the Minister of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to the Chief of Staff of the Joint Staff of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to the Commander of the Operational Command, and then to commanders of operational units."

The Bosnia and Herzegovina Law on Defence of 2003 defines administrative command and control as ".the direction or exercise of authority for administrative matters such as organising, manning, equipping, and training the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina." The Administrative Chain of Command ".begins with the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and goes to the Minister of Defence. For military forces organised at the entity level, the administrative chain of command then goes to the entity Ministers of Defence and then through the entity army chains of command. For military forces organised at the State level, the administrative chain of command goes to the Chief of Staff of the Joint Staff and then to subordinate administrative commands."

The Joint Staff of the Armed Forces is an expert staff authority subordinated to the Minister of Defense. It is responsible for planning, organizing and implementing the directives and orders of the Minister of Defense, including the following:

  • preparation and monitoring of execution of military commands, as instructed by the Minister of Defense,
  • development of military strategies for implementation of the Security Policy and the Defense Policy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as instructed by the Minister of Defense,
  • planning and implementation of utilization of military forces in accordance with the law,
  • creation of policies to support the directives and orders issued by the Minister of Defense,
  • provision of assistance to military personnel at the Ministry of Defense. The Joint Staff consists of the Chief of the Joint Staff, Deputy Chief of Joint Staff in Charge of Operations, Deputy Chief of Joint Staff in Charge of Resources, and military personnel from the Armed Forces.

Within the command chain, the Operative Command of the Armed Forces implements the policies of the Joint Staff, prepares operative plans on the basis of the orders of the Chief of Joint Staff, and carries out missions assigned to the Operative Command of the Armed Forces of BiH. Within the command chain, the Armed Forces Support Command implements policies, regulations and orders of the Ministry of Defense and the Joint Staff related to personnel, logistics and training matters, prepares plans to support the operations based on the orders of the Chief of Joint Staff, provides support to the Operative Command of the Armed Forces on the basis of orders of the Chief of Joint Staff, provides support in deployment or redeployment of the Armed Forces, maintains the fixed property of the Armed Forces, and implements plans for the management of sites for storage of ammunition and the locations for storage of weapons in accordance with international obligations, and with relevant laws and regulations issued by the Ministry of Defense and the Joint Staff.




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