Neither War nor Not War: Army Command in Europe during the Time of Peace Operations: Tasks Confronting USAREUR Commanders, 1994-2000

By Van Nederveen, Gilles | Air & Space Power Journal, Summer 2005 | Go to article overview

Neither War nor Not War: Army Command in Europe during the Time of Peace Operations: Tasks Confronting USAREUR Commanders, 1994-2000


Van Nederveen, Gilles, Air & Space Power Journal


Neither War nor Not War: Army Command in Europe during the Time of Peace Operations: Tasks Confronting USAREUR Commanders, 1994-2000 by Richard M. Swain. Strategic Studies Institute (http://www.carlisle.army.mil/ssi/ index.cfm), US Army War College, 122 Forbes Avenue, Carlisle, Pennsylvania 17013-5244, May 2003, 283 pages.

This first-rate study examines how the US Army in Europe (USAREUR) had to adapt to the post-Cold War peacekeeping and peace-enforcement operations in the Balkans. The manner in which commanding generals (of USAREUR; the commander of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers, Europe; and individual division commanders) adapted and shaped their forces, headquarters, and staffs says volumes about their personal leadership skills and personalities.

In the late 1990s, the US military was drawing down from the 350,000 troops it had stationed in Europe during the Cold War and first Gulf War. The Balkans, actually the former Yugoslavia, had exploded into a brutal civil war. Until 1994, involvement by the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) had remained minimal, but as the brutality increased, the Clinton administration began contemplating a more interventionist foreign policy and, by default, military intervention. Apprised of the situation, US Army commanders did not wait until the signing of the complex Dayton peace accords but started training and planning for an eventual operation in Bosnia. In that country, three ethnic groups vied for control of the province: Serbs allied with Serbia itself, Croats allied with Croatia, and Muslims seeking independence from the other two groups. Both Serbia and Croatia forcibly moved outside ethnic groups to gain territory, with Bosnian Serbs killing entire Muslim populations of villages and cities in the process. The peace accords divided the province into three separate ethnic areas with a federation presidency. The US Army, together with its NATO and overseas allies, set up military sectors and zones of separation to implement the treaty.

Before this could happen, however, hundreds of American soldiers, along with their equipment and logistical support, had to be shipped from Germany to staging bases in Hungary to facilitate a December entry into Bosnia. Army commanders had to train their troops in mine clearing, route security, and crowd control. The author effectively discusses organizational changes in terms of the events in Bosnia, allowing readers to understand the influence of Washington, NATO, and the United Nations (UN) on the day-to-day operations of the US Army. …

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