The Minister of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Sifet Podzic, the Chief of the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces of BiH (AFBiH) Colonel-General Senad Masovic, the Commander of the Operational Command of the AFBiH Major General Radovan Ilic, and the Chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC) of the Embassy of the United States (U.S.) in BiH Major Taib Grozdanic met earlier at the AFBiH Combat Training Center in Manjaca near Banja Luka. They officially presented the bilateral exercise of the AFBiH and the U.S. Armed Forces “Immediate Response 21″ (”Brzi odgovor 21”).
This event was also attended by the Commander of the Command for Training and Doctrine of the AFBiH, Brigadier Slaven Blavicki, as the director of the exercise “Immediate Response 21”.
The exercise, in which about 500 members of the AFBiH and about 700 American soldiers will take part, will be held at the military training grounds of the AFBiH Manjaca and Glamoc, as well as the barracks and the Dubrave airport near Tuzla from May 17th to June 2nd.
The Presidency of BiH approved this exercise in February 2020.
“In an era dominated by different types of security threats, joint action is crucial, as is broader multinational coordination in order to respond effectively to those threats,” told Minister Sifet Podzic.
He emphasized that by participating in this exercise, the AFBiH shows readiness to work jointly with the AF of the U.S. and partner countries, “but they also provide additional motivation for our AF to learn from the best and continue with the process of further professionalization and modernization.”
“The commitment of our friends from the U.S. to be a strong supporter of the AFBiH is being proven this time as well, and I am especially glad about that,” noted Podzic.
Exercise “Immediate Response 21” is part of a large multinational exercise “Defender Europe 21″ (”Branilac Evrope 21”) conducted by the U.S. Armed AF Europe and Africa Command, linking four different military exercises on the area of Europe.
There will be about 28.000 participants in four connected exercises, which will be held at 31 military training grounds in 12 countries, with the participation of AF from a total of 27 countries.
The Chief of the AFBiH Joint Staff, Colonel-General Senad Masovic, pointed out that this year it is the main event in the field of training of the AFBiH, which would once again show the capabilities of the Battalion Battle Group of Light Infantry (INF-L-BNG) of the AFBiH, which is envisaged to be interoperable with the forces of NATO partner countries in the future.
Major General Radovan Ilic concluded that the participation of the AFBiH in this exercise will certainly strengthen the level of operational capabilities and professionalism of the AFBiH.
The head of the ODC of the U.S. Embassy in BiH, Major Taib Grozdanic, reminded that this is the largest exercise of the AFBiH in recent history, stressing that “when you have good partners beside you, everything is easier.”
Special attention to the exercise will be paid to compliance with epidemiological measures which are supposed to protect against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The soldiers from the United States (U.S.) who arrived at the Sarajevo International Airport yesterday to take part in the exercise were greeted by the ambassador of that country to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Eric Nelson.
Nelson told that this is not an ordinary exercise but an important training for the military forces of the U.S. and BiH.
“You are following the footsteps of tens of thousands of American soldiers who served to establish peace after 1996 after the signing of the Dayton Agreement,” he said, recalling the various stages in the military cooperation between these two countries.
As Nelson said, the exercise is the largest exercise that the U.S. military has ever had in our country
“The U.S. continues to support peace and stability in BiH. This is an exceptional opportunity for a military exercise, where the U.S. military will work jointly with the Armed Forces of BiH on readiness,” as he stated.