Operation Althea

Apr 9, 2014

Operation ALTHEA Mission background

The military operation ALTHEA in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) was launched on 2 December 2004 and has contributed to the maintenance of the safe and secure environment in BiH. The decision to launch Operation ALTHEA followed the decision by NATO to conclude its SFOR-operation and the adoption by the UN Security Council of resolution 1575 authorising the deployment of an EU Force (EUFOR) in BiH. In the framework of Operation ALTHEA, the EU initially deployed 7000 troops, to ensure continued compliance with the Dayton/Paris Agreement for peace in BiH and to contribute to a safe and secure environment in BiH. Operation ALTHEA is carried out with recourse to NATO assets and capabilities, under the "Berlin Plus" arrangements.

Operation ALTHEA Mandate and objectives

In light of the improving security situation, Operation ALTHEA has been reconfigured four times, most recently in September 2012. Operation ALTHEA continues to act in accordance with its peace enforcement mandate under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, as specified in the latest UN Security Council Resolution 2123 (2013).

The main objectives of Operation ALTHEA are:

  • To support BiH efforts to maintain the safe and secure environment in BiH;
  • To provide support the overall EU comprehensive strategy for BiH;
Operation ALTHEA supports the implementation of a number of residual tasks that have been transferred from the operation to local authorities by monitoring, advising and mentoring them, such as: countermines activities, military and civilian movement control of weapons, ammunition and explosive substances, as well as the management of weapons and ammunition storage sites.

EUFOR: Operation ALTHEA in BiH

As of 3 December 2012, EUFOR Commander is Major General Dieter Heidecker (Austria). His headquarters is based in Camp Butmir, Sarajevo.

EUFOR Commander has 600 personnel under operational control. The Troop Contributing Nations are 17 EU Member States plus Albania, Chile, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Switzerland and Turkey.

EUFOR retains its presence throughout BiH through Liaison and Observation Teams (LOTs).

The EUFOR manoeuvre unit - MultiNational Battalion (MNBN) also based in Camp Butmir Sarajevo – is made up of troops from Austria/Hungary and Turkey. EUFOR retains its capacity to react to security challenges throughout the country, and has a credible reserve force to draw upon, comprising at least four home-based companies plus the Operational Reserve Force Battalion (ORF).

Operation ALTHEA Chain of command

As the EU-led military Operation ALTHEA functions under the "Berlin Plus" arrangements, the Operation Commander is General Sir James Everard(UK) who is also Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR) and assisted by the European Union Staff Group (EUSG).

Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) as a whole provides the Operation Headquarters (OHQ), and the EUSG is the core, liaising with all SHAPE's Directorate's Branches. A close relationship with European External Action Service (EEAS) and European Union Military Staff (EUMS) is maintained by the EUSG, with recourse to all SHAPE's assets as OHQ when needed, in accordance with EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

European Union Command Element (EUCE), which is located at NATO Joint Force Command (JFC) at Naples, provides the necessary coordination for ensuring a Balkans regional approach and regarding the use of reserve, which are not covered under the "Berlin Plus" arrangements.

The EU's Political and Security Committee (PSC) exercises the political control and strategic direction of the operation, under the responsibility of the Council of the EU.

*Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia by its constitutional name.

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